Food & Drink

In North Bay Village, a Tuscan Way of life

Mushroom ravioli in porcini sauce at Tuscan Way Italian Restaurant, North Bay Village.
Mushroom ravioli in porcini sauce at Tuscan Way Italian Restaurant, North Bay Village.

Soups, salads, hot and cold appetizers, pastas, risottos, and meat and seafood main courses are served in the dining room and on the outdoor patio overlooking moored yachts on the Intracoastal at Tuscan Way Italian Restaurant.

It opened two months ago on the ground floor of a residential building with many customers living above the eatery in North Bay Village. Four docks welcome boats.

Owner and executive chef Nicola Simone is from Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region of northern Italy, but he has two restaurants in Tuscany with the same name and owns five villas in Tuscany where he teaches culinary classes. His business partner here in Miami is Maria Lucia, with whom he worked with at a travel agency in Tuscany.

The parmesan cheese, prosciutto and wines are imported from Italy, with Barbaresco red wine from the hillside vineyards of the Langhe region growing 100 percent Nebbiolo grapes in clay soil with a high mineral content and complex aromas that goes well with red meats, stews and aged cheeses. If you are on an expense account, there’s the elegant dark ruby 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Bramante Cosimi at $150 a bottle. Made from Sangiovese grapes, it has warm balanced notes of red fruit and soft tannins.

Start a repast here with a bowl of pasta e fagoli (bean) soup or crispy, lightly breaded and deep-fried calamari rings and batons of zucchini with spicy tomato sauce for dipping. There’s also salmon carpaccio with capers and lemon dressing and saltato vongole (sauteed clams) in white wine sauce with parsley, good with a basket of fresh-baked focaccia bread for sopping up juices.

First courses are divided between house-made pastas and creamy risottos made with plump Arborio rice with butter, shrimp, goat cheese, baby arugula and a touch of cream topped with fresh grated Parmesan; or with Chianti wine and peas or with mushrooms and truffle oil for an earthy take. There’s also mushroom ravioli in porcini sauce; spaghetti with meatballs in tomato sauce with basil; and linguine alla carbonara with bacon, onions, eggs and cream.

Mains include bistecca toscana (New York steak) with artichoke hearts and mushrooms; costatelle (pork chops) with apple slices and demi-glace sauce; and grilled chicken breast with arugula and Parmesan. Seafood fans can try caciucco alla Livornese, a seafood stew from the Marche region. Similar to cioppino, it has chunks of fish (often snapper or branzino), clams, mussels and calamari in a light brodetto made with fish stock, tomato paste, garlic and a splash of vinegar. Grilled or steamed lobster is market price, or get the crispy-skinned branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) with chimichurri sauce.

Save room for cioccolatissmo, chocolate cake filled with molten chocolate cream topped with dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream, perhaps with a glass of Vin Santo, an oak-aged golden dessert wine that tastes like dried fruit.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.

If you wo

What: Tuscan Way Italian Restaurant.

Where: 7601 E. Treasure Dr., Suite #21, North Bay Village.

Info: 305-763-8975, tuscanwayrestaurant.com.

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.

Prices: Appetizers $8.95-$14.95, soups $6.50-$7.50, pastas/risottos $10.95-$19.95, mains $16.95-$34.95, desserts $6.50.

F.Y.I.: Happy hour 4-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Cooking classes in the restaurant kitchen are $30 per person with the food cooked enjoyed for dinner; free parking in the covered lot next door to the restaurant.

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