"Whoaa, did you see that?" asked Kathy as her eyes trailed a waiter carrying a plate of fried stuff past our table. "What is that?"
"You mean the plate full of fried stuff?"
"YES, OH MY GOD, I NEED THAT."
Those weren't her exact words—this dinner at Fiore did happen about a month ago—but it's close enough. She looked about ready to lunge at the waiter, her face paralyzed with that wide-eyed, gaping mouth sort of amazement and longing that only a plate piled high with fried calamari and zucchini sticks could bring. Or a giant funnel cake. Or something else that's fried and awesome.
Unfortunately, we hadn't ordered the subject of Kathy's amazement, the fried calamari and zucchini, but I had eaten it during subsequent visits with Ed and again with my mom. If Kathy had ordered it during out dinner, I'm pretty sure she would've loved it. The calamari were tender, lightly battered, and perfectly fried, and the zucchini tasted mostly of...um, batter, considering they were of near matchstick-thickness—not that I have anything against that. Fried batter is pretty tasty on its own—add some salt and rosemary and you've got Fiore's version. The portion is frighteningly generous for only $7 (or $6; I can't remember), something I suggest sharing between at least four people.
Having been to Fiore three times, I can give you a decent overview of its food. Or I can just tell you the main reasons I like it: the deliciousness to dollar ratio is very high, the portions are generous, and the atmosphere is comfortable and spacious. It's a nice place I can bring my mom to (and I have) without blowing lots of money. Most importantly though, it's only about a 10 minute walk from my apartment.
OKAY, FOOD PORN TIME with minimal commentary.
I always considered myself a non-fan of octopus and the like (unless it's fried, FRIED), probably because I've mostly eaten crappily cooked octopus in my life. The braised baby octopus, was of the tender, non-disarmingly chewy sort. That's how I like my cephalopods. I also like referring to my food by its taxonomic class.
Oooh, fries! Long and skinny and crispy and salty and rosemary-ed. You probably shouldn't get both the fried calamari and fries in one meal (because then that would be your whole meal), but get one of them depending on what fried substance mood you're in.
I like ravioli, but not nearly as much as Chinese dumplings or pierogies. The filling-to-dough ratio seems off; there always needs more filling. So while there's nothing wrong with the spinach ricotta ravioli ina brown butter sage sauce (SAGE, OH I LOVE SAGE), I just wish there were more filling. Or less dough. This applies to nearly all ravioli I eat.
My favorite pasta dish so far is the cavatelli with broccoli rabe and sausage. Broccoli rabe just goes really well with sausage, along with the thick cavatelli rods that provide more chew than other pastas. And for some reason I like having a vegetable in a pasta dish that doesn't fall under the category of "herb" or "something that gets mashed up."
I ordered the homemade spaghetti with tomato sauce when I was too lazy to make a more interesting decision, but there's nothing wrong with eating something simple. (My favorite pizza is margherita!) This was nothing like the spaghetti and tomato sauce I ate growing up, which tasted like...well, not much. Fiore's tomato sauce was basil-ified, if I recall correctly. I might not be. Um. WHATEVER, I LIKED THIS SPAGHETTI, what else do you want from me?
I didn't try much of Kathy's bucatini with guanciale, tomato and onions sauce, but just look at it; that can't suck. I think. Next.
Diana had ordered a special ziti with tomato sauce and fishballs dish. In my Asian mind, fishballs are usually white or some shade lighter than dark brown; meatball-looking fishballs throws me off a bit. The fishballs were good though, light and not super fishy.
The skirt steak is freakin' huge. I don't think one person could eat it all. ...Or I hope one person can't eat it all. Split it between two people to enjoy tender, juicy slices of beefaliciousness.
The spare ribs, like the steak, is a lot of meat for one. SHARE THE WEALTH OF THE MEATS. The meat was pull-of-the-bone-able. Always a good thing.
Out of all the desserts I tried, the chocolate and almond cake was my favorite, although I wouldn't be dying to order it again. It had a slightly dry texture (which is just the way the cake is, methinks), but the whipped cream plop helped with that. Quite nutty, light, not too sweet, not too chocolatey.
The lemon tart was good, just nothing special. And, as I've probably mentioned before, the glorious combination of coffee and alcohol that most people love about tiramisu is a double whammy of pain for my taste buds. I can't really comment on that.
This entry doesn't actually cover everything I've eaten at Fiore, but I put in the stuff I felt was worth mentioning. Is that enough for you? Yes.