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Trattoria Toscana ??

what is the current culinary status of Trattoria Toscana on Jersey st in the Fenway area??? reviews seem good, but has any one been recently enough to comment on the food / service??

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Trattoria Toscana
130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

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  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/747044

    1. Went two weeks ago. Food as excellent as ever. Had the penne with spicy tomato sauce (sans pancetta), and DC had the wonderful spaghetti with cod. Service was very friendly. I hope this place is around for a long time.

      1. Still great on both counts, in my recent experience.

        It helps to understand that: a) it is a true trattoria, a modest neighborhood place, and b) it does very traditional Tuscan food, a cuisine that emphasizes simplicity and fairly modest, rustic ingredients. It's not Prezza, or Erbaluce, or Sorrelina, or Rialto, or Scampo.

        That said, it's one of my favorites in Boston.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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        Prezza
        24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

        Scampo
        215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

        Erbaluce
        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

        13 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Exactly. Don't go in expecting to be dazzled by culinary invention: this is expertly-prepared comfort food. It's one of my favorites as well.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            i am meaning to try it, but i wonder how long is the wait on a sunday or a weekday? Is there a bar where seating is easy to come by (unlike ay Craigie) I really like to reserve a table.

            If people are up for a walk, there is free parking on memorial drive.

            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

              They don't have a bar and it's not open on Sunday. But, is is worth planning an early dinner and meeting the nice people who arrive before opening and line up for a table. Not only is it a wonderful dining experience, but we always seem to be surrounded by a nice group of customers.

              Maybe we are all so happy just to be there. I'm so overdue for a trip there. We have to fit this into our schedule soon.

              Penny
              http://www.bostonzest.com/

              1. re: BostonZest

                how about 6 pm on a friday? is that possible?

                Life would be much easier with a reservation system. it would be worth paying for a reservation.

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  Another way to deal with the wait is to go by, put your name in, ask how long the wait will be (they're pretty good at estimating), and walk down the block to pass some time at The Citizen or other nearby place.

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    ok, that is the way that i need to pay for the wait.

                    One can pay with time or pay with money; TT prefers time; I prefer to pay with money.

                    Why is this your favorite restaurant in boston? That statement from you is enough to pique my interest and cool my heels.

                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                      I guess I have to qualify that "favorite": it's traditional Tuscan cuisine, which by definition isn't high on technique. I compare it to Cantonese: it's more about not getting in the way of great ingredients. For me, it's a combination of doing that really well in a package with good prices and excellent service. It truly is a neighborhood trattoria, a one-chef, open-kitchen, rather casual kind of place.

                      No disrespect to the more skills-intensive, inventive cooking of some of our better higher-end places, but Trattoria Toscana brings a lot of charm and consistency to its neighborhood-joint stratum. I can bring or refer anyone there and know they're going to find something to love. Its genius is in its workmanlike modesty, which is truly a reflection of its chef/owner.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                      Trattoria Toscana
                      130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

                2. re: BostonZest

                  Penny, when you say they don't have a bar...is it a BYO? If we're staying at the Marriott Long Wharf, is there a "T" stop nearby to Fenway?
                  Thanks!

                  1. re: shopgirl

                    Trattoria Toscana has a beer/wine/cordial license, just no bar. (There's no legal BYO in Boston.) From the Marriott, I might take the Blue Line to the Green Line, and walk from Kenmore Square or Fenway Station.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                    Trattoria Toscana
                    130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

                    1. re: shopgirl

                      just fyi, i think that's a pretty long walk-from the T to TTosc.Googlemap it and see what you think.You might want to consider a cab from Kenmore T.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        A half mile? I really don't find that to be a long walk.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          In my experience, a 12 minute walk from Kenmore is more time-efficient that the alternative, which is taking the #55 Queensberry bus from Park or Copley Squares, the terminus of which is right around the corner from the restaurant. My advice changes if the Sox are playing: walking from Fenway station is then the fastest route, as Yawkey Way is blocked.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            I'm pretty sure that the closest T stop would be the Museum of Fine Arts stop on the E line, provided you're willing to cross the Fens (and know which path to take to end up close to Jersey St.). Also, the likely extra wait for an E train may offset the benefit of the shorter walk.

                3. Had dinner there right before Xmas. My second time there. It worked out perfect for a dinner with with my SO, college age son and dad. They had a tilapia special that was really good. Great service and better Italian food then I have had in the North End.

                  1. Last time I was there I thought it was good. However, I don't live in the neighborhood and I wish parking was easier than tracking a wild boar. It isn't. I don't know how they get any business on game days!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: catspercapita

                      Parking is indeed a bear around there. I take the 55 bus or walk from Kenmore Square (after getting a pop at ESK).

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      1. re: catspercapita

                        The garage at 1330 Boylston Street is another option. It's the newish apartment building that houses Citizen Pub, Upper Crust, and Basho. The parking garage entrance is on Jersey Street, and I think it's $10 in the evenings, cheaper if you validate at places like Citizen.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          I haven't been to TT for a while (at least a year, maybe two), although it is one of my favorite places in the city. My husband and I usually park at the garage on Queensberry, a tip we got from you, MC.

                          It is a little confusing the first time, since it is filled with taxis and doesn't even appear to be a public lot. You have to pay the attendant in the Deaconess Garage at 60 Kilmarnock and go back and put the receipt on your dashboard. If you tell them your are going to the restaurant, it is really reasonable. Under $10, I believe. We've never had trouble getting a space.

                          Hopefully this isn't outdated info.

                      2. Went tonight for the first time, and I cannot believe that I waited this long. This was hands-down the best Italian food I've had in Boston, period. My wife and I split the mixed crostini (mushroom, sopressata, spinach and sausage, green olive and walnut, and chicken liver), the penne with smoked pancetta, red pepper, and tomato sauce, and the lamb shank, and had tiramisu for dessert.

                        The olive and the chicken liver crostini were better than any we had in Florence, the pasta was cooked to perfection, and we almost cried when we finished the lamb. The shank was phenomenally tender but with a delicious crust, and the mixed vegetables on the plate were all tremendous. Oh, and we got a side of white beans in olive oil and had to make sure to save bread to sop up that herby-oily goodness after we ate the beans.

                        The service was top-notch, with both waiters tag-teaming and so very friendly. It had a wonderful atmosphere - we were there early, so it was nice and quiet too.

                        We will absolutely be returning, often.

                        For parking, you're best off snagging a spot in the lot at the corner of Jersey and Boylston, or the garage right across Jersey St. from the lot. Don't go on a Red Sox home game night.

                        1. Do they take reservations?

                          1. So glad you liked it, sdwr! It might be my single favorite restaurant in town for a number of reasons. Sorry to say, viperlush, that they do not take reservations. It's one of the few places I forgive for that.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              I've only been once, loved it, and went early so got right in. How do they deal with the overflow? Will they take your cell phone or is it sidewalk waiting only? brrr. I ask because we like having a pop at Citizen which a a short 2 blocks away.

                              1. re: Berheenia

                                This place is DEFIANTLY a hidden gem! After eating there for the first time back in Nov. I almost don't want it to get too much attention for fear it will turn into a "typical" north end restaurant that turns out being way too over rated and lacks in quality..
                                .Trattoria Toscana clearly knows what its doing at the moment...and it should continue on doing whatever that is...the food is completely authentic to a Florence culinary experiencing...I did a study abroad there in '05 for 6 months so i did my fair share of eating!! When I went to Trattoria Toscana I felt the love stirred into my risotto which was Oh so creamy and al dente! Defiantly will be traveling back down from the North Shore to eat there ASAP...and i'm only telling my closest friends about this little secret place hidden away in the Fenway...u should all do the same!! ...everyone else can go to the North End..!

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                                Trattoria Toscana
                                130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

                                1. re: northshoregrl

                                  It's hardly unknown and has been around for years with no decline in quality, so I'm pretty sure your fears are unfounded.

                                  1. re: northshoregrl

                                    They need the attention to stay in business. And not just Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30. So it goes with any great little place, the more people that know, the better.

                                    1. re: purple bot

                                      Had a wonderful meal tonight. Very attentive service and excellent food.
                                      Got there at 5PM due to the long drive back to our suite. Within 20 minutes the place was full and the Red Soxs were not even in town. Worth driving to. The antipasta plate had very delicious, thinly sliced meats, three types of cheese, crostini and olive with beans. Gnocchi was light as a feather and in a deicious braised meat sauce. DH had thinly sliced liver in a madiera, and grandaughter has the ravioli in a cream sauce. All of these dishes were outstanding. We had no room left for dessert. Yes, parking is difficult but we got there just as someone in the nieghborhood was leaving. Can't wait to go back.

                              2. FINally made it here last night. Lovely friendly neighborhood spot. I must say, i was so surprised at ths particular menu. Of the five entrees, two were offal- beef liver and tripe. No poultry whatsoever, in entree or pasta form. Beef, pork, pork sausage. I guess I was so surprised because i don't think of liver and tripe being big sellers, but i must be wrong, or at least w/ this restnt's fan base.

                                I admit we were not drawn to this kind of entree menu. Plain grilled meats and sides. We can do that at home, and we do, with marinades, sauces and sides more complex and flavorful (again, this is imo, to our taste.).So we chose pasta, after some starters. The ribollita was hearty and satisfying, but i was surprised that it presented itself as a bean and veg ragout, no soup liquid present. Great starter. Crostini toppings were generous, varied and tasty, particularly the prosciutto rose atop gorgonzola, and the green olive and walnut .

                                My Gnocchi w/ gorgonzola dolce and walnuts was the definition of sublime. The gnocchi were the best (softest/silkiest) I've had in Boston, next to those at Union Bar and Grill in past years.The sauce was rich but perfectly balanced. It needed nothing but a little cracked pepper. My Love had the papardelle w/ beef and porcini, which he thought 'fine, nothing especially great.' As w/ the apps., portions were generous and well priced

                                Had very good wine by the glass; skipped dessert.

                                My take on this place is that this chef runs a really tight ship.Everything gets used. A request for sauteed greens was answered with-' nothing available;it's all used- in the soup.' And the cheese on the app is the same cheese on the pasta dish. A limited larder, the same products used in all the courses. Certainly i have seen this phenomenon in other small and/or farm to table places, but the larder just seemed particularly small in the case of Trattoria Toscana. But hey, times are really tough out there and this chef is smart and economical. With such a big following,he must know his customers by now. And then again, this menu changes all the time. With such a welcoming spot, we look forward to trying the menu's other incarnations.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Glad you enjoyed it!

                                  I think the relative simplicity of the grilled-meat entrees, and doing a lot with a limited larder, are practically hallmarks of Tuscan trattoria cooking. Also, some ribollitas are soupier than others, but it's a bread-thickened soup, so versions you can eat with a fork aren't unusual.

                                  I'd encourage you to try that liver secondo some time; it's got a really fine, glossy pan sauce on it. As for contorni, those roasted potatoes, simple as they are, have a crispness and flavor I've never been able to achieve at home.

                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    I agree, the secondi is not to be overlooked. The Tagliata All' Aceto Balsamico is outstanding, simple yet lovely and not so easy to replicate at home.

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      good for others to know, but i will not be eating beef liver in this lifetime! i'm more interested to hear your take on the no poultry and 2 offal out of 5 entrees there.

                                      hp-what is in that tag dish?

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        The dish I referred to is a beef cut charbroiled at very high heat and served sliced with a very pleasant and simple vinegar drizzle.

                                        As for the offal, its a pretty authentic Tuscan place, so what can you say? Tripe has to be on the menu I suppose. Some of that will disappear as the seasonal menu changes, although the tripe is a constant from what I can tell.

                                        I think you would like the summer menu a little better - there are some wonderful gnocchi with meat and pasta with fish dishes that they do. The meats on the secondi menu lighten up a bit too.

                                        1. re: Highland Park

                                          thanks hp for that helpful thought.

                                        2. re: opinionatedchef

                                          I see chicken on TT's menu occasionally. Maybe he's just bored with it. Lamb, house-made sausages, wild boar, many cuts of pork, whole fish, filleted fish, occasional game birds, shellfish of various sorts, eggplant too.

                                          I wonder if his weeknight menu is shorter than on weekends. I'd say I'm more used to seeing six to eight secondi, not just five.

                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    2. i initially went to Toscana in 2011 and was impressed. But in 2013, there seemed to be a new chef and the food seemed less good. Any news on this spot?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                        There is a new Chef at Trattoria in Fenway. Zamir Kociaj (former Chef) is now up in Salem, MA operating Firenze. If you're looking for the "old" Trattoria, it's here. At Firenze, Zamir has cloned the menu and the decor of Trattoria Toscana, so have no fear that the Trattoria that we all loved still exists, but we just need to drive a bit farther for it. Firenze is fantastic.