This week, Toscana Divino, launched a brand new happy hour with drinks from new bar manager Douglas da Cruz (previously of Oak Tavern and Shikany) and bites from recently promoted chef Billy Devlin. The Italian eatery in the heart of Mary Brickell Village parted ways with executive chef Julian Baker a few weeks ago when he left for Texas and have more menu changes in store, but let's start with the ones discounted from 6 to 8 p.m. everyday.
Brickell has no shortage of happy hours, but this one as Toscana Divino is more refined and, well, divine. Drinks start at $3 for beer and go up to $7 for specially crafted cocktails and with all bar bites at $8 means you can get a full meal without breaking the bank. Here are some we tried when we were invited in for the inaugural special on Monday.
Start off with a drink, we liked the Wallpaper ($14, $7 during happy hour) with Avua cachaca, passion fruit puree, house-made vanilla syrup, tabasco, and pink peppercorn for some pop and heat.
A nice thing about this special time frame is that once you sit down and order your drink, don't be surprised if complimentary bites and smiles come from the kitchen and management. This passed bite of truffle and cheese topped with crispy bacon on a crostini was a favorite of the night and free of charge.
If you want more bread and cheese, order the Truffle Ricotta ($8 during happy hour, $13 regularly) with thick pieces of toasted bread and creamy cheese drizzled with honey for something sweet and decadent.
Other favorites from the menu was the beef carpaccio involtini ($8/$16) with arugula, raw marinated oyster mushrooms wrapped in raw beef with truffle soy and focaccia crumbs. Also, the salmone marinato ($8/$13) that has been marinated for 24-hours with citrus and buttermilk.
The heaviest of the bites and the most bang for your belly was the crispy porchetta ($8/$15) with chunks of pork belly that melt in your mouth along with some pickled red onion, radish, lemon, Parmigiano, and micro herbs to lighten it up.
If you want your happy hour to be nothing more than wine and cheese to wind down, they have that too. Their "happy wines" are just $5 and you can build your own cheese plate and/or salumi plate with three selections for $15 during happy hour.
For cocktail drinkers, the wild mojito is a bit of an herbal and fruity twist with Big Apple Bacardi, basil, rosemary, mint, lime, and prosecco in the mix. We also really enjoyed the coming-soon drink to the menu, the Good Old Man.
According to bar manager, Da Cruz, this old fashioned variation is "a tribute to the good old man Jack Daniel's. It's our way of showing appreciation for what it has brought to the table. This is one out of many old-fashioned version recipes we have and can provide. Made with a brown sugar cube, Campari, as a substitution for Angostura bitters, splash of tonic water (like in the gold old days), peach shrub, and Bulliet Rye." This old fashioned meets a negroni was topped with something we are now official obsessed with: a pickled cherry. We pretty much wanted the whole jar but could settle for another one in our drink.
With more menu changes to come, we like what we are drinking and eating thus far, between 6 to 8 p.m., when everything is a bit happier
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