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Inside a restaurant with wooden floors, comfortable light and dark green chairs with tables on one side, a bar with bar stools on the other. The kitchen can be seen in the distance.
Da Toscano is located in the former La Perla space that Toscano ran for several years
Alex Staniloff/Eater

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Seasoned Regional Italian Cooking Vets Return to NYC With Da Toscano

This is Michael and Caitlin Toscano’s second restaurant after Charleston’s Le Farfalle

Michael Toscano — an acclaimed chef known for his work at shuttered Italian restaurant Perla — has returned to NYC to open a new Italian restaurant in the original Perla space at 24 Minetta lane, at Sixth Avenue called Da Toscano. The Italian restaurant, a partnership with his wife Caitlin, is an amalgam of his cooking from his days at Perla, which gained two stars in the Times, and the couple’s Charleston, S.C. restaurant Le Farfalle, which has also been well-received.

It’s been a five-year absence for the duo, who both spent years working in New York, Michael at Perla and Babbo and Caitlin at Craft, Per Se, and Del Posto. Michael left NYC at the top of the game in 2015 to raise a family in Charleston, and he’s back five years later, to get back into the thick of things.

“The ability to come back and execute our restaurant dreams on the New York platform is something we’ve always wanted to do,” Michael says.

Italian regional cooking will take center stage in dishes like the lamb neck-stuffed agnolotti, a type of ravioli from the Piedmont region of Italy, or tajarin, another dish from the same region which features thin, ribbon-like pasta similar to tagliatelle and is served with vermouth, duck ham and crackling at Da Toscano. A pork chop comes wrapped in crispy pork belly and spiced with pollen collected from wild fennel plants and rosemary.

Quinto quarto — a rotating selection of three dishes that have different cuts of offal meats — is a nod to Michael’s time at Perla, while octopus carpaccio, one of the signature dishes at La Farfalle, is recreated here.

a blue checkered plate with thinly sliced octopus, blistered tomatoes and pieces of thick toast
Octopus Carpaccio: slow roasted cherry tomatoes, pickled eggplant, Fett’unta
A white plate with toasted baguette slices, pieces of anchovy, a green sauce, white beans. A wine glass stands next to the plate as does a silver knife
Marinated Anchovies: Tuna confit, Cannellini beans, Taleggio butter, salsa verde, baguette
A blue patterned plate with pieces of shaved cheese, walnuts, endive leaves, and a glass of wine next to the plate
Little Gems: endive, walnut pesto, aged provolone, sherry vinaigrette

The drink menu is vast, and here too there is a focus on Italian wines and cocktails. The latter includes concoctions like the Cynar(k) and Stormy, an Italian take on the dark and story cocktail that comes with ginger beer and the bittersweet Italian liqueur cynar; and Sunset in Sicily, a creation with a Piedmont wine called Cocchi Americano Bianco, grapefruit juice, and Lambrusco.

The process of creating Da Toscano also involved revamping the Perla space: The rustic wood ceiling is now blue, and marble-topped tables, velvet chairs, and green leather banquettes appear throughout the space. In all, Da Toscano seats 62 people between the main dining room, a chef’s counter, and the bar.

“This is definitely very much my wife and I’s aesthetic,” says Michael. “It’s very elegant, but comfortable, inviting, and cozy at the same time.”

A marble counter in the front, straw-backed chairs against it, silver orbs on the marble counter, bar shelves with several liquor bottles on it behind it all.
The restaurant will offer several Italian cocktails
A green banquet, a wooden table in between with place setting for six people, two blue velvet chairs in front, an obscured painting hangs in the back
The restaurant seats a total of 62 people at tables and at the bar

Caitlin will be running the day-to-day operations at their restaurant in Charleston, while Michael will oversee operations in New York, jetting between the two on a regular basis.

A man and a woman are smiling and standing next to each other in the photo. The man is dressed in a blue shirt and the woman in a checkered black and white shirt. Both are wearing glasses
Michael and Caitlin Toscano

It’s a highly anticipated return. Michael got his start in the food world at the age of 16 working as a dishwasher at Houston restaurant Willow Creek Golf Club, and gradually made his way up the ranks. By 21, he was working as the sous chef at Babbo, and then went on to work as the executive chef at Manzo.

But he cemented his status as a star — chef Jeremiah Tower described him as a rising star who had already risen — after opening Perla with Gabriel Stulman’s Happy Cooking Hospitality in 2012. He quickly made himself indispensable at Happy Cooking also taking over chef duties at now-shuttered Chelsea French bistro Montmartre and the West Village seafood destination Jeffrey’s Grocery. He was arguably one of the biggest stars at Happy Cooking when he and Caitlin departed for Charleston in 2015 to raise their two children.

Caitlin too has has top-notch NYC restaurant experience having worked front of house at places like Per Se, De Posto, and Craft. The couple opened Le Farfalle together in 2016.

In New York, Da Toscano opens Wednesday, and will be open for dinner everyday from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m., and for lunch — which will start in a few weeks and offer a $36 three-course pre-fixe — Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Blue dining chairs, marble tables, green banquets, modernist painting hanging in the back
The couple commissioned paintings from their friend Isaac Mann
A blue painted sealing, bar seating on either side of the space at marble tables, wooden flooring
The restaurant has many different seating arrangements
A red owning indicates the entrance to a restaurant with double wooden doors and long glass windows
Da Toscano is the second restaurant for the couple following their Charleston outing Le Farfalle

Da Toscano

24 Minetta Lane, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 606-4054 Visit Website
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