Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: Arizona Restaurant Week...Ristorante Tuscany

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Arizona Restaurant Week...Ristorante Tuscany

It's Restaurant Week here in Arizona. For $29 per person select restaurants are offering a 3 course meal prepared especially for this event. It's a good way to sample food from a new restaurant or from one of your old favorites.

I've been wanting to try Ristorante Tuscany, over at the Desert Ridge Marriott, for some time now. When I saw they were offering rabbit sugo on their restaurant week menu I made reservations right away.

Four of us went for dinner this past Saturday night. We arrived promptly at 7 and were led to a large round table in the center of the main dining room. ( I know it's strange but I love restaurants that use round tables. It makes conversation with dinner guests so much easier) Our table offered us a nice view of the entire area; including the brick oven, the patio and the large fire place.

Shortly after being seated our waitress brought us a basket of bread accompanied by 3 toppings; mascarpone butter, roasted pepper spread, and warm marinated olives. We enjoyed the bread and condiments as we leisurely perused the dinner menu.

We decided on the following two appetizers from the restaurant week menu: the melon salad and the carpaccio. We also ordered the crostini sampler from the regular menu.

The melon salad was a large bowl of cubed yellow watermelon, intermixed with heirloom tomatoes, chunks of really good quality feta cheese and chopped fresh mint leaves. This salad was very refreshing and I loved the combination of salt and sweet.

The carpaccio was several slices of beef, cut ultra thin, topped with a mound of fresh arugula dressed with a light truffle oil. One bite of this salad and I was hooked.

The crostini platter included an assortment of toppings: chopped tomato with onion and basil, chickpea puree, and burrata cheese and roasted pepper. All three varieties were equally good in their own way. I honestly couldn't decide on a favorite.

My husband and I both went with the free form rabbit lasagna as our entree. I'll try my best to explain. (boy I wish I had my camera) There was layer of rosemary ricotta cheese spread thin on the bottom of each plate. Over the ricotta was a large lasagna noodle topped with a mound of Tuscan style rabbit sugo and then another lasagna noodle. All of this was covered in a bechamel sauce. I absolutely loved this dish. From the quality of the ingredients, to the mix of flavors, to the whole free form idea; it was all wonderful.

Our friend Chris ordered the veal osso buco served on a bed of risotto. If you've never had osso buco before it's basically a braised veal shank that is traditionally served with risotto. Chris's veal was fall of the bone tender, as it should be, and was topped with a horseradish gremolita. I couldn't resist a taste.

Haley went with an entree from the restaurant's regular menu; saffron pappardella with lobster. The homemade saffron pasta was cooked al dente and included several large pieces of lobster. The pasta course at Ristorante Tuscany comes in two sizes. Haley opted for the small which we all agreed was plenty big for one person.

Tiramisu was the restaurant week dessert option. Not usually my first choice (I think I've just eaten way too much of it over the years), but this was good. It was very creamy and served in a small cocktail glass. I prefer this consistency over the kind that is sliced like a piece of cake.

The evening was perfect; the food was delicious, the company was great and the waitress brought us complimentary orange filled Italian chocolates to enjoy on our way home.


  1. Love restaurant week! We are having one in Mid Oct.

  2. It sounds like you enjoyed your dinner and Italian chocolates, YUM!!!