Four stars: The Toast of Italy

30 June 2006
Four stars: The Toast of Italy

Chefs expand the definition of bruschetta, topping grilled bread with ingredients from the global pantry.

This article first appeared in the 1 May 2006 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).

R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website

By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor

Montaditos (above)
Del Toro, Chicago. Similar in approach to their Italian cousin, Spanish montaditos are Basque-style tapas "mounted" on crisp bread. Chef Andrew Zimmerman toasts baguette slices in the salamander and adorns them with marinated white anchovy, shaved avocado and olive oil, finishing each piece with a garnish of spring onion, chervil and lemon zest.

Bruschetta Trio

bruschetta-trio 100x100
bruschetta-trio 100x100

La Tavola Trattoria, Atlanta. The cuisine of Southern Italy shines at this neighborhood spot from Fifth Group Restaurants. Executive Chef Craig Richards' $5.95 bruschetta appetizer offers three interpretations. Topping individual slices of grilled baguette are diced tomatoes tossed with garlic and parsley, a purée of chicken livers and truffle-scented organic cannellini beans.

Tomato Bruschetta

tomato-bruschetta 100x100
tomato-bruschetta 100x100

The CrêpeVine Bistro & Wine Bar, Pasadena, Calif. Warm, generously spread chèvre lends tart French flair to a familiar presentation of finely diced Roma tomatoes, minced garlic, shallots and basil chiffonade tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar at this Parisian-accented eatery. Chef Dan Siegel brightens the plate with streaks of house-made parsley-basil oil.


bruschetta 100x100
bruschetta 100x100

NoRTH, multiple locations. A trio of diverse flavors and textures distinguishes the adaptation at this four-unit contemporary trattoria concept from Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Fox Restaurant Concepts. Lightly brushed with olive oil and grilled on both sides, thick-sliced ciabatta bread is layered with Crescenza cheese, grilled asparagus and prosciutto.

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