Chef Michael & Caitlin Toscano return to New York City, and to their culinary roots, with the opening of da Toscano in Greenwich Village. The address, 24 Minetta Lane, is the former home to Perla where Michael helmed the kitchen as executive chef in 2012. Caitlin, also a veteran of the New York City dining scene, joins him to oversee the front of house.
Da Toscano is the culmination of Michael’s creative interpretations of regional Italian cuisine; a full-service, modern Italian restaurant offering lunch and dinner. Dinner offers guests raw oysters and a chilled seafood selection; small plates; seasonal vegetables; housemade pasta and exciting entrees. Standout small plates include: Artichoke Piccata; Octopus Carpaccio; and Braised Leeks with calabrian chili, and chanterelle mushrooms. There is also a section titled, ‘Quinto Quarto’, which is Michael’s nod to offal cookery. Pastas are made in-house daily, including Tajarin served with vermouth, duck ham, and crackling; Lasagne with Sunday gravy, mozzarella, ricotta and basil; and Lamb Neck Agnolotti. Main courses are thoughtful and creative, featuring a Veal Head Parmigiana with mozzarella di bufala, tomato sauce and basil; Porchetta Chop, crispy pork belly wrapped pork chop with fennel pollen, and rosemary; Barbecued Oxtail Agrodolce with kohlrabi, watermelon radish, napa cabbage, and nostrale rice; and Baked Skate Wing with spinach, chili, soft herbs and citrus emulsion; and of course, a featured Pat LaFreida dry-aged ribeye steak served alla pizzaiola. Diners can end on a sweet note by ordering a slice of cake or pie, featuring family recipes, including Caitlin’s mother’s Carrot Cake. Lookout for other comfort desserts including sour cream cheesecake, classic affogato with house made crumb cake and a selection of Italian cookies, sorbetti and gelati.
Da Toscano will also offer lunch Monday-Friday, serving a slightly abbreviated dinner menu, as well as lunchtime only dishes, including a housemade pasta special (which changes daily) that is served with a salad and garlic bread for $18. A 3-course lunch prix fixe, will include an antipasti, pasta or entree, and dessert, for $36.
The beverage program complements the thoughtful culinary offerings with a curated wine and cocktail menu. The wine list, largely focused on Italian wines with additional touches of Old World and New World offerings, is a blend of esoteric, small production, and classic producers with recognizable grape varietals, as well as some more obscure offerings that diners are sure to love. The cocktails are both traditional and Italian, and simple yet elegant without ‘too much fuss.’ Take the Alpine Slide Spritz for example, featuring Comoz Blanc Vermouth and Génépy des Alpes. Or the Cynar(k) & Stormy, an Italian take on a Dark n Stormy featuring Cynar and Fever Tree ginger beer. Classic offerings, such as a negroni or martini, are also available. The cocktail list also features accents from domestic distilleries, such as High Wire Distilling Company’s Barrel Rested Gin, a distillery that helms from Charleston, SC, home to da Toscano’s sister restaurant, Le Farfalle.
Michael’s career began at Willow Creek Golf Club in Houston, Texas as a dishwasher at the age of 16. By 21 he was living in New York City and was a sous chef at Babbo. After four years at the renowned restaurant, Michael was made the executive chef of Eataly’s Manzo, the Italian food mecca’s fine-dining restaurant. In 2012, as the Chef/Partner, he opened Perla, which received many accolades including: Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America, two stars from The New York Times, and Time Out New York Best Italian Restaurant. Michael was named a “New York Rising Star” by Star Chefs, Zagat 30 Under 30, James Beard “Rising Star Chef” semifinalist, and was selected to be part of the Williams Sonoma’s Chefs’ Collective.
Caitlin grew up in Pennsylvania, but was enjoying the sunny beaches of Miami by the age of 16 while attending Johnson & Wales University’s culinary arts program. After an externship at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, where she met Michael, she spent the next 12 years pounding the pavement in New York City working in the front of house at some of the cities finest restaurants: Craft, Per Se, Del Posto, and Manzo. Taking a moment to welcome their children, Julian and Marley into the world, Caitlin’s career took a brief pause until the summer of 2016, when the family moved to Charleston, South Carolina to open their Italian restaurant, Le Farfalle. Le Farfalle quickly became a top rated restaurant in this highly regarded southern food town.
While Michael and Caitlin are happy to call Charleston home, they are equally excited for their sophomore project to open in a city that has fostered their love and passion for the hospitality industry.
Joining the team at da Toscano is CFO & Managing Partner Joseph Hochberg, who will lead Operations. Chef de Cuisine William Tuggle, who has worked for some of the biggest names in hospitality, including Daniel Boulud, Giancarlo Perbellini (the Italian President for the Bocuse D’ Or), John Fraser, Alain Jacqumin, and formerly for Michael. General Manager Zac Denham, who has held several roles in some of New York’s favorite restaurants including, Burger & Lobster USA flagship location, Empellón Taqueria in the West Village, and most recently as general manager for Talde in Jersey City. Beverage Director Madeline Maldonado who was manager and sommelier for Chef Jonathan Waxman’s Jams before managing the 400+ bottle wine list as Eataly’s Beverage Director for the past couple of years.
Caitlin and Michael set out to create a space that is elegant and comfortable, yet fun and lively. A space where all feel welcomed, whether you’re dropping in for a snack at the bar or for a special occasion. The ceiling has been transformed from a rustic stained wood to a chic high-gloss blue. Velvet chairs, mossy green leather banquettes and slick marble tables accent the intimate room. Fresh stone tiles, grasscloth wallpaper and colorful bathrooms complete the new look. The walls are adorned with original works by Isaac Mann, artist and friend, which add a playful element throughout the restaurant. Da Toscano has a total of 62 seats between the main dining room, bar and chef’s counter.
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