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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Florentina's Italian Ristorante

Okay before I get going here, how is this from my friend and great artist Will Ennis, man, does he have talent.

Well I just got back from helping open a brand new concept called "Florentina's" it's Italian, it's really good and it's competition for Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill.

The entire concept was 10 weeks from planning to conversion of an existing establishment to creation of menu and the recipes to go with it. It was a pleasure working with the staff, training some, refining others, and teaching as I went.

The menu is creative and is receiving overall very positive responses. Here is one clients review.

"Our group consisted of 6 adults and 2 toddlers. On the way to our table, I passed another Board Buddy having dinner with her husband and stopped to say hello and get recommendations. I'll let her post her reviews if she would like.

An interesting option on the menu is the "Family Style" option for appetizers and entrees, which are portioned for approximately 4 people. We decided to order 2 appetizers "family style" for the group.

The calamari was average. It comes with both marinara sauce and a spicy aioli.

The cheesesticks aren't really "sticks", they're cheese half moons! They were excellent! Oddly, I didn't see them on the menu but someone asked if they had them, and the waiter made them appear. Very good.

There was also an apple/gorgonzola salad shared. I loved it. Mixed greens with thin sliced apples, gorgonzola crumbles, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts. Next time I may just order the large one as my entree.

Pizzas are thin crust and brick oven baked. They are described as "for one", but two people could easily share. There were 2 pizzas ordered: 1) red pepper pesto and shrimp; and 2) pepperoni, sausage, mushroom and onion. Both were very good, but the first one could have used more red pepper pesto.

DH ordered chicken parmagiana. He said it was very good, but he would have liked it more if there was less breading on the chicken. However, the side dishes were outstanding. The green beans are thin, whole beans, and the roasted potatoes were cooked and seasoned perfectly.

Pasta primavera came with lots of fresh veggies, and another pasta dish (I forget what it was called) was spicy and full of veggies and Italian sausage. Both people who ordered the pasta were very happy.

Two of the people in our party had been at the restaurant on Sunday, and gave high ratings to the steak and the chicken piccata.

No one had room for dessert.

They do bring hot loaves of french bread with olive oil for dipping. I didn't have any bread, but the others said it was very good.

On the way to the restroom, I saw a server who used to be our favorite at Wasabi. He's excellent, and I promised to ask for one of his tables the next time we come in. If you go, ask to be seated in Chai's section, you won't be sorry!

Our server (Les) was good, if a bit inexperienced. He was very attentive, however.

All in all, we were happy. Prices are very reasonable, and we'll definitely return.
Terese Mansell"

Here is a look at the menu!

A special thanks to Paul Rasmussen for his belief in me after 10 years away, to Christine Hall who will ensure the quality of the recipes which we so painstaking work out together, to Josh, Ronnie, Orlando and Ethan who will ensure the highest quality in food.

Dania in the open Pizza station.

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