The York Dispatch restaurant reviewer Hanna dined sans Betty this week and invited a pair of substitute reviewers out to Tutoni's, 108 N. George St., York (885-5169 or www.tutonis.com).
Hanna: Betty went out of town this weekend, so I got her permission to get a substitute (I had to get her permission; Betty scares me). Peter and I, along with guest reviewers Natasha and Boris, tried the new restaurant Tutoni's in York City. As you will see, Boris and Natasha clearly have a greater command of the English language than I do. They are also much older than I am.
The atmosphere is very old world Italian. I am Italian and originally from Queens, and I felt like I was in Little Italy.
We ordered several appetizers so we could share. I ordered the cheese and fruit board, with hydroponic strawberries (yum!) and a variety of cheeses — some strong and some mild — and honeycomb that was sweet and so fresh.
I tried the arancini, which is a risotto and cheese ball, fried. The risotto was creamy. Despite being fried, it was not greasy or heavy. I also tried the meatball appetizer, which was good, but not like my mom's. The sauce did not have that sweet pork flavor I like, but Peter liked it.
For my entree I had the rigatoni bolognese. I grew up on rigatoni with meat sauce and I really enjoyed this dish, even though the sauce was not up to my mom's standards.
Peter ordered the lobster ravioli, which came with about nine large ravioli. He wanted to know where the rest of the ravioli were. The portion wasn't enough for him, but I've had ravioli at other Italian restaurants where you get only four or five. He was kind enough to share a tiny sliver with me, and I thought it was delicious. It was in a dark lobster bisque sauce that had a sweet, almost caramelized flavor.
After our meal we discussed whether to have dessert at Tutoni's or the Left Bank because Tutoni's had only two items on the dessert menu: sweet ricotta cheese with those amazing strawberries, or "miniatures," which were small mousse-like desserts of a variety of flavors. We decided on Tutoni's.
The waiter was under the impression we would each get one dessert. Yeah, that was not happening. We each had two or three. The flavors included cannoli, which didn't have the "gluey" consistency you find with some cannoli cream. I tried the blueberry flavor and salted caramel flavor (which was my favorite). All were light and sweet, but one was absolutely not enough.
Verdict: From the old world atmosphere to the beautiful presentation, fresh flavors, reasonable prices and large portions (except for those desserts!), I would absolutely go here again.
Boris: We walked into a beautiful room and were immediately introduced to a friendly and informative waiter. The appetizers we ordered arrived quickly on attractive plates, and the range of flavors presented didn't disappoint.
Just as we finished the appetizers, the entrees appeared. I was pleased with the presentation of the monkfish and gnocchi I had ordered. The subtle flavors of this fish were enhanced by the delicate sauce and carefully seasoned veggie spears that came with it. I was initially concerned the gnocchi's consistency would conflict with the meaty monkfish, but the little nuggets were delightfully light and airy, a surprisingly appropriate pairing.
The dessert offerings were intriguing. The selection of six delicious sounding concoctions served in tiny juice glasses satisfied my need for a sweet, tasty finish, though some (Hanna) may wish for more. I found the cannoli, deconstructed to fit in the container, to be spectacularly flavorful and very satisfying.
This tasty evening, along with an intriguing menu, guarantees my desire to return to Tutoni's soon.
Natasha: I was very impressed with the overall décor and background music of this new restaurant. I'm a sucker for jazz at Italian restaurants.
Our waiter gave us a quick overview of the restaurant's philosophy of farm to table offerings and brought our appetizers to the table. My choice was bruschetta served with a generous amount of garbanzo beans blended with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Very yummy.
My dining companions had equally interesting appetizers. Most notable was the cheese board served with a selection of small slices of local cheeses, hydroponic strawberries and fresh honey.
Entrees quickly followed. I ordered the manicotti. It's been years since this Italian from Jersey had manicotti that tasted so good. Delicate sheets of perfectly cooked homemade pasta wrapped around a light creamy goat cheese filling.
The tomato sauce was as it should be, neither too acidic nor sweet. The manicotti were surprisingly topped with a few paper-thin slices of preserved lemon-a nice twist. I reluctantly shared a bite with Boris. This dish, in my humble opinion, was to die for.
Our table greedily ordered every dessert on the menu. My favorite was a small glass of deliciously tart lemon custard. Yes, Hanna and I would have preferred larger dessert portions, but who wouldn't?
— Hanna and Betty are the alter egos of two York County women who love dining out. Want to recommend a restaurant for review? Email food editor Mel Barber at email@example.com with your suggestion.