Restaurateur Shelly Fireman, best known as the creator of the staple Italian bistros Trattoria Dell'Arte, Bond 45, and Cafe Fiorello, opened up Florian this year. The restaurant feels like a mix of all of these bistros, yet with a modern twist. Fireman's unbelievable sculptures and art are placed in the bar area and all around the space.
The bar is long and comfortable-great place for drinks or a bite. Festive but comfortable enough for a weekly visit if you lived or worked nearby. There are banquets and tables all around the restaurant, perfect for a date or family dinner or business lunch. The antipasti is my absolute favorite in the city--there is nothing better than those roasted cipollini onions, cannelloni beans, sautéed broccoli rabe, Sicilian eggplant caponata, and roasted brussel sprouts fresh from Union Square's green market. A meal in itself. Love how they walked around giving out warm cheese rolls too. Nice touch. The bread basket was solid as well. Italian just hits the spot most often.
Of course we tried everything almost. The burrata with prosciutto di parma was delicious, but the paper-thin super tasty pizza (get the sausage and caramelized onions) and veal chop parmigiana (that was enough to feed 4 people) stole the show. The service was warm and pleasant, and very attentive. The menu is long and full of salads to pastas to fish to meats. This place is solid Italian food, and yet you leave feeling light but completely satiated.
Dessert stole my heart with the dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut block (classic Italian flavors but hard to find here in the US), and made-to-order homemade real vanilla bean ice cream. Truly memorable, all made-to-share, and worth it all. Go, go, go. And, you must get these desserts!
225 Park Avenue South
NY NY 10003