And it wasn’t, not since NYC’s April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman (the Spotted Pig, the Breslin) came west to bring it back. The new Tosca Café opens tomorrow. Here’s what’s changed, and what hasn’t.
Then: You might’ve spotted Willie Brown, Bono and Sean Penn in a red vinyl booth, if they weren’t holed up in the private room at the back.
Now: The booths are now red leather, and the back room is a private dining room. So same deal, probably, but with food.
Then: The owner, Jeannette, used the kitchen for office space.
Now: Uh, see above re: Bloomfield/Friedman. There’s now a host stand past the bar. There’s now housemade pasta, oxtail terrine and secret meatballs till 2am. No bar was ever made worse with secret meatballs.
Then: Milk, Ghirardelli chocolate and a shot of brandy: that was a “house cappuccino.”
Now: Milk, Dandelion chocolate and a shot of better brandy: that’s the new House Cappuccino.
Then: The wine was non-ironic Chianti, served in straw-covered bottles.
Now: Lots more stuff from Tuscany. And a rare Chianti from Monteraponi, specially wrapped in a straw-covered bottle before it’s shipped stateside. It’s only right.