If there’s any truth to the Italian proverb that one does not age while seated for a meal, then Sophia Loren is living proof. At 76, the woman known the world over as the Italian Marilyn Monroe credits her killer curves to one lifelong beauty secret: pasta.
“Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti,” Loren once said.
We put the lady to the test by seating ourselves for a meal at Tuscany Italian Restaurant in Port Arthur. After trying the spaghetti, lasagna, chicken Tuscany and the linguini Frutti de Maro, we left knowing one thing for certain: We did not age a bit while seated for our meal at Tuscany.
“I’m proud of everything; everything is good,” said owner Frankie Barezi. “I have very good customers; they are very good people. I love good people.”
Barezi’s good customers seem to love him right back — both Tuscany and his Beaumont restaurant, Frankie’s Authentic Italian Grill, serve the family recipes from Barezi’s Italian grandmother. But while Frankie’s has somewhat of a Venice theme with gondolas, dim lighting and a brand new bar, Tuscany offers more of an Italian countryside atmosphere.
“We love Tuscany,” Barezi raved of the rural region in central Italy. “It’s just beautiful — it’s all countryside and vineyards, and it’s just beautiful.”
All along the walls inside Tuscany are beautiful images of the Tuscan countryside. The Tuscany menu is also inspired by the region’s cuisine, with Tuscan simplicity and featured ingredients bread, cheese, vegetables and mushrooms.
“We cook everything from scratch,” said Barezi. “Everything is fresh and we have good quality because we buy good ingredients — good cheese, fresh meat. It’s important. You have to have consistency in the quality of the food, so we don’t buy cheap no matter what.”
A signature item particularly popular among the pasta lovers is the chicken Tuscany — chicken breast smothered in sautéed fresh garlic, basil, artichoke hearts, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes in a pink sauce over angel hair pasta.
“Everything is made to order, and this is a good thing because we can do anything, really. Let’s say somebody wants to say, ‘Hey, I need Chicken Venito but I just want marinara sauce,’” Barezi offered, referring to a classic dish on the menu featuring chicken breast topped with mushrooms, onions and crushed red peppers in a pink sauce over ziti pasta. “So, we don’t use cream. I mean, we can change or switch anything. It’s no problem to do that.”
Of course, the mystery pink sauce to which he refers is one of the tastiest blends — marinara sauce mixed with alfredo sauce is the perfect combination for creamy flavor. You may be swapping out your standard marinara for the pink sauce in your lasagna, ziti and manicotti.
If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll definitely enjoy the towering Tuscany pasta dish known as linguini Frutti de Maro: salmon, scallops, mussels, clams and crab legs dressed in a white wine and marinara sauce blend over linguini pasta.
Just like Sophia Loren, you can see that these Tuscany dishes are very easy on the eyes. We insist that you spend some ageless time at Tuscany with friends, family and maybe a glass of Tuscan Chianti, and see what pasta does for you.
After all, it seems to have worked wonders on Sophia.