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Bites: Tremont Trek Home Tour 

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It's immediately clear upon arrival that the Hamptons lacks a certain level of panache. Built in the late 1960s, the four-building apartment complex is home to men and women of a certain age, most of whom winter well south of Cincinnati. But that is precisely where restaurateur Carl Quagliata opted to reopen his popular Italian restaurant Tuscany (27040 Cedar Rd., 216.591.1760), which for a decade helped anchor the west end of ritzy Eton Chagrin Boulevard. Quagliata must know something; the restaurant has been mobbed since opening two weeks ago (triggering the expected service snafus). Reservations, I'm sorry to report, are taken only for parties of six or more. Despite the unfashionable backdrop, Tuscany is a sharp-dressed little bistro. Tucked into the central administration building, the restaurant seats approximately 65, more when you include the 10-seat bar and alfresco patio. Like the much-loved original, this one offers an all-day menu of affordable Italian dishes for enjoyment on premises or as take-away. Meals begin with warm, crusty bread and olive oil. Starters include sausage-stuffed banana peppers ($8.50), veal-stuffed arancini ($7.95) and a smoked salmon carpaccio ($10.95), which is one of many resurrected dishes. The pizza bianco, or white pizza ($8.50), is a deliciously cheesy thin-crust pie perfumed with garlic and black pepper. A refreshing Italian tuna salad studded with capers is the star of a ciabatta sandwich ($8.25), piled with fresh mozzarella, lettuce and tomato. (These panini are not the pressed, toasted variety.) A side of pasta marinara is included. In the vegetable lasagna ($9.25), grilled zucchini and squash take the place of meat, and we don't even miss it. Pastas include a fresh side salad, over-dressed with balsamic vinegar like old times. Tuscany always excelled at the basics, turning quality ingredients into appealing dishes priced a little lower than one would expect. It's good to see that little but the address has changed.

While the homes are certainly a treat to inspect, it's the food within that attracts most to the Tremont Trek Home Tour. This year's lookie-loo to-do runs from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20. The popular event, which benefits Tremont West Development Corporation, includes the home tour, plus pre- and post-trek bashes. This year's chow will be provided by Pete Joyce (Bistro on Lincoln Park), Zack Bruell (Parallax), Matt Harlan (Lolita), Ricardo Sandoval (Fat Cats, Lava Lounge), Sunny Ting (Ty Fun Thai Bistro) and Rocco Whalen (Fahrenheit). Tickets are $100. Call 216.575.0920.

dining@clevescene.com

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