It’s been a year since my last visit to TusCa and in that time, a new chef has settled in with a new menu. Chef Rachid Lahik is handsome and soft-spoken with an impressive resume including time spent at the exclusive Pelican Hill Resort.
We started with Cozze al Zafferano ($13), a Mediterranean mussel dish which is reflective of Chef Lahik’s Moroccan heritage. The mussels were so tender swimming in a broth with saffron. I enjoyed the grilled bread served alongside which I eagerly dipped into the broth not wanting to waste a drop of it.
Ribollita ($6), an Autumn vegetable soup is completely vegetarian and was surprisingly flavorful. Whenever I make vegetable soup at home, I use a chicken stock base so I am always impressed when a vegetable soup is 100% vegan. The kale and garbanzo beans were a hearty addition to this very comforting soup.
When Chef presented us with Tuscan Pizza ($14), I couldn’t help but smile. This was the previous Chef Laura’s signature with prosciutto, asparagus, fontina, mozzarella and a whole egg in the middle. It was also my favorite and still remains to be close to my heart.
But we weren’t getting away with only one pizza. De la Pera Pizza ($14) Is Chef Lahik’s creation with pears, caramelized onions pine nuts, mozzarella, gorgonzola and a balsamic reduction he drizzled table side. This salty sweet pizza is meatless and perfect for vegetarians as well as carnivores.
Fall is the season for braising and Pappardelle ($22) features a nice piece of Placido Chianti braised short ribs served on top of pappardelle pasta.
Although the following three entrees are presented with their a la carte prices, we actually received a tasting portion of the three, so the photos may not reflect them in their true form.
Meat lovers will revel in Bistecca Fiorentina ($34) a perfectly pink rib eye served with rosemary mashed potatoes, sauteed garlic spinach and black truffle sauce.
Or, you can try the Tuscan Pork Tenderloin al Peperoni ($22), tender slices of pork topped with flavorful peppers and capers over herbed polenta cake.
My absolutely favorite of the evening was Pan Seared Chilean Seabass ($28). The fish was melt-in-your-mouth tender and perfectly seasoned. Butternut squash puree, celery root, spinach and porcini mushroom confit accompanied.
We finished our meal with Warm Apple Tartin with Caramel Sauce ($6) served with marscapone and berry medley. A nice fall dessert which should please everyone.
I’ve always been a fan of TusCa’s and am always surprised there aren’t more people in here whenever I’ve visited. The food is stellar, service very attentive, and prices are comparable to other restaurants of this caliber. Complimentary valet parking (up to 3 hours) is available when dining at the restaurant so there should be no reason not to pay them a visit.
TusCa has offered a $25 giftcard to one of my readers. For a chance to win, please leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite Italian dish is. You have until Friday, Dec 30th to enter.
at Hyatt Regency Orange County
11999 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840