Monday I attended a wine dinner to benefit flood victims at the Tuscan Inn (north of Pittsburgh)
The dinner included a 5 course meal, 6 different wines and a dessert grappa for $100.
All of the wines were good but no real stand-out so I won't go into detail about that.
Dinner began with a timbale of pureed acorn squash surrounded by sauteed shitake and cipolline onions with a basil infused olive oil drizzle. The flavors of the drizzle, vegetables and puree blended perfectly.
Next was duck medallions served over a bed of wild rice with radichio. The duck was moist and flavorful but the rice was bland and could have used some sort of sauce.
The third course was a wild mushroom risotto, pure simple creamy and delicious.
The fourth course was a tilapia in a 'barbecue' sauce. The fish was light and flaky and the sauce was less of a barbecue than a light glaze with bits of shallots, tomato and a hint of lemon. It was unlike any sauce I've tasted and I couldn't quite figure out what all of the spices where but it was terrific. I plan to beg the owner for the recipe.
The menu had lamb for the fifth course but I called ahead because I don't eat lamb(I actually requested that the course simply not be served to me but the owner insisted on a substitution) So I got grilled swordfish in it's place. The swordfish was cooked perfectly, just enough to be done but with no overcooking like so many restaurants do with swordfish. Fresh with no fishy flavor and lightly seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper, served over a bed of grilled baby potatoes and artichokes.
Finally for dessert they were bringing out huge portions of tiramisu which I declined and a fellow at the table next to me told me I was crazy because it was so delicious. Sadly, between the wine and the food I had hit the wall.
I have eaten there before and like to stop for drinks and sit in the cozy, cabin-like atmosphere but I was really impressed with this meal. Simple fresh ingredients done to perfection. The owners are lovely people and the entire evening was for a good cause.