Toscana in Cooperstown Italian Grille & Fusion!
I had to share the review I just posted in Yelp with my true foodie friends on CH because you all deserve to know of this incredible gem in good food desolate Cooperstown. This dining experience will live in my mind for a long time. Can't wait to get up there again someday to experience it again.
We dined on a very quiet Monday night during the off-season at Cooperstown (April 2014). I live in an area with very good italian food on every other street corner, so don't normally seek out Italian restaurants specifically while vacationing. But I am so glad we landed here. Cooperstown does not have a lot of gourmet options, and many are closed on Mondays. The food at Toscana was absolutely incredible. I wanted to personally tell the chef "Thank You" for offering me the option of trying some food that I have never ever tried before. We dined early with two restaurant-raised kids ages 5 and 11.
We started with your standard calamari that my husband and son said were great. An order of lemongrass potstickers (Yes, this restaurant says it is a Fusion Grille!); these were amazing. And I got to try the corsican style sardines that were so yummy; I had never had cold marinated sardines before, and they were so tasty, melted in my mouth and left it singing with flavors I had never before experienced and were beautifully presented (see my photo). Both the sardines and potstickers were off their Special Menu. Note that they also offered Frogs Legs!
For entrees, my youngest son had the kids spaghetti and meatball, and I have to tell you that it honestly was one of the best meatballs, I had ever tried--I sensed that it had a mix of ground meats, it was so tender, full of flavor and giant. (Later, I heard from another family that they had sold out of the meatballs). My other son, who is fussy, had plain cheese ravioli that he said were very good. My husband had the osso bucco which he adored in its usual fall-off-the-bone goodness and rich veal and tomato stock broth. (I also heard that they later ran out of this item as well.) For myself, I decided to try another item off their Special Menu labeled simply TILE FISH. I had never had it before, so after our server gave me a good description, I googled to see a picture. Google described it as a thick white fish similar in taste to lobster (aka "poor mans lobster). Well, the fish was wrapped in crab meat and simply sauteed to perfect doneness and served over my choice of pasta, or I could have selected mashed and veg. I have to tell you that the fish was one of the most incredible fish dishes I have ever tasted, and I could tell that this chef clearly knows how to cook pasta as the sauce formed was almost silken and just glazed the perfectly cooked linguini like it had been finished with some pasta water and was perfect. The crab and fish coated the pasta beautifully. We also had a side of sauteed spinach that was also perfect.
For dessert, we couldn't resist the chocolate mousse and creme brulee served in a mug. My husband and son devoured the silken balls of chocolate mousse that appeared to have been dusted with finely shaved cocoa nibs or something elset that resembled ground pepper. And the creme brulee was some of the smoothest I have ever tasted; I was super happy with my choice, but I feel that the more traditional recepticle of a short ramekin would have offered a better ratio of the crispy sugared top to the creme below, but I was not complaining. Our server was a gem as well; very professional and responsive to all my questions.
What a terrific gourmet place in the middle of this historic little street full of many American family-friendly restaurants. You must go and experience this chef's masterpieces. I'd love to know who he/she is. Incredible!!!