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
I love homemade tagliatelle with a saffron sauce and lots of seafood.
hamilton le says
My favorite Italian dish is carbonara a simple and flavorful dish to have at anytime of the day or night.
Gregory McCann says
Haven’t been there before, but have a feeling the “Pappardelle” will instantly become my new favorite pizza. Gourmet pizzas of any kind usually work for me.
OMG Everything on that menu looks so delicious!
Jim Higgins says
Yes, I enjoy your blog, which makes delightful reading.
My favorite would be fresh Al Dente pasta, prepared simply with fresh ingredients and virgin pressed olive oil. I may desire it with a marinara sauce with lots of garlic, basil and mushrooms and some crushed red pepper for spice.
Did I say I envy your job?
Mad Hungry Woman says
haha thanks Jim — it sounds good I know, but sometimes it’s tough when you just want to go eat at your fave restaurant and you have to go to something new — which may or may not turn out to be positive. Thanks for reading 🙂
My favorite Italian dish is any type of seafood linguine (generally with a cream sauce). I also really enjoy cannoli and tiramisu.
Wendy Chen says
I love a meat or seafood Italian dish with good spicy marinara sauce. If there is pasta in the dish, I prefer good al dante ones. The Pan Seared Chilean Seabass on your blog looks delightful and I would love to try it if I win. Thank you!
A really good lasagna is a classic meal, but after seeing the pic and comment of the chilean sea bass, I would have to say you’ve made me change my mind to fish!
Rhea B says
This may come across as me not having an exotic palette, but what I say is true: I love a good pasta with an even better Bolognese sauce. It’s easily categorized as comfort food, but it can be quite complex depending on the recipe. I love the different types of meats you can grind up too: veal, pork, pancetta, bacon, etc. All this infused with herbs, pepper, white wine…ahhh. What can I say, I love my meats =)
Rhea B says
So as a meat lover, I must say the Bistecca Fiorentina sounds divine.
Late to the game but it’s a toss up between Sea Bass and the Pork Tenderloin. Keep up the good work.
My favorite Italian dish is papperdelle bolognese. I also love braised short ribs, so I have no doubt I would love the short rib papperdelle featured in your post!!
Debbie Miller says
Everything looks so good in the photos! I like pretty much all Italian food, but pizza (simple, cheese) would probably be the all-time favorite, and on the pasta-front, fettucini alfredo!