Black Ink Tagliatelle, Chesapeake Bay Lump Crab Meat, Oh My!!!




ToscaWith a trusted list of favorites recommended by my friends and co-horts at DC Foodies, a LinkedIn Group, I surfed the internet for a fine culinary DC experience that I could not forget at a price that met with my pocketbook.  And, after a detailed weighing-and-balancing analysis, I found the crown jewel of DC – the one that would fit on my finger so to speak.  I chose lunch at Tosca Ristorante.  For this one, I would be going it alone, which I sometimes love, actually.  I booked my reservation the night before through the internet service, Open Table, for 1:30pm.  I knew in advance that I would be ordering the Menu Del Pranzo for $35, but I did peruse the menu, just in case.  Anyway, this is a Lunch Pre-Set Menu, and all dishes are available a la carte at a loftier price, but you can’t beat the Lunch Pre-Set Menu price and selection overall for the exquisite culinary experience you are about to embark upon.  It’s all so well-chosen and brilliant.  Featured here is the first course, Black ink tagliatelle with jumbo lump crab meat, olive oil poached artichokes, roasted garlic and calabria peppers ($22 a la carte).  Oh my, this dish is to die for!!!  I’m not kidding!  I mean I go crazy just thinking about every bite I savored of this ever so buttery yet slightly creamy seafood pasta dish seasoned mildly to pure perfection.  Upon reporting my delight to my waiter, he emphasized that the lump crab was delivered fresh from the Chesapeake Bay.  And how attentive and friendly my waiter was and every waiter that walked by my corner booth by the window for that matter!  I can’t recount exactly how wonderful it made me feel.  The generous jumbo lump crab  tossed into the black ink pasta was ridiculously mind-blowing food for thought (sic) – AND, FOR ME, WILL BE FOR YEARS TO COME!  The unctuous fresh pasta a la dente just melted in my mouth.  And, I must say that I have been to many Italian restaurants in my life, but I have never had a pasta dish like this one.  I wasn’t sure if I should squirm with delirious delightful joy or just sit all astute with sophisticated poise.  Hopefully, I pulled off both!  The bustling DC lunch crowd seemed very at home, in conversation, and enjoying each and every course of what looked like many power lunches a-going on.  (See what the Washington Post has to say about it!)  I could sense Foodies all-around me dining, non-chalant about it all – the exquisite taste of every dish and the extreme service and attentiveness to each table – these things were just expected and the norm, here.  Not surprising that, according to Zagat, 96% liked Tosca!!!

Food Trucks

Going back for a moment, these are some of a whole line of food trucks that I passed walking from Hotel Rouge to Tosca that afternoon.  I wish I had time to try all those, too!  My younger son really loves that Food Truck Competition show on the Food Network.

Food Trucks

The walk was a little longer and hotter than I thought, but I was quite confident with my iPhone app, Google Maps, that I’d arrive on time.


From the street view, I never would have guessed about the memorable exquisite luncheon in store for me.  I truly relied upon the word of friends through DC Foodies that I had chosen wisely and correctly for my short visit to DC.  I didn’t want to waste a single day eating not-so-well.


The sleek classic decor of neutral, grey, white, taupe and beige tones, “interplayed” with the rich colorful textural fabrics.  Just the weave and rich feel of the white linen tablecloth alone set it apart from most any place I have been.  Pure elegance.  It made me happy!


Here’s a look at the Pre-Set Lunch Menu that day.

Tosca - Lunch Menu

It’s pretty difficult for me to get past that amazingly delicate pasta course, the Black ink tagliatelle with lump crab, but I must emphasize that the second course, came nothing short of spectacularly nourishing and heavenly!  And, oh-so-fresh!!  It did not disappoint.


For the main entree, they served Branzino Spagnolo, a roasted Spanish sea bass with spring garlic sauce, fava beans, oven dried cherry tomatoes, and fresh herb olive oil ($26 a la carte).  How I had been wanting to have sea bass at it’s best, and that I did!  The beautiful  well-balanced presentation of the sea bass makes culinary sense with every flavorful component, taste and texture.  So much to take in!!


Finally, here is the dessert course, a Tiramisu, Chef’s Modernized Tiramisu ($10 a la carte).  The waiter explained that I must hold the stem glass as I scooped down the side of the glass to get a bite of every layer from the lady’s fingers, zabaglione custard, the mini-malted chocolate covered balls to the cocoa dust.  What I’m used to is the tiramisu cake served in Italian restaurants that usually requires two or more people to finish, but this was just perfect meaning, yes, I finished it all myself.  Brilliant and bravo, Chef!!


For the traveling DC foodie, Tosca is not to be missed!  I would love to go back!!!

Other places I wanted to try were Black Salt (a bit out of my budget, but I really wanted to check it out), Marcel’s (I took my son there for his belated 23rd birthday dinner – Expensive, but phenomenally worth it for that special occasion), Rasika (Expensive Indian, but I stopped in for a dessert), Founding Farmers (Bustling busy, but we ate an excellent casual dinner), Firefly (Had a great lunch with a friend), Burgers, Tap and Shake (My son enjoyed their burger and fries), Wagshal’s Deli (didn’t have time to get to this excellent recommend for a lunch), Grill Fish (nice Salmon BLT lunch, and the manager gave me free Circulator bus passes), Bombay Club (Expensive Indian, but I would have liked to go with some adults that like to dress up, not my son’s cup o’ tea), Circa (Excellent casual dinner, Short Ribs amazing), and there were so many others but not enough time or money to try them all!!!

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  • Vasantha Bala says:

    Wow! Wow! Excellent way of describing your eating experience at this Italian restaurant in the Nation’s Capital! I am truly very Happy for you to have this experience.

    • admin says:

      Thanks, mom!!! It was truly a happy experience to remember. :) Please revisit this post, since I’ve added some useful interesting information to it, including changing the title to be more descriptive!!

  • The pictures are beautiful, Valli! This whole review makes my mouth water! I really want to try to make homemade black ink tagliatelle…a definite winter project!

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