Alberto Lombardi might as well change his name to Alberto Midas, because this is one man with a truly golden touch. He has several successful restaurants that deliver great service and delicious food. Crowds flock to them and there’s one single reason why: he knows what people want. Though we admit being more than a little skeptical when he announced plans for La Fiorentina, Lombardi’s Tuscan Steakhouse. After all, in Dallas you can’t throw a PETA activist ten feet without hitting a steak joint.
One bite of the namesake steak at the one-week old restaurant was enough to convince us why Big D has room for at least one more, but we’ll get to that in a minute. There’s plenty of other amazing dishes we’ve gotta get out of the way first.
For starters, there are the usual steakhouse suspects like a wedge salad (roasted Bartlett pears make a nice twist), but most everything else is something truly unique or incredibly hard to find. In the former category, the roasted Hubbard squash, chestnut and burrata (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream) is quite possibly the perfect autumn dish. Warm, earthy and just the right amount of saltiness.
In the hard-to-find group, we tried something that may be difficult for some to utter the words, let alone eat. And that’s oven-roasted veal bone marrow. Yes, we’re not just eating a baby cow, but literally picking its bones clean for good measure. Is it wrong that it’s so delicious spread on crostini and topped with onion compote? We promise to plant a tree or adopt a whale or whatever it takes to make amends.
As for the colossal side of things, two dishes are reason enough to go back again and again to La Fiorentina. First off is their oven-baked Nigerian colossal shrimp, which we enjoyed as an appetizer (as if bone innards weren’t enough to keep us satisfied). These are more than just big shrimp, people. Each single fella is the size of a rather large lobster tail and, quite frankly, even more delicious. Just don’t fill up on these crustaceans alone.
That would mean ignoring the incredible PRIME steaks, of which there are four to choose from. Naturally, we went for the mother lode: La Bistecca Fiorentina “Come a Firenze,” a 24-ounce wet-aged center-cut Porterhouse T Bone (pictured above) and served with vegetables of the day. To put this in proper perspective, this one steak weighs as much as SIX Quarter Pounders with Cheese. We thought we’d eat a third or so and take the rest home for Hangover Steak & Eggs.
Just one bite here, another gnaw there and before we knew it, we’d polished off the whole thing. We couldn’t help ourselves. It was that good. Perhaps it was the rosemary or the olive oil, lemon and sea salt the waiter drizzled atop once it was served. In any case, they know what they’re doing with beef and this was well worth the $52 price tag. Especially if it’s shared among a small family as it’s probably more appropriate than one tiny queen.
Desserts and cocktails were also superb (no, the steak and shrimp alone weren’t enough). And to think the restaurant hadn’t even been open 5 days when we visited. If this is their “trial period” and things are supposed to only get better, we’re in huge trouble. Because too many visits to La Fiorentina and we’ll be the most Colossal thing in the restaurant.
4501 Cole Avenue, Dallas
(in the former Chip’s Hamburgers building)
Photo Credit: Kevin Marple