Tutoni's in York serves artfully-crafted Mediterranean dishes, made of local ingredients
Location: 108 N. George St., York
Jess' pick: Vegetable lasagna, $16, and miniature dessert, Rocky Road, $2.50
Hours: Lunch: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Price range: $2.50, miniature dessert; $28, lamb entree
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: No
Details: Call 717-885-5169, visit tutonis.com or find Tutoni's on Facebook
At Tutoni's in downtown York, a chalkboard on the wall lists its area food suppliers – from Apple Valley Creamery in East Berlin to Rettland Farm in Gettysburg and Brogue Hydroponics.
"Seasonal makes sense," appears on the restaurant's website, and the menu reflects that mantra.
As I sat in the dimly lit restaurant on a recent Wednesday night, I watched the waitstaff carry a cheese board, featuring Lancaster County cheese with fruit, marcona almonds and honeycomb ($15), to nearby patrons.
Another item seemingly popular that night was the charcuterie board, with a daily selection of cured meats, olives, whole grain mustard and mixed pickled vegetables ($15).
At Tutoni's, there's no need to feel rushed – just a need to take in the experience and the locally sourced foods.
The restaurant is the brainchild of Tony and Toni Calderone (Get it? Two-toni's), and chef Scott Robinson, whose name you might recognize from when he was sous chef at the Sheppard Mansion in Hanover. Most recently, he was sous chef at Baltimore's Woodberry Kitchen, home of another farm-to-table restaurant.
For me, the evening started as I passed under the covered entranceway into the restaurant. Some patio seating is available on the sidewalk that I noted for a future lunch date.
My party had made a reservation online, so the hostess seated us at a table right away.
The restaurant's interior is full of texture -- from columns adding to its Mediterranean feel, to ceiling panels and iron chandeliers, to a wall of wood illuminated by candles.
The server brought a basket of bread with our choice of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can choose your own olive oil? Yes, and it is as luxurious as it sounds. We picked the rosemary-infused, which the waiter poured onto a plate, topped with drops of balsamic.
Hot plates, cold plates and salads are all available as appetizers (or main dishes). I went straight for the entree – a vegetable lasagna ($17).
If I made a vegetable lasagna at home, it would be a square-ish serving of noodles (out of a box, mind you), topped with sauce, veggies, cheese, more noodles, more sauce, more veggies, cheese.
But at Tutoni's, the dish was served in the shape of a circle, neatly wrapped by summer squash and topped with a pesto swirl – an artistic masterpiece I felt guilty about sticking my fork into. My first thought was, "I should Instagram this before eating."
As I forged ahead, the cheese -- so fresh -- was one of the best parts of the dish, complemented by a marinara sauce with a hint of spicy heat.
Other options for dinner range from more housemade pastas to lamb, duck breast, chicken, pork, steak, Atlantic cod.
Once finished, the server arrived with a board of six miniature desserts to choose from for $2.50 each. The price tempted me to get two, but I decided to stick with one after finishing my lasagna.
Choosing between options such as olive oil cake, peaches and cream, and peanut butter mousse was difficult, but I couldn't resist the last one on the board -- Rocky Road – chocolate mousse topped with marshmallow sauce and crushed peanuts.
My only condolence for not trying two desserts was that I plan to return. Those outdoor patio tables seem more than inviting on a fall day in the city. Lunch options range from sandwiches to salads, flatbreads and housemade pasta.
Not only will I know where my lunch was prepared, I'll know where the veggies and meats were grown and raised – in southcentral Pennsylvania.