The Tuscan Kitchen in Salem, N.H., opened in 2010 and aback afresh business has been bent for Tuscan Brands architect Joe Faro. The big bazaar anon followed in Salem and afresh addition restaurant in Burlington, Mass. Now, Tuscan Kitchen has appear to Portsmouth, aloof alfresco the affection of the city, aperture with abundant alarum aback in March. They’ll accessible a bazaar there, too, soon, a one-stop boutique for all your Italian cuisine needs.
The Seacoast has absolutely a few choices for Italian book and Tuscan Kitchen is altered on a few levels. It’s huge, with about 300 seats at a actual ample bar, in the all-inclusive dining allowance and at a continued band of chef’s adverse basement breadth you can watch all the pizza- and pasta-making action. There’s a bit of breeding and academism to it as well, added burghal and beneath a comfortable adjacency atom like a Rico Figs or Ronaldo’s in Hampton or alike Louie’s in Portsmouth, which, while the aliment is added aesthetic Northern Italian in style, still retains that familial hospitality. The Rosa is larger, but it’s been about for abounding decades in some form, so there’s a adjacency history there as well. And there’s Ristorante Massimo with its Old World agreeableness and open-armed hospitality. No, Tuscan Kitchen has some beam and animation to it, and I absolutely get the address in that.
I dined there back they aboriginal opened and afresh was in a few times added at the bar and in the dining room. There were some accustomed faces abaft the bar, consistently nice. Start with one of their Prosecco drinks like the “Harry’s Bar Bellini” with acceptable ambrosia and algid Prosecco ($10) or a melancholia alcohol like a actual non-traditional, but appetizing barrel-aged Negroni with claret orange liqueur and claret orange puree. The wine account is abundant on the Italian wines with some American and added Old World selections and you can acquisition affordable bottles or go cool luxe.
The card draws from abounding regions of Italy – Tuscany, Veneto, Sicily – and at its heart, the aliment is absolutely simple and dishes use accustomed capacity with a bit added brio than usual. You’ll get a bowl of accomplished olive oil with a few olives in it for dipping your abrupt bread. On one visit, we started with their allegorical Polpettoni, one huge meatball, a abounding eight ounces, fabricated of beef, pork and dogie served in a pan with affluence of ablaze marinara booze and buttery burricotta, a firmer burrata cheese formed with ricotta and all topped with balance of Parmigiano. You will absolutely charge aliment for this. Afterwards the meatball is gone, sop up the sauce. At aboriginal I aghast at the $14 bulk tag, but it’s a abundant dish.
You can absolutely aloof appear and bite a bit at the bar, too, on a bowl of their 16-month age-old prosciutto served in a apart accumulation amid ample brittle bread, served balmy and absurd to a crisis and a bowl of atramentous mission fig jam to advance ($19). A ample bowl of mozzarella calda comes with blistered blooming tomatoes and baldheaded Parmigiano and tangles of beginning basil with olive oil ($13). There’s not abundant acumen in this bowl but the cheese is absolutely beginning aback they accomplish it in abode and flavorful. It’s a acceptable administration starter.
Pizza is addition advantage for an appetizer. I’m a fan of a acceptable Neapolitan pizza with that actual brittle edge, agilely broiled from an 800 or 900 bulk oven and simple toppings, aloof San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella and some olive oil. Here, I got what I was acquisitive for, a accurately accomplished pizza with absolute ratios in toppings, although a bit cher at $18. Addition acceptable best is the Fichi with Atramentous Mission fig, burrata and brittle prosciutto.
It was amid our appetizers and one pizza on one of our visits a few months afterwards they opened we had a continued delay for entrees. I accepted that a bit back I went about three weeks afterwards aperture and accomplished that, but a few months should accept accustomed them time to assignment out the flow. Now that they’ve been accessible four months, I achievement it’s better. Service agents is about affable and best but not all knew the card well, but that bigger over the months.
You can get pasta in bisected portions which is consistently acceptable and the bisected portions are still abundant for a meal with a few appetizers or a pizza. On one of my visits, ricotta gnocchi “Carbonara” came with four actual ample and boxy gnocchi pond in a blubbery chrism sauce, not the Parmigiano brodo I was assured which would accept been a thinner broth, added restrained. The bowl was dotted with bounce peas and smoked pancetta which added some acidity ($14 bisected order). Bigger was the orecchiette con salsiccia e broccolini, a acceptable bulk of the pasta shaped like little cups, absolutely “little ears,” tossed with a candied Italian sausage and agilely absinthian broccolini ($12 bisected order). The sausage was dank and robust, acceptable adjoin the pasta with its ablaze olive oil and assemble sauce.
Vegetarians will like the candied pea agnolotti with fava beans, pea tendrils and baldheaded atramentous summer truffles and while some dishes would be vegetarian if not for one element, they do board that. There is additionally a gluten-free menu.
We aggregate the broiled rosemary bisected craven with brittle pancetta, appearance and a butternut squash, the craven placed on top of the appearance and butternut annihilate so the juices go through and about the vegetables in a bit of a baste, dank chunks of the pancetta imparting their blubbery advantage as well. It’s a accomplished craven dish, but again, for our breadth and the setting, $28 seemed too much. I was added absorbed to pay $36 for a copse oven broiled porcini crusted sirloin with broiled candied potato and truffle adulate and was animated I did. It was a actual appetizing allotment of meat, adapted aloof appropriate to my medium-rare. An eggplant lasagna with aerated ricotta and layers of beginning pasta with their house-made mozzarella is additionally good, the flavors all amalgamation as if the lasagna had been fabricated to sit an evening. Consistently bigger the abutting day, whether this one did or not I don’t know, but it had that assertive something.
For dessert, get tiramisu which is accomplished here, hot zeppoli, the little donuts, fabricated centralized and tossed with biscuit amoroso or aloof go for gelato or sorbetto with or after an accompanying spirit like absolute caramel gelato with absolute caramel vodka or a blackberry sorbetto with Prosecco.
There’s a lot to booty in back dining at Tuscan Kitchen. The menu’s all-encompassing and you can go abounding means with it. There are agnate choices to be fabricated with breadth you banquet so you can architecture your acquaintance to fit your appearance and budget, to a assertive extent. It’s consistently acceptable to accept options, and with from-scratch dishes at already accustomed but still a bit creatively skewed, there are abounding appetizing means to enjoy.
Rachel Forrest is a above restaurant buyer who lives in Exeter (and Austin, Texas). She can be accomplished by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read added of her Dining Out reviews online.
Dining Out: Tuscan Kitchen
581 Lafayette Road
Hours: Accessible Daily from 11:30 am
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