With the many new restaurants that have sprung up in the Traverse City area, it's time to return to an "old" favorite. It was a fairly busy night, yet we were able to be seated without reservations.
Our table was on the outdoor patio, next to a gurgling fountain. I'll say at this point that the entire staff was friendly, attentive, and professional from the moment we were greeted.
I remembered how good the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese pasta dish was (from past visits) and we ordered it - PERFECT! The right amount of pasta AND very generous amount of the delicious ragu. Perfect combination of veal, pork, and beef in a freshly-made tomato based sauce. Presentation of this and our other dishes was tastefully done; with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan and a bit of finely (minced?) chopped parsley
We also enjoyed the Rigatoni alla Prosciutto with sweet peas in a cream sauce: very rich and flavorful. Our dining companions raved about their whitefish dinner (Pesce Bianco Capponata with grilled asparagus), saying it was delicious and tender. Another favorite at the table was the Cavatell con Ragu Funghi dish with a heavy cream ragu of herbs, garlic, cream, and I think more mushrooms than pasta! We commented that this dish was so rich and maybe too "creamy" for us and were told that next time, request it be prepared "drier" - as ALL the pastas are prepared individually and therefore can be made "to order". WOW!
We always enjoy the ciabatta bread served with fresh pesto (from first-press olive oil with parsley and maybe garlic?) The mista salad is perfect - julienne carrot slices, a mix of fresh greens and great honey balsamic dressing.
All the pastas as well as salads are available in full and "half" size servings; we love this idea and plan to come back for some serious sampling! Or enjoy our favorites AGAIN.
Along with our meal we chose from a great list of mostly Italian wines - the Cabernet Franc blend caught our eye and we really enjoyed it! I was pleased to see the 5 ounce pour - and the "legs" in the glass from the rich wine. A hearty accompaniment to a hearty meal. Our waiter said that with an Italian meal, wine should be plentiful, explaining the larger pour. We couldn't agree more!
Desserts include an awesome selection of Italian favorites: Tiramisu, Cannoli, and several others. Being a lover of all things chocolate, my favorite is the Chocolate Terrine (like a flourless torte).
We've roamed the region this summer trying new dining experiences - AND THIS WAS THE BEST, MOST DELICIOUS, CREATIVE MENU AND MEAL we've enjoyed. You can almost feel the chef's hand: his passion and inspiration, in his delicious cuisine. Better than "new and trendy" (though it surely could be called fresh and avant-garde?); it's clear Tuscan Bistro is now a "tried and true" favorite.
Easy to find, on M22 in Greilickville (across from the Elmwood Marina); parking in front or side of building. A Happy Hour is offered in the bar (2 - 6?); catering available. Reservations accepted and suggested. Menu, with prices, is listed at their website.
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