Sunday, January 30, 2011
Restaurant review: La Fiorentina in Dallas
Blog from Afar was disappointed in several courses from La Fiorentina, but thinks the Italian restaurant deserves a mulligan.
Irresistible! La Fiorentina, a new restaurant featuring Bisteca Fiorentina in the same digs as the “The Old Church,” an '80s bar in Knox-Henderson. I remember it well from my insouciant youth; we downed “Aggravations” after “Tequila Sunrises” in what was then a transitional neighborhood anchored by the Army-Navy and Weirs’ Country Store.
However, I’m always wary when people suggest that I’ve “got to try” the latest Italian restaurant. It’s hard to compete with my food memories of the real thing overseas, and with husband Gary’s home cooking. But when I gathered with high school friends recently, it seemed just the place to revisit as real grown-ups. And grown-up it is: low, gauzy light, white tablecloths, a nice wine list, well-heeled clientele ... not an “Aggravation” in sight.
The service was pleasant, well-informed, and attentive. However, of the several dishes we ordered, only one was a standout: the Branzino, or Mediterranean Sea Bass. For those of us with guilty cravings for the endangered Chilean variety, we’re safe on two counts; this fish is not the same as the sweet, thick fleshy Chilean variety, and it’s not endangered. It’s a small fish, was boned tableside (or at least in full view), and perfectly cooked: crispy/salty on the outside and light and delicate within. It was so good, we shared it and it helped us to forget the insult of the “soup of the day:” chickpea that would have lost a taste test with Campbell’s, and other disappointing courses that do not deserve mention. As my mother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice...”
But! Everyone gets a “mulligan,” a “do-over,” and based on this briny Branzino, I will be back to try again. Maybe I’ll talk my husband into sharing the signature Bisteca, and console myself with a little Vin Santo from Borgo Scopeto should the return trip disappoint.
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