Trattoria Toscana, NY 2
January 7, 2008
Having read Varian and Gary’s great review of Trattoria Toscana, we have been hoping to try it. An opportunity presented itself on January 5, 2008,when we decided to go to the late afternoon movie at the International Film Center near the other end of Carmine Street in the West Village.
We had reserved, which entitled us to the front right corner table with a view of the other diners and the servers. The music was Andrea Boccelli, but became more instrumental as the restaurant filled up. Some of the clientele was walk-in, but most seemed to be known by the very genial Tuscan proprietor, Franco Fazzuoli. He had run three restaurants in New York before moving to Scottsdale, Arizona where he also had three restaurants. He moved back to New York last year to be near his daughter, who is in a school of dance here.
We ordered glasses of prosecco. Tuscan oil and bread was put on the table. We discussed the printed menu, the handwritten daily specials and the wine list with our friendly waiter. Then Franco came over to participate. We asked about Brunello di Montalcino and he brought out three bottles for us to choose. We selected the 1998 Giunti which our waiter poured into a decanter. It was very good.
Franco said he would bring a plate of prosciutto, salami and Tuscan cheeses which go particularly well with brunello. It arrived at the same time as the varied antipasto plate we had already ordered. One of the cheeses was an excellent truffled pecorino. Usually in New York truffled cheeses have a nice flavor, but are rubbery; this one was fine. When I asked Franco if it came from Pienza, he said, no it was from BorgoSan Lorenzo, which surprised me as that is in the other end of Tuscany from where one usually gets pecorino or truffles. The bigger plate included prosciutto, melon, burrata (a mixture of buffalo mozzarella and cream enclosed in a mozzarella shell,) filet mignon con salsa verde, seafood salad, anchovies and roasted peppers. We enjoyed both antipasto plates thoroughly.
The next course we had ordered from the specials menu: duck ravioli served with a duck, brandy glaze. It was quite rich.
Then came a well-aged porterhouse steak grilled in the Florentine way. Franco enjoyed carving it for us. It was served with delicious rosemary potatoes and quite bland light green beans and carrots.
Of course we did not need dessert at this point, but Franco insisted and brought a plate of four desserts. The amaretto semifreddo was especially good. To finish, Franco brought us glasses of an herbal digestif.
We really enjoyed our meal, not just the excellent and authentic food, but the ambience, which was exceptionally warm for NYC. The bill, or la dolorosa as Franco called it, was very reasonable and the the three courses which he said he was offering us were not charged. Simpatico.
64 Carmine Street (just east of 7th Avenue) 212-675-8736.
(To see Varian and Gary’s blogpost, click here.)