Consistency and Attention to Detail at Fiorino Ristorante in Summit
Monday, May 9, 2011 • 11:26am
Somehow when walking into Fiorino on a lovely day, I actually felt as if I were walking into a trendy restaurant somewhere along 57th Street and Lexington Ave., in New York City. Although it was a mere 12:30 in the afternoon, the lively bar was packed with regulars who were drinking, laughing, and enjoying the camaraderie of those around them.
Graciously approached by Proprietor Mentor Bitici, who shares ownership of the establishment with his brother Ilir, and father John, the family has been at the Maple Street location for sixteen years.
“Our family migrated to Summit sixteen years ago,” he said. “From 1972 to 1995, my father John was the owner of the popular Minetta Tavern located in Grenwich Village. After so many years, he decided to sell his famous tavern and move closer to home. Fascinated with Summit, he searched for another property and was absolutely delighted when 38 Maple Street became available.
Server Cesar Salazar came to Summit with the family. A vital member of the team, when asked how dining has changed since he arrived some sixteen years ago, he replied. “Folks are comfortable with coming to Fiorino because we serve the finest quality food, and whatever we serve is always fresh. I’ve also noticed that folks are watching their diets and eating much healthier. They’ll frequently order several appetizers instead of an entire three course dinner.”
Aside from the fact that the busy bar was packed with folks who obviously come together on a regular basis, many order their meal served with wine, beer, or a cocktail. I saw bowls of Pasta e’Fagioli, ($5.95), Grilled Eggplant, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted pepper and basil pesto, ($7.95), plates of homemade Pappardelle Bolognese, ($14.95), and Spinach and Ricotta filled Tortellacci, with fresh plum tomatoes, and basil, ($14.95). Entrees of Pan Roasted Scottish Salmon arrived with vegetable componata, ($18.95), while a Slow Roasted Lamb Shank was served with roasted potatoes, sauteed spinach, and natural jus, ($18.95). At a later hour that day, a colleague ordered Affetatti Misti, an assortment of sliced cured meats served with parmigiano and marinated olives, ($8.95); while her guest enjoyed Fried Zucchini for two, ($7.00) and Baked Clams Oreganato, ($8.95).
“Our menu is always the same. It is driven by the seasons. What is fresh at the market, can easily be served at Fiorino,” continued Mentor Bitici. “We are extremely proud of our dessert menu." Created by Pastry Chef Gilbert Antero, featured treats include the delicious Chocolate Bombe, with dark chocolate and a praline mousse dome with a vanilla creme center, and fresh berries, ($9.00).
When asked what, if anything, determines any trends in dessert, I was immediately introduced to Pastry Chef Gilbert Antero whose resume reads like a “Who’s Who of Desserts." “We always recommend our Chocolate Bombe, a dark chocolate and praline mousse done with a vanilla creme center and fresh berries, ($9.00),” he said. “Folks also enjoy our refreshing Key Lime basket of key lime mousse with a strawberry gelee center and macerated raspberry and fresh strawberries, and our Rocky Road Cheese cake, an almond chocolate cake with marshmallows, fresh berries, sherry creme syrup, and almond tuile, ($9.00). Yes there are a cadre of designer coffees, but hey...once in a while....tell yourself...'You’re worth it!'"
Location: Fiorino Ristorante, 38 Maple Street, Summit
Hours: Lunch: 11:30 to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday. 5 to ll p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday. Open for private parties, 60 person minimum.
FYI: Casually smart dress. Street and parking lot parking. Off and on premise catering. Wine room and Wine Cellar for private parties. Handicap accessible. Call for reservations and consultations.
$$$$:DInner for Two:Dinner for two without drinks, tax or tip: $108.
A Reminder from Millicent: We’re here for YOU! If you have any great “foodie” suggestions for our readers to check out...or if you enjoyed a fabulous meal at any of our best known or newer dining spots, or if there is a new market or take-out place that opened in your neighborhood, please let me know. Email me at: Mkbrody@aol.com
Millicent K. Brody is an award-winning writer and photographer and a resident of Westfield, New Jersey. Contact her at Mkbrody@aol.com
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