Tosca, Downtown

On Thursday, Tosca (along with its sibling restaurant, Posto), was one of only four restaurants in the entire area to donate 100% of its proceeds to Food & Friends during the Dining Out For Life promotion. Because of this, they got my business, and hence this write-up. I can only hope this pays them back in some small way.

Tosca was packed, as it should have been, but a bar seat finally opened up after about five minutes. I started off with a glass of Tramin Sauvignon Blanc ($10) which went beautifully with an appetizer of Thyme Crusted Turbot ($17), served in its own broth (!) with baby fall vegetables. Although expensive, this was a deliciously simple dish that I’ve not seen in this area.

The Sauvignon Blanc also transitioned well into my first half-course of pasta, a Cappellacci ($13, full portions $24) filled with burrata and ricotta, olive and basil ragu, and served on top of a broccoli-rabe pesto. Don’t these dishes sound wonderful? They are. And please don’t forget that Tosca happily does half-portions of pasta – you as a diner can get an excellent sampling of the best pasta dishes DC has to offer, at a very expensive restaurant, and still not pay a lot of money to do it. I’ve been advising this for years, and after having the Pasta Tasting Menu at New York City’s Babbo last summer, I’m more convinced than ever that Tosca is every bit its equal for pasta.

Prepared for a heavier pasta course (and also not minding spending some money here because it was all going to a good cause), I ordered a glass of 2006 Produttori di Barbaresco ($17), made by one of the world’s best wine co-ops. My only constructive criticism about the entire evening is that this glass should have been served cooler, a problem that plagues the vast majority of restaurants in the area serving red wines.

But what a dish I had! I’d ordered a half-portion of Tortelli, but my wonderful bartender, Jay Villegas, whom I’ve known here for years, somehow finessed a portion of Potato Gnocchi (normally $21) served with a creamy Taleggio sauce with a ragu of Luganega sausage. As good as the other two courses were, this was the dish of the night, and was just an outstanding plate of gnocchi – I’m going to come here for lunch and order a full dish of this. Afterwards, rather than stuff myself with the tortelli, I decided instead to leave Jay an appropriate tip – this restaurant was losing money on everything it served this evening, and it seemed like the least I could do.

Note that all pastas at Tosca are homemade and I reiterate: they’re the best in the area, and are available as half portions. I feel guilty ordering these every time I come to Tosca, but this is a very expensive restaurant – on a par with Restaurant Eve – and this makes it more affordable for me (not to mention that I’m having some of the best pasta made anywhere in the United States).

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