Monday, October 10, 2011

Agresti's Tuscan Grill

I saw a sign for "Agresti's Tuscan Grill" in Westover recently and was really excited to check out the "Tuscan grill." It's right along the main road, and we went around dinner time. There wasn't a car in the parking lot, so I had to double-take to see if they were open. They do open for dinner, but they're still new, so it's not busy.

When we walked in, we waited awkwardly at the front of the restaurant. I looked around and took in the decorations - it was almost romantic. The lighting was dim, the color on the walls was warm, and the chairs were leather and comfy. It was surprisingly elegant inside. Finally, the waitress came over and kind of mumbled something about how we almost caused her an accident, as she was holding her eye. She laughed afterwards, signalling she was joking, but me and my dining partner were thrown off and didn't know what to say. The waitress told us to choose where we'd like to sit. I chose a table near us, and we ordered our drinks.


I realized there was a bar nearby, and the interior was impressive. I was surprised. I looked over the menu and thought to myself, this is going to be better than expected. The restaurant didn't feature the typical choose your pasta, marinara or alfredo and whether or not you want a meatball. Dishes included various types of pasta and inventive sauces, some with peppers, others with spinach or shrimp or chicken.

Before I narrowed down my decision on the pasta, we ordered bruschetta for an appetizer.  I chose the vodka farfalla, which came with a salad, for my entree.

Soon after, we were brought a basket of bread and a garlic/olive oil dipping sauce. This is typical for Italian restaurants, and it was a nice touch. The bread was fresh, and the olive oil mixture was a little lacking in flavor, but hey, how flavorful can plain olive oil be? I think the simplicity of it is what makes it a good starter.

Our salads came out next - basically a bowl of chopped lettuce, some tomatoes and some feta cheese crumbles. I got their house salad, which wasn't powerful, but very subdued. It only accented the lettuce, and since it wasn't that impressive, the salad kind of fell flat. I ate some, but pushed it away fro the better dishes ahead.

Our bruschetta came out looking delicious. The appearance would have earned an A alone, but I certainly wasn't going to go without tasting it. The toasted pieces of bread started to get a little soggy in the middle with the tomatoes salad atop it, but once I was able to scoop a good bit into my mouth, I was blown away. Keep in mind, this is bread, olive oil, tomatoes and some scallions with a delicious blend of flavors. The bread was still crunchy enough to provide a delicious base for the tomato and olive oil mixture - all infusing with garlic and spices. It was a delicious combination that kept me wanting more.

When our main entrees came out, I was happy with the size. I thought for sure that'd I'd have leftovers. Our waitress offered us some fresh cheese on top, and I took her up on that offer. I looked at my plate full of bowtie pasta, topped with a creamy tomato-based vodka sauce. It had small chunks of fresh mozzarella piled on top with pieces of capicola sprinkled throughout. This dish was heaven. It was so creamy, and the mozzarella and capicola made a delicious meal with the perfectly cooked pasta. Slightly al dente allows the sauce to absorb and creates a yummy carb coma. The capicola is a little salty, the cheese is fresh, and sauce is creamy and tomato-y and garlicy. It's so good, that I want to go back and order the same dish because I'm not sure another dish could be as good.


When I had a few bites left, the waitress asked if I'd like a box - I said no, I was going to eat the entire thing. It was THAT good. A few minutes later, she set a box on our table anyway. I didn't think much of it until she came back a few minutes later to take it away and give it to another table. While my entree was fantastic, the service was questionable - the two waitresses stood over behind a a counter chatting for a good bit of the time, while my drink was running empty. They also didn't know the specials and had to keep walking up to the chalkboard in front of the dining area to read it. Not to mention how we were greeted.

Regardless, when she offered us dessert, I wanted to try. She listed off tiramisu, spumoni, and cannolis. I haven't had a good cannoli since Italy, so that was my choice. It came out with some powdered suger, but this wasn't the typical ricotta-filled filo pastry I was expecting. Instead, it was almost like an icing inside the cannoli. I would forgo dessert next time. It simply wasn't tasty - the pastry wasn't sweet, and the filling was an odd flavor.

Luckily, my appetizer and entree were delicious enough for me to recommend this place, especially with it being so new. I can see bigger and better things coming. For $40 for two people, it's really a good price for a bread appetizer, bruschetta appetizer, two entrees, drinks, desserts, and not to mention a strange gel-like mint.

Grade: A
Agresti's Tuscan Grill on Urbanspoon

18 comments:

  1. I have always wondered about this place...and now i am def going to have to try. Thanks for the review!

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  2. I'm glad you found it useful! Hopefully your experience was as good as mine! If you end up going, let me know how it was.

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  3. will do friends and i are going next saturday. You need to try the shrimp and grits at Golden Finch...amazing! I'm not sure how you feel about exotic food, but madeleine's has some adventures sometimes. Examples are Calf brains, Lamb testicles, Foie Gras as well as others.

    If you ever go too pitt and want to explore new foods let me know! i travel up there all the time for foods=D

    check out my food pics...I'm not much of a writer as you are, but i enjoy food photography. These were taken with either my cell phone or my camera.

    http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/profile_photos/859055

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  4. eh sorry i forgot about the horrible compression of pics on urban spoon here are is my flickr acct...sorry its not really organized

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/54868484@N06/

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  5. I actually got that at Golden Finch not too long ago! I posted a blog - I think it's in my queue. It should publish in a couple weeks. And I actually just posted a review of Madeleine's - love it there!

    I might have to take you up on the Pittsburgh suggestions. I'm from the northern panhandle, so it's very close.

    Your pictures are lovely! I love them! What kind of camera do you have? I have a Nikon D40, but I usually just use my phone to snap a few shots. You have me rethinking that now - I bet my camera would be much nicer haha.

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  6. ah yes sorry about getting back to you so late.

    This place was great. You were SPOT on about the bruschetta. I would think it was probably the BEST i have had with such a simple dish.

    The only dish i didnt like was the Clam Chowder. Honestly it tasted like Campbells Chunky Clam Chowder.

    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6114/6342243095_a3cc15630b_b.jpg

    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6114/6342993418_49e58f8918_b.jpg

    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6095/6342993634_a4e5a607b0_b.jpg

    The things i got =D I had a lil problem with getting pictures in there. It was decently dark. I picked the corner table by the lamp but that messed with the colors a lil bit =(

    I use a Rebel T2i with a 35mm Lens. I do 30% of my pictures and edit them on my phone (EVO 4G) The rest i try to take my DSLR EVERYWHERE. Its night and day difference.

    Here is my album with new pics...haha shameless plug =D http://www.flickr.com/photos/54868484@N06/sets/72157628117351665/

    I just read that you reviewd Kenya Cafe, and i agree on all points. I havent been back in a while becuase the first few times I went everything was being reheated via microwave including the Samosas which came a little soggy. I just came back from DC a few weeks ago and tried Ghana food for the first time and it was AMAZING!

    alright I'm done with my gibberish =D

    PS: yes bring your D40 to all the restaurants!
    Even fastfood looks good with a good camera and the right angles
    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6235/6332430205_60b7d7054d_b.jpg

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  7. I'm so glad you liked it! Too bad about the clam chowder, though. All your pictures look so tasty - makes me want to go back again!

    I would LOVE to try Ghanaian food. Maybe they'll open up something closer ;)

    If I thought about my meals beforehand, I would probably bring my camera. Most aren't really planned though. I did get a new iPhone 4S, and the quality of my photos has improved significantly.

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  8. Morgantown is doing a lot better with its variety of foods.

    I dont think i mentioned it but check out Richwood Grill. They have a lot of dinner events. Like a 10 course beer pairing or a sake pairing, and even Tequila pairing!

    I usually just have my camera with me in my car or what not. I am a snob when it comes to pictures =D but yes the Iphone 4s takes great pics even in dark places.

    You should check out some photo editing software on the phone. I am not sure of the ones on iOS but i use Pic Say Pro to edit the pics on my phone to make them brighter adn more vivid.

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  9. Yes, I love the diversity. When I went to Richwood last, I wasn't impressed. I definitely need to give it another go-around, though. I have some editing software on my phone, but the iPhone has some good native stuff now - like cropping and red eye and stuff!

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  10. Honestly their regular menus are hit or miss. Sometimes really good sometimes it's meh.

    They do change their menu each season. So they are on their winter menu now.

    I would wait till they have another Dinner event before you go back again =D

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  11. Let me know if you hear of anything! =]

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  12. ha i keep flooding this page =D

    You should try out Ogawa again, but do not! eat their sushi. I mean its ok if you do but you should try out their korean dishes like this one.

    Bimbimbop (name may vary, and this picture is a korean place in pittsburgh, but ogawa has something exactly like it)

    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6040/6229504119_86ec791f8c_b.jpg

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  13. Mmm looks good! I got to Ogawa from time to time. I'll check it out. If you're worried about flooding the page, you can send me an email Candace127@gmail.com I don't mind, though =]

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  14. have you checked out www.restaurant.com ???

    and i just found out about this site today

    www.moocho.com I know the first site is legit, but this moocho im new at. Figured this will help you out as much as you eat out. and no i dont work for them!

    Sher

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  15. I've looked at it - but the ones they have listed are ones I've already tried/expensive, so I don't use those as much.

    I've heard of moocho.com, but haven't really explored it. A lot of my meals can be reimbursed from DubVmenus, so that helps the cost a bit

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  16. omg you did not just say that! jealous! ask them if they need food photographers =D

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  17. "A lot of my meals can be reimbursed from DubVmenus, so that helps the cost a bit"

    Are you saying that you're reimbursed for the expenses for your meals by a third party? Have you disclosed this, anywhere, on this blog, aside from the comment above? Do you receive directives from anyone to review a particular establishment either positively or negatively?

    I'll reserve judgment on the potential ethical conflict of interest until I receive a reply...

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    Replies
    1. I'm fairly sure that is pretty self-explanatory. And I have an entire blog devoted to my role at DubVmenus. You must not be searching very much.

      And no, this is my personal blog. I have the freedom to grade any restaurant however I want.

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