A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 21, 2008
Tosc-Mex or Tusc-Mex (Tuscany, Italy + Tex-Mex cuisine)

What would a restaurant serving Italian + Tex-Mex cuisine be like? The restaurant Matilda opened in New York City in late 2007, offering a mix of Tuscany (Toscana) and Mexico that it called “Tosc-Mex” or “Tusc-Mex.” The menu included nachos and guacamole, making it perhaps closer to “Tusc-Tex-Mex.”

It remains to be seen if this cuisine and food term becomes established.


Wikipedia: Tuscany
Tuscany (Italian: Toscana) is one of the twenty Regions of Italy. The capital is Florence, and it has an area of 22,990 km² also about 3.6 million inhabitants. Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy. Six Tuscan localities have been made UNESCO protected sites: the historical center of Florence (1982), the historical center of Siena (1995), the square of the Cathedral of Pisa (1987), the historical center of San Gimignano (1990), the historical center of Pienza (1996) and the Val d’Orcia (2004).

Google Groups: la.eats
Newsgroups: la.eats
From: “L. Ravi Narasimhan”
Date: 1999/11/05
Subject: Re: Question

> Does anyone know of a great Italian restaurant in L.A?

Try Valentino’s.  Inexpensive, table service or buffet (your choice,) and the food is so good, too!  They specialize in Tusc/Mex.  Try the Champ-a-rita; the Chef’s special blend of Freixenet and Cuervo.  The bubbles help give you that special buzz.  It’s a great date restaurant. And fellas, if you tip the owner a few bucks, he’ll sing operatic arias to you and your date.  Chicks dig that.

Chowhound - Manhattan
Matilda report - Tusc-Mex in the East Village
Matilda, for those who don’t know, is the new Tusc-Mex place opened by a couple of folks from I coppi. We tried it last night and, while the place still has a few kinks to work out, we’ll certainly go back. The menu is refreshingly unique yet simple.
(...)
Drinks:
Small cocktail list but everyone around us seemed quite pleased with the generous mojito-like drinks. My husband and I went for wine and, while the list is much smaller than that of I coppi and somewhat on the young side, there were a few interesting bottles to choose from.

Food:
Bread comes with olive oil with hot pepper. Delicious with a nice kick.

We started off as follows:

Tuscan take on guacamole, which, as far as I can tell, just means adding sweet pepper and basil to avocado. Nothing terrible but quite bland. I’d skip this.

Fennel, mango and jicama salad with hot pepper This dish does not look appetizing - lots of white strips on a white plate - but the flavor combination worked beautifully.

Mexican bruscetta. This was our favorite dish, a spicy but simple take on the Italian, with lots of tomatillo and jalepeno.

For an entree, I had fusilli with squash blossoms and chayotes (a sort of Mexican sweet squash). A great dish, although a bit on the sweet side for my likes. The husband had the lamb shank with tequila and orange with a side of broccoli rabe, The dish was quite homey and, like just about everything else, simple but delicious.

No dessert, for we were stuffed, but perhaps next time. I think the entrees are about $20 and the starters are closer to $10.
clembeauchamp Oct 28, 2007 09:37AM

The Wordy Epicure
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Matilda
675 E. 11th St (Ave C)
Manhattan
I had high hopes for Matilda. Mexican-Italian fusion has possibilities, and newly coined words like “Tusc-Mex” made my ears perk up. The restaurant is in a sweet space on East 11th Street, just west of Avenue C, where a parade of alternating Spanish and Italian words marches its way along the wall to the left as you walk in.

Matilda User Reviews - Citysearch
Tuscan Mexican, a new taste in town
11/05/2007 Posted by jtdiner
What a Great Place. Stopped by because of the sign out front that read “Prosecjitos” Wondered what it was all about. Went inside and was greeted instantly with warmth and kindness. The owner seemed to have know me forever. My guest and I were promptly seated, and served with this drink, called as the sign said outside. A classic Mojito, from Tuscany. I have to say, I think I like it better than the traditional mojito. Made with proseco and mint with all the other traits of a classic, it was brilliant. We went on to learn the space is a blend of Tuscan&Mexcian flavors. Wow, what a combination. The food was simple, TASTY, and very FRESH. We dined on Foccacia and Guacamole,(Seasoned with Basil & Tomato) Delicious Filet Mignon Tacos, Fresh salad of Arrugula, Cilantro, Jicama and Pineapple, the Nachos, with a flair, you just have to try, I am not giving away the secret here...though they are different & tasty. We enjoyed parpadelle with oxtail ragu. Not too much tomatoe, the ragu was amazing!! Finished the evening with a selection of sorbets all homemade fresh vanilla, spumoni and chocolate. I am not a chocolate fan though this sorbet was totally unexpected with hints of cinnamon, and a scampering of chili! Wow!! We also enjoyed olive oil orange cake with a tasty ganache layer in the center..just something simple to finish a VERY LOVELY meal. The owner was present and very Friendly, I guess her husband is the chef… he too came out to say hello and to see if we liked the food. I suspect our glazed look said it all, he seemed pleased!! Though the place may seem small, they deliver food that is amazing, and tasty, with just the kind of local feel you want in the village. Not pretentious, beautiful simple decor, everything was just delicious...I know I will return many times with others for the food, and the comfort of my two favorite cuisines, Tuscan & Mexican, both were delivered with style. Thank you for a wonderful Sunday Evening!!

Pros: Great Staff, attentive, not hovering. Delightful food!
Cons: Small space, may get crowded when it is busy

Walking Off the Big Apple
Friday, November 9, 2007
Prego y Gracias: Tosc-Mex Dining in Alphabet City
This past week I met friends for a festive birthday party at Matilda, the new Tosc-Mex place on E. 11th near Ave. C. This particular fusion is not a gimmicky trend but just the happy marriage of two chefs, one from Italy and one from Mexico. I enjoyed very much my bowl of homemade gnocchi with basil and cilantro pesto. The person seated next to me ordered the salmon with tequila, and it looked scrumptious, too. We all shared the appetizers, the highlight of the experience - guacamole served with chips and focaccia, bruschetta with a topping of Italian and Mexican ingredients, and some fruity pico de gallo. Matilda’s wine list is very nice.

New York (NY) Sun
A Happy Marriage
By PAUL ADAMS
February 20, 2008

A willingness to experiment is a fine thing in a chef, even if a few chefs, too eager to share their experiments’ indifferent results, sometimes give it a bad name. But without that inventive spirit, we’d be without a lot of good restaurants, including Matilda, which opened recently in the East Village.

Matilda is the creation of chef Esteban Molina and his wife Maristella Innocenti. The restaurant — named after their daughter — is a tribute to their partnership and a test of how comfortably his Mexican culinary heritage can meld with her Italian one. The menu, a macaronic patchwork of “Tosc-Mex” dishes such as prosciutto quesadillas and basil guacamole, reads like an amusingly misguided recipe for failure, but the fusion is pulled off with surprising finesse.
(...)
Matilda (647 E. 11th St., between avenues B and C, 212-777-3355).

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, February 21, 2008 • Permalink