Tocca Ferro Italian Chophouse serves fine dining

Suppose you are in the Anaheim/Orange County area and are looking for fine Italian cuisine. In that case, Tocca Ferro Italian Chophouse is a must. Frank and I had the pleasure of dining at Tocca Ferro Italian Chophouse at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort a few blocks from Disneyland.

Although they have only been open for a few weeks, Joshua Klindt and Adam Haverland run a top notch operation. From our experience – from Megan’s welcome at the host station to the incredible table service – you’d think Tocca Ferro had been open for months.

But instead, Klindt and Haverland had time to consider the restaurant because the Marriott business had previously delayed the June opening for months due to COVID-19.

Adam Haverland, Executive Chef of Tocca Ferro Italian Chophouse, presents a smoke-infused filet mignon. Photo by Rico Cassoni

“One of my most rewarding experiences was working under David Teig, Executive Chef of Starwood Hotels in Ponoma for the Sheraton Fairplex. The Sheraton has elevated farm-to-table cuisine with an organic farm from five acres that I helped cultivate.

Haverland, Tocca Ferro’s executive chef, has a rooftop garden that guests see for Tocca’s “seed-to-table” herbs and vegetables.

“We try to incorporate elements from the garden into every dish, whether it’s a garnish, herb or main component, and we’ll change the menu as the seasons change,” Haverland said. .

The menu created by Haverland is a representation of all Italian regions from north to south.

For the daring, I suggest starting with Frank’s choice, The Godfather Old Fashioned. The classic cocktail includes Woodford Reserve bourbon, bitters and a smoky infusion with your choice of cherry, maple, oak or hickory shavings. I chose Tenuta di Nozzole Tuscan Chardonnay with great floral tones, freshness and minerality.

We left our starter choices in the talented hands of Haverland, and I’m glad we did. The Tocca meatball appetizer was perfectly firm, served in a San Marzano sauce and topped with fresh herbs from the garden and a piece of grilled focaccia. This blend of flavors let me know this would be an exceptional dining experience. Next, the Squid Ink Spaghetti & Clams rendered with chorizo.

The spices and flavor of the pork blended perfectly into the freshly made pasta and clams, which compelled us to switch to red wine. We chose the Michele Chiarlo il Principe, a dry nebbiolo from Piedmont that cleansed our palates with every sip. The wine was a perfect companion to the rest of the parade of dishes Haverland had us try.

Then come the tastings of the following dishes: ricotta gnocchi carbonara, fettuccini al tartufo and pappardelle e vitello. The traditional carbonara cream sauce, infused with Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, contained wild mushrooms, pancetta and English peas. The fettuccini were cooked in truffle butter with asparagus ribbons and topped with shaved truffles at the table.

The fettuccini al tartufo dish was my favorite pasta preparation of the night. Still, it was tough competition between the pasta plates. Finally, the pappardelle dish featured a slow roasted veal stew with crispy garlic and Grana Padano cheese.

Along with these and other pasta and pizza dishes, there’s a reason why Chophouse is named after the restaurant. Haverland presented a grass-fed tenderloin in a puffy dome of applewood smoke drenched in the carefully prepared tenderloin. Tocca Ferro also offers a 21-day dry-aged sirloin, veal osso bucco with Milanese risotto, rack of lamb, bone-in pork chop, half chicken, tiger prawns, Scottish salmon and Chilean seabass.

Be sure to leave room for dessert. I recommend the crème brûlée with vanilla bean, topped with a macaroon and whipped cream, or a panna cotta with a touch of limoncello and garnished with a pine nut crisp and blueberry marmalade .

Thank you, Chef Adam, Joshua, and the Tocca Ferro team, for this must-do Orange County experience that I highly recommend! More info at toccaferrochophouse.com.

wine bytes

Sal Ercolano, owner of Flora Bar and Kitchen in San Diego’s Carmel Valley, is hosting a five-course Torres Family Wine Dinner at 6 p.m. Aug. 24-25. The main course includes braised oxtail in a red wine reduction with polenta with Torres Properties Pago Del Cielo Ribera Del Duero Celeste Reserva Tempranillo. The cost is $85 per person plus tax/tip. RSVP to 858.461.0622.

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Rico Cassoni is executive producer of Taste of Wine & Food. Cassoni and founder and advisor Frank Mangio, a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator, are two of the top reviewers on the web. See their reviews at www.tasteofwineandfood.com. Contact them at [email protected]

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