Kudos to Fiorino Ristorante in Summit which has been open for 21 years, not an easy feat in the fickle restaurant business. Owner John Bitici along with his sons Ilir and Mentor continue to ensure that their guests have a memorable dining experience. We felt very welcomed here and were impressed with the food and service. This popular Summit restaurant has also had the same chef, Carlos Espinoza, since it opened. Consistency is one winning characteristic that successful restaurants must have.
Parmigiano topped a refreshing shredded Brussels sprouts salad with Granny smith apples, celery and a lemon dressing. Well-balanced flavors were created from the tartness of apples, saltiness of the cheese and texture from the Brussels sprouts. An unusual presentation of beef carpaccio was beautifully plated with pickled mushrooms, slivers of charred onions and a topping of Parmigiano panna cotta. Marinated grilled and tender octopus had some zing from the warm balsamic potato-olive salad, while a raft of cucumbers held tuna sashimi surrounded by dots of wasabi; all worthy dishes.
For our second course, we shared linguine packed with chunks of lobster in a spicy lobster sauce and paper thin, ethereal and rich cappelletti filled with ricotta and tossed with sweet peas, smoked prosciutto and truffle crème. At this point, we were quite content but bit the bullet and ordered entrees.
String beans were graciously substituted on the tender and perfectly cooked double-cut pork chop, ordered by you know who, which was surrounded by a mushroom mustard crème. A very respectable serving of pan-roasted cod with spinach and roasted beets was enhanced with a lively and pungent horseradish and chive sauce; a light refreshing entrée. Lovers of tripe should try the tripe Fiorentina in a tomato sauce with julienned vegetables and although this dish is not for everyone, we thought it was delicious. Ditto for sweet breads Francese, a dish not often seen on restaurant menus.
Gilbert Antero is the pastry chef and the quality of his desserts shine. Crisp shelled mini cannoli were not overly sweet and the size was perfect because we also had a top-notch, house-made tartufo, a chocolate-dipped pistachio and chocolate gelato with a cherry gelee center and dark chocolate cake bottom. Very few places make their own tartufo and this one stood out from the commercial preparations. We also shared a house-made hazelnut gelato and a peach cobbler.
Wines from Italy, California, Washington State, Chile, France, Spain, Argentina, Australia and NY State are on the menu with approachable prices.
Fiorino’s was packed on a Monday night, so be sure to make a reservation. Open Monday through Friday for lunch and Monday through Saturday for dinner starting at 5 PM; closed Sunday.
38 Maple Street
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Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
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