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Wed May 1, 2013
Review: Tuscan Slice, a wood-fire kitchen
Greenville has a new purveyor of pizza and many other Italian bistro dishes. Tuscan Slice opened in late April at the corner of Wesley St. and Mustang Crossing, a quarter-mile south of Interstate 30.
This operation has the makings of an upscale alternative to typical local cuisine. The brothers Evola, originally from New York City, have brought their passion for wood-fired pizza and authentic flavors through Waxahachie and now to Greenville.
The design elements are inviting – from the signage on the façade (which includes an actual, roaring fire) to the welcoming mix of large standard tables and bar-height gathering spots. There, guests enjoy their beer, wine and soft drinks and nibble on delicately seasoned flatbread while they await their orders from the kitchen.
The dinner menu, presented on a thin plank of wood, appears to beg the reader to try tempting appetizer selections, many of which include seafood options, with as many salad choices. You can find the standard Italian options (spaghetti and meatballs, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, alfredo, etc.) alongside other, trendier farm-to-table selections that might include an organic roasted half-chicken with a side of quinoa and asparagus. A heartier appetite might go for the pork chops or the market-priced “mixed grill.”
Upon our 6 p.m. arrival midweek, we found that locals are still learning about this place. A nearly full parking lot and a short wait were no sweat for the opportunity to try some new cuisine in Greenville. We were meeting friends, and a table was already secure. We took our 20-month-old daughter because, well, if the place can’t handle her, it probably won’t get to handle us much, either.
We were promptly seated and greeted by a small team of staff. After a short wait to rustle up a high chair, drink orders were taken and delivered almost immediately, alongside a too-small basket of those addicting flatbread morsels – at least for our five-person party.
Orders for our table included chicken parm, eggplant parm, and a “Lady Margherita” 8-inch pie with pineapples, along with my chicken saltimbocca. Two of us ordered the $2 add-on dinner salad. Fresh romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes and croutons made up for the wrong dressing on one of the salads. The kid’s menu entree of penne and meat sauce made it to the table before even the salads – which might throw most diners’ evenings off a bit. In our case, the little one needs the extra time to eat, so things worked out.
Main courses arrived hot and fresh, within about 15 minutes of ordering. While the other dishes looked great (even with the dark outer crust that often comes with wood-fired pizzas,) I can really only tell you about how lost I was in the flavors of my saltimbocca. Breaded chicken slices along with basil and mozzarella, nestled over angel hair pasta, then smothered with a rich demi-glaze that was full of sautéed mushrooms, red onions, grape tomatoes and capicola ham. There was nothing about this dish that I didn’t love, as I appreciate when the inspiration for my meal comes from far-off places. And I didn’t have to touch the salt or pepper.
My visit was marked by great food, great conversation, maybe a few too many tables squeezed a little too tightly together, and décor that seems focused on the customer experience. I can’t wait to try the seafood and farm-to-table options during my next visit, which can’t come soon enough.
Tuscan Slice is open Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Full bar. Standard entrees run $12-$20.