When the Peabody Orlando sold its International Drive hotel to the Hyatt Regency folks and moved out, they took the iconic ducks with them. They also took the Capriccio Grill Italian Steakhouse, or at least the name. Capriccio, it turned out, was a trademarked brand held by the Memphis-based Peabody.
So now it's Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse, and for all intents and purposes the restaurant is exactly the same as the previous, presale incarnation. Except in my estimation it has gotten better.
The chef, Jimmy Stafford, released a new menu last week that still emphasizes the steakhouse aspect but also features some Italian classics as well as other Mediterranean specialties and a few creative twists. My recent dinner there was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
The start was with a platter of antipasti that included Jamon Iberico, shaved from the shank from the carving station in the open kitchen, and wonderful bresaola and wild boar salami. The jamon was marvelous, the marbled fat just melted in the mouth and left a sweet and nutty aftertaste, and the bresaola had a lovely aroma.
I also sampled the paccheri nero, which just might have been my favorite thing of the evening. The squid-ink pasta was dense and densely flavored, and the big, pillowy scallop and shrimp were a delicious surprise. The arrabiata sauce added just the right about of spiciness, and the green olives and capers leant a salty note.
That's not to take anything away from my New York strip steak, which was a gorgeously seared hunk of meat with a crispy outside and all the juiciness of a quality steak inside. It was dry aged for 21 days, and it's easy to see why Fiorenzo still claims the steakhouse moniker.
My companion had the osso buco, a veal shank slowly braised into tender submission, with braised carrots, saffron scented orzo, and a dusting of gremolata. The meat was wonderful, but I longed for a marrow spoon to make it easier to get the gooey goodness from the bone shank. I managed, though, and it was delicious on the fresh focaccia.
The dining room is much the same, a pleasant blend of upscale and casual, with the open kitchen a focus. Tabletops are a polished black marble, set with sparkling stemware and a candle holder that looks sort of like a glass chrysanthemum. Service was attentive and knowledgeable.
It was nice to finally see the new Fiorenzo, and I think you should see it too. So I've asked Stafford and his crew to put together a special menu for our next Scott Joseph's Supper Club at Fiorenzo, Thursday, June 19. We'll start with a reception at 6:30 p.m. with an antipasti course that will include that wonderful jamon Iberico. Then we'll move into the dining room for the next four courses, each paired with a wine. More details about the dinner are below.
Space is quite limited for this Supper Club, so be sure to get your tickets quickly. Cost is $80 per person plus tax. Gratuity is included. Oh, and valet parking is complimentary — we're even getting our own special attendants right at Fiorenzo's door! This link will take you to the event page.
Fiorenzo is at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, 9801 International Drive. It is open for dinner daily. You can download a PDF of the current menu here. If you're unable to join us for Supper Club but want to make a reservation for another time, the phone number is 407-345-4570.
Here's the full menu for our Supper Club:
Scott Joseph's SUPPER CLUB
June 19, 2014
Jamon Iberico – presented and hand-sliced by Chef James
Imported cheeses + condiments + crostini
Ferrari But, Francicorta
Kale and Frisee | sieved egg + grana padano + focaccia + boquerones + lemon caper vinaigrette
Feudi San Gregorio Greco Di Tufo, 2012
Vesuvio | pumpkin + dandelion greens + pear + feta + pignolas
Antinori Marchese Chianti Classico Riserva, 2008
Skate wing | sweet potato + spinach + caperberries + garlic + lemon
Prunoto Barbaresco, 2010
Pizelle| chocolate semifreddo + morello cherry + pistachio sauce
Bertani Villa Arvedi Amarone, 2010