14 North Street – Hingham, MA

Tosca on the Phantom Gourmet

Tosca Supports Dinnerfest

Dinnerfest was born out of a group of men, stigmatized by HIV/AIDS in the early days of the epidemic, who took turns hosting the group every Monday night to talk about the disease, life, love and loss over a meal together. The group eventually outgrew the confines of their homes and began meeting at Boston area restaurants on Monday nights. To this day, the Boston Living Center honors the Monday night tradition with a volunteer-run sit-down dinner where hundreds of men and women still enjoy a sense of community over a nutritious meal together.

Tosca voted Best of Boston

Tosca was voted Best of Boston 2013

Chef Brian on All Things Food

  • As heard on WATD’s All Things Food
  • with guests, Chef Brian Hennebury, Brian Barry and Jim Hodgdon
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    Farm to Table

    Executive Chef, Brian Hennebury cooking up on Turkey Hill this past weekend. Tosca supports The Trustees of the Reservation and all of their great work.

    Errol A. Joseph, Wine Sommelier at Tosca

    As Seen on Style Boston, August 2011
    Errol Joseph, Wine Sommelier at Tosca restaurant in Hingham, gives us this week’s “Perfect Pairing.” Find out how he complements the dark fruit characteristics and rich tannins of Napa Valley’s Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. À votre santé!

    Chef Kevin Long – CBS Early Show

    Sure-bet delicious dinner, on a shoestring Chef Kevin Long, no long-shot, tries to make 3-course, 5-spice chicken meal for 4 on $40 budget

    Mignonette with a twist, or squeeze, at Tosca in Hingham

    December 22, 2010
    By Joan Wilder
    Wondering what would be special for holiday eats, I called one of my favorite chefs, Kevin Long, to see what he was doing.

    “I thought oysters with a pomegranate mignonette would be kind of fun,” said Long, when I walked into Tosca in Hingham one afternoon last week. The chef stood all in white behind the marble bar in the open kitchen presiding over a countertop covered with colorful foods. Behind him, smoke and steam wafted up as several cooks prepped the evening meal.

    At first I thought there wouldn’t be much to a raw oyster dish to share with readers.

    But, I was wrong.

    Long treats each ingredient with such care that even a simple preparation becomes an education (and an inspiration) in good cooking. Mention something about food, and he’s all over it: a fount of enthusiasm and ideas about everything that has anything to do with food.

    Turns out a mignonette is a simple sauce typically served with oysters. Long decided to flavor this one with pomegranate because the fruit is available this time of year, delicious, and festive.

    ingredients mignonette.JPGBefore my arrival, he’d prepped all the ingredients in pretty little bowls (left), along with a few ounces of deep crimson pomegranate juice.

    Of course the chef hadn’t used a juicer, he’d mashed the seeds with a mojito mallet (actually called a muddler), then pressed the juice from the mash in a strainer.

    As Long assembled the ingredients in a small stainless bowl, I gathered some of his comments.

    Four tablespoons of ice water: “Ice water is an integral part of my world.”

    Two tablespoons plain white vinegar: “You want the taste of the juice to shine.”

    One tablespoon fresh minced thyme: “Buy one package for the holidays and use the rest for stuffing.”

    A couple pinches of cracked black pepper: “You crack it with the side of a knife.” (“Really?” “Yup.”)

    One tablespoon chopped shallots: “We dice them then run them under cold water for 20 minutes through a colander. We do it with all onions – the whole allium family. It takes away the mucilaginous film and makes them taste cleaner, brighter, better.”

    One tablespoon raw brown sugar: “I prefer demerara, it’s a little more molasses-y.” But he didn’t have any.

    Three tablespoons pomegranate juice: “I’d have 10 guys squeezing pomegranates all day for the juice if I could, it’s so delicious.”

    After swishing the sauce all together, he let it sit.

    Long has his way of handling oysters, too. He keeps them iced down in the sink for at least an hour prior to shucking to make them easier to open. He uses the sink so the melted ice can drain.

    “You don’t want to drowned them, they’re alive,” he says.

    After shucking, he keeps them on ice in a perforated pan, so they don’t get all wet.

    We talk for five minutes about ways a home cook who doesn’t have a perforated hotel pan could do this.

    “If there’s snow on the ground, you could lay them in a show bank,” he says, pretty seriously. (I’m imagining little structures I could build around them for protection from animals out there on the snow.)

    The chef shucks an oyster so easily it doesn’t seem like a real oyster. He says the key is a razor sharp knife. Holding the bivalve in a folded kitchen towel, he tucks his blade into the little notch at the hinge end and slides it in and around one side, then the other, and lifts off the top. But, that isn’t the end of it.

    Before severing the muscle that attaches the bivalve to the bottom shell, he swishes it in an ice bath.

    “I tell people I wash them, and they go crazy, but it really works,” says Long, opening another oyster and rubbing his finger along the edge of the shell to show me all the grit that comes away.

    “I insist that you bathe them.”

    He then cuts the muscle and lifts the meat free to reveal a pool of oyster liquor beneath.

    Setting them on ice, he spoons some pomegranate mignonette over each and sprinkles a few ruby-colored seeds on top, and we each have one.

    They’re beautiful: briny, sweet, savory, exciting mouthfuls.

    As we sit in the rich atmosphere of the magnificent, bustling restaurant for a few last minutes before Long has to hustle back to work, somehow the idea of left over shucked oysters comes up.

    “Stuff and bake them,” he says. “I’m obsessed with the lost classic New England dishes like seafood newburg, lobster thermidor, anything with bread stuffing drenched in Dry Sack sherry. I love them!”

    It’s tempting to conclude that attention to detail makes a great chef.

    But really, what makes a great chef is attention to everything involved in the procuring, handling, preparing, and serving of food.

    Whether it’s chasing down locally grown produce, dedicating a cooler to dry aging meats, or running water over shallots for 20 minutes, obsessive, passionate love and focus on food is at the heart of a chef’s talent.

    And Kevin Long’s got it bad.

    ‘Putting on the Ritz’ in Hingham

    Boston Globe
    by Joan Wilder
    Tosca’s interior is a large, grand space, operatic in scale. Its 20-foot interior height rises to a raw cedar-strutted ceiling that creates a space that birds could fly through. Tosca’s interior is a large, grand space, operatic in scale. Its 20-foot interior height rises to a raw cedar-strutted ceiling that creates a space that birds could fly through.

    If it seemed quiet in Hingham last Saturday night, I can tell you why: Everybody was at Tosca, either dining happily, milling around the bar, or lined up 30 deep waiting for a table.

    Everybody, that is, except executive chef Kevin Long, who is splitting his time between Hingham and Connecticut, where he’s also the executive chef at Shrine Asian Kitchen in the MGM Grand Hotel at Foxwoods Resort and Casino.

    We hadn’t been to Tosca since Long adopted this out-of-town baby 18 months ago, and wanted to see how things were faring without his constant presence.

    So I put on a little lipstick and slipped into the dining room at 5:30 p.m., before things got too crowded.

    Tosca is one gorgeous restaurant that feels as though it’s in a big city – Boston, New York, Berlin, Chicago.

    It’s a voluptuous space, operatic in scale: If it were a woman it’d be a curvy Marilyn Monroe, not a size-0 supermodel. Its 20-foot interior height rises to a raw cedar-strutted ceiling that creates a space that birds could fly through. Exposed brick walls are tall enough to make an enormous tapestry look right-sized and a large mural of an opera stage, near the open kitchen, blends faux curtains with real ones.

    Most of the food here, which is now a joint effort between Long and his longtime collaborator and now cochef Brian Hennebury, is like the space: rich and substantial, bold and generous, fully seasoned and carefully layered with flavor.

    Success supports success, and with owner Ed Kane’s Eat Well Inc. and Big Night Entertainment companies behind them, Long and Hennebury can afford to seek out high-quality ingredients.

    Their chicken, from Freebird, is free-range and hormone- and antibiotic-free. Creekstone Farms, where they buy their meats, supports humane animal handling practices, uses vegetarian feed, and bans antibiotic use. The restaurant is also able to serve 25 items on its extensive wine list by the glass by using a preserving system (Cruvinet) that keeps the wine fresh.

    OK, so dinner.

    Oh my, the white shrimp Apulian pastella batter appetizer ($12) – these are not mere fried shrimp or tempura. And they are a bit goofy looking, all puffed up and featureless golden crescents, but any doubts about them vanish as you bite through the crispy outside. The batter that creates the sensation of creaminess upon contact is made with soda water and flour, Long later told me. Delivering on New Englanders’ love of classic tartar sauce, the kitchen sided these gems with an excellent caper berry version.

    The poor, totally delicious, braised duck fettuccine with handmade noodles ($11 small size, $13 regular) suffered slightly by being served at the same time as the shrimp, thus having to compete with its fried allure. But people cannot live on shrimp alone. So once the painful task of putting down the puffed-up wonders was done, the fettuccine rose center stage and was well loved.

    I could have left very satisfied at that point (fat chance) but not so satisfied that I couldn’t fall for a great, paper thin, brick-oven classic margherita pizza ($11). It was served on a rustic wooden pizza tray with a chiffonade of fresh basil on top that was distinctly flavorful, not merely decorative.

    Oh, did I mention the little bowl of olive oil our server poured for us upon arrival and the seriously terrific Italian bread that came with it?

    The crispy flattened half-chicken under a brick with Marsala glaze, polenta, and oyster mushrooms ($23) had the great chicken taste that is the touchstone of my culinary life. It was as satisfying and comforting as a mother in the kitchen. And I adored (and will copy) that the chicken was topped with the contrasting bright flavors of a watercress salad distinctly dressed with shallot, sherry vinegar, and crème fraise. A side of broccolini tasted of too much brick oven, and our server took it off the bill at our mere mention of it.

    The herb-roasted salmon with pesto-steamed mussels ($25) was so, so good. The salmon lay over a smattering of mussel shells, half submerged in a broth of the mussel liquor turned light green with pesto, garlic, and pinot grigio.

    Dessert was apple crostata ($8) made out of autumn itself, topped with a homemade ice cream that was like frozen sunshine.

    I walked out – my lipstick well worn off – carrying leftovers through hordes of beautiful people, sated silly with stupefied satisfaction.
    © Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

    TASTE & TELL: Tosca’s food is second to none

    The Patriot Ledger
    Posted Jul 01, 2009 @ 06:00 AM

    HINGHAM — What recession? Have you been to Tosca lately? It’s not the first busy Saturday night we’ve run into lately. We recently struck out in Cambridge, trying three different restaurants for a same-day reservation.
    So, my theory is pretty simple: Serve good food and they will come. Good is an understatement at this Italian-inspired Hingham eatery. Amazing is more like it.

    It doesn’t take an expert to know that Tosca has stood the test of time (opening in 1993) for a reason: the food.

    Nothing we ate here seemed complicated. Then again, Beethoven made playing the harpsichord look simple, too. From the boar Bolognese to the Greek-inspired salad, we were wowed by Tosca’s food. Here’s a sampling of what we had:

    Corn risotto ($11): Who would have thought that starch on starch would be a good idea? Thankfully, Tosca. Don’t let the menu description of “velvety corn puree” fool you. This dish is chock-full of corn chunks. With a few spices and the rich creamy rice, you never forget with every bite that you’re eating perhaps the best version of corn on the cob ever.

    Lobster pasta ($15): I have only two complaints at Tosca. One, our waitress took my wine glass with a sip still left. Two, I had to request a spoon to make sure I got every last drop of the buttery broth in this pasta dish. (Of course, the second isn’t really a complaint.)

    Pan-seared scallops ($26): When I look back at this dish, I’m amazed at how much I loved it. I adore sauces, bold spices and crazy combos. Yet, these juicy, perfect scallops with little seasoning and a dose of crunchy pancetta served with snap peas and mashed potatoes couldn’t have made for a more perfect dinner.

    Lamb tasting ($29.50): Five cuts of lamb, a little smoky from their time in the wood-burning oven, made me think God created fire just so we can cook lamb on it. I may be wrong, but I think this meat was seasoned only with salt and pepper. And that’s not a complaint. Some of the cuts fell right off the bone. All of them melted in my mouth.

    Three-milk cake ($8): To cover this in a rich mixed-berry compote would have been enough. But then they added a scoop of butter pecan ice cream. Me? I would have added a scoop of vanilla. But that’s where I would have been wrong.

    You don’t have to break the bank here. The most expensive entrée on the regular menu is $30. Of course, when you order pre-dinner drinks, appetizers, pasta, main entrée, dessert and after-dinner drinks, you may find yourself with a $192 bill for two, plus tip, as we did. But you’ll also find yourself with no regrets. (OK, I have one regret: that we didn’t order that goat cheese and sausage pizza for takeout for breakfast.)

    Sure, Tosca is a cool spot. From the building’s decor of exposed brick to the impeccable service, this place shines. And the people-watching is fabulous.

    But at the risk of repetition, I’ll say: You come to Tosca for the eats.

    “Taste & Tell” is written after anonymous visits to area restaurants by Patriot Ledger food critics Christine Ordway, Mimi Claffey and Jen Wagner