Those of you who read my previous post on Lares already know I was having some camera trouble. It turns out that I wasn’t missing my memory card. After five years, my camera officially passed away that night at Lares. While that hasn’t stopped me from going out to eat, but it unfortunately means there will be a few posts sans photos.
Anyway, onto my review of Toscana:
Before going to Toscana, I had heard a bit of buzz about it. Mainly, I heard that it’s impossible to get a reservation, that Christina Aguilera loves it, and that the food is amazing but expensive. Those three facts were enough to keep me away for the past three and a half years that I have lived in Brentwood. However, last week I realized it was finally time for me try out this Italian hotspot.
First, it’s not impossible to get a reservation. I called on Saturday night at around 5:00 to find that I could be seated that night at 9:00. Not bad at all. Second, I did not see Ms. Aguilera. As for the food, it was pricy, but I would not classify it under “amazing”. Our meal started well, with a plate of bread doused in imported olive oil and a bowl of fresh veggies. The house Chianti was fabulous, and at $10 a glass it was definitely a good choice. But, it was when our salad came out that I became a little unsure of Toscana.
We decided to throw caution (and money) to the wind, and forgo our usual split Caesar for what I thought would be an amazing salad: baby artichokes with fennel and toasted almonds. I was expecting a plate of deliciously steamed baby chokes with a bit of fennel and almonds for aromatics. What we got was a small pile of raw, julienned fennel and artichoke. Yes, raw baby artichokes. Or, if they weren’t raw, they couldn’t have been blanched for more than a minute, since they were crunchy. It was definitely different that what I had expected. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, and it definitely wasn’t worth the $18 that we spent on it.
Our entrees were on the same level as the salad. Not terrible food by any stretch, but just not worth the price we paid. My husband ordered the lobster and shrimp pasta. While the sauce was delicious, the lobster was hit or miss. Some pieces were perfectly cooked, but others were overcooked and difficult to chew. I ordered one of my favorite things, the spinach ravioli. Again, great sauce; actually, great flavor overall. I just couldn’t get past the fact that I was pretty sure the ravioli was made with wonton skins and frozen spinach. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, I am sure that’s how I would make it at home. But, I wasn’t at home eating for the cost of the groceries, I was at a restaurant I have heard would blow me away, and this dinner just didn’t. The limp wonton skins offered no bite or flavor. I was expecting fresh pasta, which is the main reason I love to order ravioli at restaurants like Toscana.
On the bright side, I would like to note that the service was excellent, and that at the end of the meal we got little cookies with our bill. However, I stick by my opinion of the two best Italian restaurants in Brentwood: Pizzicotto and Peppone.
Toscana is located on San Vicente at Darlington at 11633 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 820-2448