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Tuscany Mediterranean Grill

In a word: If you can find it, you might like it.

The specs: #0669 
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Insider Pages, City Search, Yellow Pages; listing at Eat Drink Madison; official web site, Tuscany Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Latest Tuscany Mediterranean Grill news and reviews

JM ate the prime rib sandwich with a Dr. McGillicuddy's bottled root beer.
Nichole ate the butternut squash ravioli with a diet Coke.
The bill was $30, or $15/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Tuscany Mediterranean Grill a B (see our grading rubric).

Nichole was looking forward to Tuscany because she'd heard that the former chef from oft-overlooked Nadia's was there. JM was skeptical, taking the restaurant's location in the Quality Inn & Suites off Fish Hatchery into account, but also reminding her gently that the last time she pinned her hopes on relocated staff (see: Fyfe's to Talula) it didn't amount to much. It turns out he was more right than she. Tuscany was fine, if a somewhat disjointed hybrid of bland hotel-attached fare and interesting ideas. And its location is its worst feature.

There was a bread basket and two kinds of good butter with cinnamon or "Mediterranean spice" (mostly olives and oregano). JM enjoyed a craft-y soda and Nichole went with a diet Coke - there's not much for beer lovers here. The wine list was extensive but we're not great judges of its contents; that said, if there's good stuff on that list, a glass of wine and the nice view overlooking the countryside east of Fish Hatch would make for an OK evening. 

Bread and butter

Wedge saladGetting the wedge salad was a bad idea so soon after Tornado's - anything would have paled in comparison. The real bacon didn't outweigh the regular ranch dressing or yellowish, bitter lettuce. Let's move on to the interesting dish.

Butternut squash ravioliThe flavors in the butternut squash ravioli would have been perfect at brunch. The noodles for this dish and the other pasta offerings are made in-house; they were good, if goopy. They were filled with heavily buttered butternut squash and a burst of nutmeg. The warming cinnamon sauce, thickened with mascarpone cheese, was delicious but excessive, though there was a good ratio of halved fresh cranberries for tartness and textural contrast. if anything marred this entree it was its oppressive, thick sweetness. (If ever there was an appropriate time to use up our "cloying" allowance, it's now. We've been banking it since Scott's.)

JM's prime rib sandwich was the epitome (in the correct sense, meaning "average," and not just shorthand for "best") of hotel meals. The possibly housemade but undeniably great Texas toast passed through the full range of doneness, and was well-buttered. Swiss and cheddar and the none-too-savory meat were overpowered by too many caramelized onions. A pickle and underdone fries thrown onto the plate like pick-up-sticks didn't add much.

Prime rib sandwich

Our server was among the best. Also fun was that just like at Sushi Box, there's a closed circuit TV monitoring the happenings in the kitchen.

Certainly anyone staying at the QI could be pleasantly surprised here, but with the wall-to-wall food options scattered about the Fitchburg "main street" area, it'll be hard for Tuscany to get a toehold at all. This is a shame as it is exactly the kind of place you'd go if the Great Dane was too crowded.

Comments

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I think the Nadia's guy left awhile ago - but I could be wrong. I've been there 2 or 3 times - I find it, although not great, a very pleasant place to spend an evening. I'd go back... And yes, for a hotel restaurant, it's very good!

Four or five years ago, my wife and I used to dine at Tuscany semi-regularly. It was great value for money, never too busy, and one of the very few places in town you could get a proper Caesar salad. The day I got a bowl of romaine shards tossed in commercial dressing, I knew they'd gone downhill and we haven't been back since.

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