tuscany at jw marriott
For free monthly updates, event invitations and exclusive deals, sign-up for our newsletter!
Enter a keyword such as “Italian” or “Hamburgers” or type the name of the restaurant below.
Tuscany at JW Marriott
December, 2010, Page 150
Photos by David Moore
The JW Marriott’s in-house Italian restaurant offers
sophisticated plates, warm service and a pleasant setting.
Our amiable server asks where we’re from, and when I answer, “here,” she seems amazed, saying she rarely has local guests. That’s a shame, because Tuscany at the JW Marriott is a hidden treasure. Last spring the restaurant turned from high-end into a more relaxed, inexpensive experience with a roster of, for lack of a better term, family-style Italian tapas. It’s casual, snacky food that’s actually quite sophisticated.
There is a bit of a disconnect between the laid-back culinary and service styles and the blandly luxurious series of rooms. But rich autumnal colors, stone, wood and attractive views of the resort grounds offer a reassuring sense of comfort.
The crew is straightforward and welcoming, trained to explain the interactive menu, starting with the antipasti bar. It consists of grilled bread and a choice of one salumi ($12) or one cheese ($9) with three condiments/accompaniments. I ordered both a meat and a cheese for a surcharge of $5, and it was more than enough for two. Excellent ciabatta, creamy, sweet gorgonzola and silky prosciutto meshed nicely with pleasantly musky, fermented garlic spread, whole grain mustard, marinated olives and beefsteak-like “heirloom” tomatoes.
Among the imaginative small plates, we couldn’t get enough of the earthy polenta and mushrooms swirled with rich fontina cheese and dolloped with intense Madeira, mushroom and beef jus ($11). No slouches either were mussels swimming in sweet fennel-spiked broth or scallops with crisp pork belly and smoked paprika (both $13).
Pastas come in individual or sharing sizes. Don’t miss delightful pillowy lemon gnocchi with chunks of crabmeat and an intriguing crunch of breadcrumb ($14/$18), and a deeply vegetal risotto tanged with goat cheese and fresh oregano ($14/$18).
The low-end price ($25) of the bistecca fiorentina entrée reflects the fact this isn’t the traditional porterhouse or T-bone, much less from fabled Chianina cattle. However, a generously portioned rib cap packed with meaty flavor (if just a bit chewy) is a satisfactory substitution. Robust pork osso buco ($24) had all the right qualities: fall-off-the-bone tenderness and rich, long-braised flavor.
The pizza’s ($15) somewhat cracker-like crust and no cushion of mozzarella didn’t thrill, but chunky roasted tomato sauce with high-quality sausage ultimately won me over. The wine list has some very good and relatively reasonable Italian selections by the glass.
Some desserts, like three varieties of “pizookie” (warm cookies cooked like deep-dish pizzas; $10 for two) are kid-friendly. Others are strictly for grownups, like Berries in Heaven, a limoncello-kissed take on zabaglione, and the fritter-like zeppole (both $6).
Tuscany cuts a bella figura, and locals looking for exciting, robust flavors, sophisticated execution, pleasant surroundings and a staff that’s willing to please can do no better.
“Berries in Heaven”
Tuscany at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort
: 5360 E. Marriott Dr., Phoenix
: 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.,
Tuesday through Sunday
: Antipasti bar (cheese $9, meat $12); polenta with
mushrooms ($11), gnocchi with crab ($14), mussels ($13), scallops ($13), bistecca ($25), osso buco ($24), sausage pizza ($15), zeppole ($6), Berries in Heaven ($6)
© 2007 Copyright Phoenix Magazine 15169 N. Scottsdale Road Suite C310 Scottsdale Arizona 85254
Travel & Outdoors
Best of The Valley
Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine
Advertise With Us
Web Site Design