Let’s talk about The Good, shall we?
Wednesday night we dined at La Fiorentina, the flagship and most expensive of the Lombardi Family Concepts. Billed as an Italian Steakhouse, it’s crazy to think that the beautiful, farmhouse-styled interior and exterior of La Fiorentina used to be a Chips Hamburgers. It’s especially crazy after you sit down and have a few bites of their food.
You can find La Fiorentina’s Restaurant Week menu here.
We sat in a bit of a bustling spot, but honestly the place is so small most every spot save for the corners will get you knocked into once or twice by a fast-moving waiter. No matter; I was happy to have a somewhat normal dining experience after what happened the night before. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
It was hard for me to choose my first course. Namely because I’m always drawn to simple pastas and the spaghetti with garlic, zucchini and ricotta sounded delightful. My favorite dinner guest ordered the chilled corn soup. That sounded good too, but I went with my gut and my desire for something acidic and went with the watermelon panzanella salad. I don’t know if the pasta was any better, but that salad really hit the spot. Sweet, salty and sour, it had just enough crunch and did a great job of whetting my apetite for the main course. We both went for Kobe. Rare. And it was just what I wanted. The accompanying risotto was really solid. Creamy, but not too creamy, with just enough vegetables to break up the starch. And the meat was like velvet cut from a cow. Thanks, you glorious animal, you. Dessert was the only misstep, for me. The panna cotta had a little too much cotta. Or panna. Whichever one of those is gelatin. It was too hard. Jell-O-like in consistency. I wanted it to be creamier and more flavorful. The winning dessert was the other choice: “Fior de Latte Gelato” with its fruit and crunchy cookies. I always like to choose the best, but this time my dessert was a far second. And as a side note, upon further inspection of my dessert I could just barely make out the word “SOLO” on the top of the panna cotta, formerly the bottom of that styrofoam cup. Oops. Tiny faux pas? No matter. It was a sweet finish nonetheless.
Now onto The Bad.
Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But our experience at Al Biernat’s was less-than-remarkable, at least as far as the food was concerned. The Central Market first course was teensy (though the bite I had of the other option, the tartare “mini sandwich,” was tasty). The agnolotti (which I had extremely high expectations of, after my Food for Thought taste) was really ravioli and just odd, from it’s orange color to faint frozen spinach-y taste. And the prime rib was fair at best. I had the salmon with blueberry chipotle sauce on spinach, and though they cooked it pretty rare to my taste, it was nothing special, and the mountain of over-cooked spinach was depressing. The highlight was the dessert, the stars of which were the carrot cake, dense with awesome, and the coconut cream pie, which was just a slice of heaven. But good or bad, the entire night was overshadowed by one thing. Disruption.
And so we come to The Ugly.
They weren’t ugly at all. They were cute, sparkly women with pretty hair and, I would venture to guess, some body work done. They were also obnoxious as hell. I could recount the night here, but It’d be better if you just read what I wrote about it in today’s City of Ate. Go ahead…I’ll wait…