Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tosca - An Opera In Your Mouth

Ristorante Tosca
1112 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004

It's unlike me to go to an older restaurant unless it's a favorite of mine, i.e. Old Ebbitt, Billy Martin's Tavern, Brasserie Beck. I'm not sure why, but I thought it would be fun to try Tosca. I've never been there before, but my son was away and the parents wanted to play so we gave it a shot.
I'd read about Tosca, and Chef Matteo had given me some pointers on Facebook, so I figured, "Why not?"
Turns out it was a good choice.
If you've followed my blog in the past you'll notice the familiar chef's table crew. These folks are always so good about humoring me on my culinary adventures.
Here we have Chef de Cuisine Jesse Long on the left and the blurry go on the right is Executive Chef Matteo Venini. They were both very pleasant and accommodating during the meal even though the dining room was full.
Here is the first course being plated.
Cured Ora Salmon with several accompaniments. Charred citrus emulsion, grapefruit vinaigrette, olive oil powder, and lychee sorbet. The salmon was like butter. Apparently this type of salmon is known for it's consistent, thick marbling and takes curing very well. 
Second course was house-made burrata with smoked eggplant crema, onion ash and beets. 

The eggplant crema brought a serious flavor boost to what could have been a boring dish. I like burrata, but it's often bland. Nicely done.
This is the braised cuttlefish stew with wild mushrooms, garlic oil and olives. There was a whole lot of flavor in this. Unfortunately, I was taking pictures while everyone else was stealing the rest of the excellent bread to sop up the broth and wipe their plates clean, or I would have done the same. The trumpet mushrooms were screaming umami. I began to enjoy this meal in a serious manner here.
Next up was the Carbonara Ravioli. Inside the ravioli was a 1-hour duck egg. Excellent combination.
The shavings of summer truffle and the smoked butter were awesome.
I had to take a shot of these entrees as they were awaiting final touches before hitting someone's table. Everything looked tasty.
Sorry I didn't get a chance to try this!
Shanks a lot!
Back to our course was a risotto with burned leeks and crispy sweetbreads. I'm not normally a fan of sweetbreads, but these were just the right size and texture. Perfectly cooked risotto as well.

The octopus had a shrimp and scallop mousse with a beet coulis. The flavor and texture was perfection.
Next was an intermezzo of sorbet and a shot of margarita! Ole!
Muscovy duck with spicy cherry gastrique. This was my wife's favorite.
Here's another look at the plate. Well composed.
Here is our dessert being plated.
The money shot!
Now I'll explain it to you: Foie Gras and Salted Caramel Candy Bar.
This may be the best thing I've put in my mouth all year. That is saying a lot. The dark chocolate and salted caramel with the chilled fois was stupendous. I can only think of a few desserts that are even close to this. Bravo chefs!
Sometimes it's worth the trip to visit something that isn't on the Eater Heatmap. Give it a shot. You won't be disappointed. If you go, tell them you read about it on Pleasures of the Table, and grab me one of these candy bars to go, would you?

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