New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells has started, as of last year, doing a "Critic on the Road" series in which he offers up mini-reviews of notable restaurants around the country, without star ratings, in order to reflect our ever more national food culture. Today he gives us his thoughts on the revamped Tosca Cafe.
He notes, as many have, that chef April Bloomfield and partner Ken Friedman have gotten everything right in their respectful restoration of the interior, and he catalogues a bunch of comparable restaurant properties around the country, some of which have succeeded in restoring historic charm, and some of which have been permanently lost to the ages one in particular, the famed Gage & Tollner near the Fulton Mall in Brooklyn is now a cheap handbag store.
As for the food, typically writes about these out-of-town meals based on just one sitting, and he only has a few good things, and a couple of bad to say about what he ate. He loves a new pasta item, some house-made shell-shaped lumaconi pasta baked with lemon-scented cream, treviso, and breadcrumbs, saying it's something "I would eat once a week if I lived nearby." And he also loves the roast chicken, which comes atop a "wonderfully old-school sauce of Marsala and cream." As for the negatives, he doesn't care for a new dish of "delicate" liver sausage that's overpowered by some pumpkin puree, nor is he a fan of the garlicky mussel soup (but we were).