The Tuscan New Canaan - has anyone been?
Had dinner there on Saturday. Food was terrific. Started with fresh mozzarella with olives and cherrys. very tasty. my wife had a lobster salad which she loved. For entree, I had the pork belly with pumpkin puree which was excellent and the mrs had the short ribs, very good and tender.
The menu changes daily which is nice. The restaurant was packed with a vibrant bar scene and everyone having a good time. Service was good, not great. They have a nice list of wines which are priced decently. The overall price of dinner was not too bad.
We have also used the butcher shop out front several times and found the meat to be excellent and the prepared foods to be quite good (the lemon chicken and lasagna are pretty good).
I went twice.. My thoughts from both times:
... The first time, the food was terrific, but the service was very mediocre. It is clear that the owners have a real passion for food and the ingredients that they are using are all top notch. I had the bolognese, followed by the veal. The veal was excellent quality, but a little thicker than I normally like it. My dining companion thought that his steak was among the best he has had for months. However, getting our food took entirely too long, the service was clueless about the menu and when they made errors on our side dishes, they refused to correct them, telling us "the kitchen is no longer talking to the servers, so you guys will have to make do with the sides we brought you. Sorry" HUH?
My wife really wanted to try it as well, and the food was good enough, so chalking up the service to opening week jitters I went back. The funny thing about the second trip was that the service was definitely better (although by no means polished yet), but the food was not as good. This time I tried the lamb ragu and it was underseasoned although very tender and well prepared otherwise. My wife ordered a fish dish (I think it was branzino or red snapper, dont recall) and the flavor was excellent, 9 out of 10 even. However, the dish arrived cold. We started by sharing the lobster salad, which was very good.
The room itself is nice, and with the bar has a great vibe to it especially in such a sleepy town. Judging by the quality of the ingredients, I fully expect that the restaurant will turn into one of the better restaurants in this area - it is just a matter of working out the kinks and getting the front and back of the house to work together. I will go back in about 6 weeks and try it again... by then it is either working or I will no longer dine there.
We ate at The Tuscan this past weekend. I will not return. Not everything that came to the table was awful, but enough of it was that it does not merit a return visit.
We ordered four appetizers, and the best one was the lobster salad. The figs with gorgonzola and prosciutto were underripe and there was only a miniscule amount of prosciutto on them, about the size of my fingernail. The beet and goat cheese salad, which the server said was "the best appetizer on the menu", fell far short and was mostly arugula with very little goat cheese or beet. The entrees were inexcusable. I ordered the salmon with polenta and berry marmalade. I ordered the salmon rare, and it came not only overcooked considering my "rare" order, but overcooked period. A friend at the table ordered the same thing, with the same result. We actually did not finish our entrees, the fish was so dry. Also, the berry marmalade was replaced by a fennel/orange salsa, which was listed as the topping for the halibut on the menu. No explanation. It would have been fine if it tasted good, but it did not. The gentlemen ordered the roasted pork, which was the only decent entree of the four, and the veal chop. The veal chop was tough! When my friend said it was tough I looked over and saw a big vein running through it. At $37 or whatever it was, it was unacceptable. The service was friendly but not professional; one person dropped a glass and it broke, which happens, I know, and normally it's fine, except that when you have a night when so many things are not going right you have to wonder if they are just doing things wrong. We ordered two desserts, they were fine enough, but at that point the meal was beyond repair.
My wife and I tried their new pizza bar last weekend, and we were suitably impressed. It's neither well advertised (a menu in the window might help), nor crowded at lunchtime, but the pies were clearly prepared to order with fresh dough, high quality mozzarella, and well-thought toppings. The pies are not cheap, at $12-$16 for a generous personal pie, but we thought that the quality justified the price.
We had previously had dinner at the Tuscan once before, found it good, but somewhat pricy. We now look forward to returning for the pizza.