Exposing mouths to foreign food instills them with a sense of culture, resulting in tongues that wear top hats and teeth that recite Shakespearean sonnets to any dentist who will listen. Cultivate a sophisticated palate with today’s Groupon to Toscana Ristorante in Concord. Choose between the following options:
- For $20, you get $30 worth of Italian cuisine and two glasses of house wine or two cocktails for two or more people (up to a $7 value each; up to a $44 total value).
- For $30, you get $50 worth of Italian cuisine and four glasses of house wine or four cocktails for four or more people (up to a $7 value each; up to a $78 total value).<p>
Samuel Figueroa, head chef of Toscana Ristorante and graduate of the School of Italian Food Art in Rome, conducts mouth symphonies with the melodious sizzle of Italian eats that grace both traditional and vegetarian menus. Salmon and a school of veggies perfect synchronized-swimming routines in swells of blackberry sauce and polenta ($19.95). Slice through the veal parmigiana’s fontina-dusted terrain, or plunge forks into piles of angel hair ($17.95) like a cherub’s barber with a fundamental misunderstanding of how to cut hair. Pair your feast with chalices of house Kinderwood cabernet, merlot, or chardonnay, or upgrade to a more expensive glass from the well-heeled list of Californian, Australian, and Italian varietals. Alternatively, customized cocktails swirl with diners’ choice of liquor, which prepare palates for a promotion to premium concoctions blended with top-shelf pours such as Patrón.
Streams of natural light wash through large, arched windows, towering wine racks, and the eatery’s rustic Tuscan-inspired interior, and the patio’s lush greenery ensconces outdoor eaters in a verdant terrace. Like a manned space mission, the bistro accepts reservations over the phone or via email.
Toscana Ristorante may have opened only in 2006, but chef Samuel Figueroa's culinary chops are of a much thicker cut. Over the course of a 17-year career, which includes a degree from the School of Italian Food Art in Rome, he's honed a large repertoire of traditional Italian fare. In Toscana's kitchen, he and his staff flavor fillets of salmon and veal with accents such as blackberry, lemon butter, and fresh sage. Fillings such as pumpkin, shrimp, and shiitake mushroom stuff raviolis, and marinara and alfredo sauces slather pastas.
Servers transport these and other plates past enormous arched windows in the dining room, which has a floor crisscrossed with elegant arcs of natural light. Racks and shelves behind the blond-wood bar supply white-clothed tables with bottles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, on the verdant outdoor patio, overhanging foliage provides shade for customers and free dessert for their docile pet giraffes.