Less than stellar experience at Trattoria Toscana....but I'll probably go back anyway
Went here with my BF for a light meal after an evening at the MFA. I ordered the bruschetta al pomodoro as an appetizer, and the passato di verdure soup. BF ordered the ribollita toscana soup.
The bruschetta was poorly executed: bread had an unpleasantly bitter, charred edge but still did not seem properly toasted. The chopped tomato topping was cold and nearly flavorless, except for the bits of basil. Possibly my bad for ordering fresh tomatoes at this time of year, but then why keep it on the menu? Overall this struck me as a mediocre home cook's rendition of this basic dish.
My soup was not exactly bad, but I can't say it was good either. It was a very thick puree, thicker than I like soup to be, as in more the consistency of a sauce, and the flavor was wholly unremarkable. No complexity, nor any purity or sublime simplicity. Only an indistinct, salty/muddiness. I couldn't even detect which vegetables were in the puree, besides tomato, carrot, onion, and possibly squash.
The ribollita was a bit better, but also very thick, more like a bean and veggie stew, and overly oily. Again the dominant flavors were oil and salt (and I am not a salophobe at all!). The vegetable flavors did not stand out at all, and there was no bright acidity to counter the richness (which would have been welcome--e.g. in the form of a hit of fresh parsley or lemon juice).
Again, the dishes struck me as amateurish, and not even in a charming, rustic way. I am frankly quite shocked given all the reviews saying that everything at TT is great.
However, seeing as we ordered such a limited number of items, I would definitely go back and give it a second chance. Also on the positive side, the service was extremely friendly and efficient, and the atmosphere was quite nice in an unassuming way. I really want to like this place!!!
Has anyone had these soups and have a different opinion? What are the real stars on the menu?
Typically pastas are the way to go here, though I haven't heard much negative about other dishes either. Sorry you didn't have a great experience. I'd give 'em another chance if I were you.
Sorry your experience was less than stellar here, especially after I was waving their flag today. The ribollita is one of my favorites here too. Please post if you give them another shot.
I'm just as surprised as the other CH'ers. I'm happy to see that you're willing to give it another shot. If for some reason you encounter this again, definitely talk to the owner/chef. I'm sure he'll address the issues immediately.
My single experience here was good but not great either. I enjoyed a salad and thought the bruschetta was fine (this visit happened during the summer). But, my main dish which was called either "pork chops" or "pork loin" was very oily and left me feeling slightly gross afterward. My girlfriend enjoyed her pasta, but also remarked about not liking it as much as she had hoped (I don't remember what pasta it was or the specific issue, this was a while back). We're also in the camp that wants to like the place and thought the service friendly and efficient. Just were a little bit let down. We haven't gotten back yet, but probably will someday also.
I'm a big fan of TT. The stars of the menu are the crostini (liver and/or the sausage/spinach). I always liked the char on the bread, just my opinion. Pastas are great. Carratierra has unbelievable depth of flavor (and is made painstakingly from my understanding) and the meat/cream sauces are incredible. (Admittedly, layering on these dishes in a big way can get heavy.)
I'm less familiar with the secondi selections.
The chef is Florentine trained and my experience at TT has always been a close proximation of meals in Tuscany.
Let us know how your next trip goes!!