If I lived near 56th, Fiorini would become my go-to neighborhood place. The restaurant, which opened in ’07 and serves traditional regional Italian cuisine in a comfy setting is the latest venture of Neapolitan native Lello Arpaia.
The servers were just as I like them, attentive but only table side when needed — they didn’t hover. And, they served the meal as I like it — at a very leisurely pace, spacing out the time between courses.
The Gloria Ferrer ’06 Pinot Noir, Cameros was light but had enough body to go well with each course ($60).
I began with the Polipo ai ferri ($14) a grilled octopus salad, with huge succulent chunks of the tender cephalopod mixed with sliced red and yellow grape tomatoes, caper berries, olives, red onion and arugula in a very light vinaigrette. Not to be missed.
From chef’s recommendations for the day, I sampled the Fritto Misto ($17) with tender calamari, one shrimp and slightly over-cooked scallops. I would have loved this delicately battered seafood with only the squid.
The whole grilled branzino, deboned in the kitchen, was delicately drizzled with just a touch of olive oil and lemon. I asked for the Livornese sauce on the side, thinking it would mask the fish. It didn’t. The blend of tomatoes, onions, capers and olives was so flavorful, I could eat it with spoon.
The dessert I’d recommend is the delicate almond souffle, undercooked just enough so that the sauce oozed out when you put your spoon into it. Be sure to add this gem to your list of places to try.
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