The Buonanotte restaurant group is on a roll. The Main supper club reopens January 26 after a 40 day hiatus, and today sister restaurant Fiorellino earned its first review. It's a good one too. La Presse critic Marie-Claude Lortie, so active on the casual restaurant beat lately, gives the multi-faceted café, aperitivo and snack bar behind Saint Patrick's Basilica a try, and comes away impressed. Fiorellino is inviting, and bustling. The interior, designed by Moderno's Jean-Guy Chabauty, is a little neo-rustic, a little post-industrial, and conveys some choice nods to the 1970s. Nice.
Fiorellino does wood-fired pizzas, but, as Lortie notes, doesn't want to be branded as a pizzeria per se. So the critic looks elsewhere on the menu, to chef Erik Mandracchia's prosciutto focaccia ("impeccable"), oyster mushroom salad with grana ("coup de coeur"), linguine with almond pesto, cherry tomatoes, and ricotta ("onctueuse, savoureuse"), and braised beef cheeks on polenta ("riche et réconfortante").
The only letdown from the kitchen is a grouper crudo, which needs some more elegance. Lortie likes a ricotta budino with confit persimmon, but truly relishes Fiorellino's take on that Italian staple, caffè corretto — with amaro in this case. Fiorellino thus warrants a return trip, preferably for that wood-fired lineup of pizzas. "[L]es classiques italiens tout simples sont franchement sympathiques," Lortie concludes.