Lunch’er Chris Reports: Get the Extra Sauce at Tuscany Catering

It’s been awhile since we checked out Tuscany Catering on 55th btw. 5+6th.  Lunch’er Chris stopped by recently and filed this report…

It’s no secret that midtown is lacking in the pizza category. However, I find this issue to reflect a greater problem – the lack of affordable, authentic Italian options as a whole. Without an abundance of quality pizza joints, midtown misses out on the variety of Italian dishes that often get served alongside the pizza. Luckily, we have Tuscany, which has proven itself worthy time and time again.

Hidden next to a parking garage, and lacking any sit-down area at all, this place seems to rely on catered events for the majority of its business. Since ML first reviewed Tuscany, prices have gone up a bit. Sandwiches are mostly in the $8 range and hot entrees tend to be a little bit more. For my lunch the other day I went with a safe choice of chicken parm and ziti, which came out to $9.80 after tax. While on the high end of the ML budget, I definitely felt like I got my money’s worth.

The ziti and the chicken come from a steam table, already servable by most people’s standards, but the guy behind the counter takes an extra step in preparing the dish. He slices up a generous amount of chicken cutlet, pours it over the ziti with some marinara, and sprinkles cheese on top before placing the whole thing in the oven for a few minutes. The oven treatment allows all of the sauce and cheese to seep through the pasta and blend together, ensuring an evenly heated and flavorful meal. Before handing the food over, he’ll ask if you’d like more sauce on top (the answer is yes).

The end result is a hot, melty platter of deliciousness, served with some Italian bread on the side for good measure. The chicken to ziti ratio is fairly generous and everything tastes fresh and non-steam- table-like. The chicken cutlet is lightly fried, juicy and thick, but not too heavy. The ziti has a nice variety of textures, with varying amounts of sauce and cheese in each bite, which I liked.

Perhaps the biggest selling point is the reasonably huge portion size. It’s not more food than I can eat in one sitting, but it’s enough food that I’d regret it if I did. Someone with a normal appetite can easily make two meals out of this.

My co-worker was kind enough to let me photograph her order from the pasta menu, the orecchiette with sliced grilled chicken. Items from the pasta menu are made to order in the back kitchen and are generally priced a bit higher ($10.95 before tax for this one). Although my co-worker agreed the size of the dish was plenty, it was maybe less plenty than my chicken parm.

All in all, I don’t really have any disappointments with Tuscany. I know it now as a reliably tasty Italian option with good value for the money. I look forward to exploring some of the more adventurous menu items in the future!

Tuscany Catering, 61 W. 55th St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-582-4421


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