The notion that chefs are artists has been taken quite literally at Florian, a new Italian eatery that debuted last evening on Park Avenue South. Case in point, a pizza topped with sausage, caramelized onlions, burrata cheese and pomodoro sauce that's shaped like a painter's palate. A gimmick? Perhaps. Though by the looks of it, a very delicious one.
Restaurateur Shelly Fireman (Bonde 45, Trattoria Dell'Arte) brought aboard a chef from Bologna, long heralded as the gastronomic capital of Italy. Meals might begin Italian-style with a selection of three antipasti; from there, primi (pastas) are hefty, including a Spaghetti Carbonara ($22) with pancetta, Pecorino and a fried egg and a Whole Lobster Tagliatelle ($28.50) in a lobster sauce.
The kitchen enjoys the whole lobster thing, as it shows up again in pizza form, if that's your chosen method of carbohydrate ingestion; the pie ($28.50) also comes topped with zucchini, peppers and a pomodoro sauce. Considering the price gouging on lobster in this town, that feels like a fair deal.
There are some tasty-sounding entrees too, including meaty stuff like Prime Rib ($29) and fishy stuff like Grilled Scottish Salmon ($24), but it's the dedicated vegetarian menu that deserves a few snaps. Pappardelle with Eggplant Parmigiana ($19) and Pesto Ravioli alla Brando ($19) with ricotta, rucola, spinach and cheese are just the tip. There's also a special burrata bar, turning out versions of the cheese like one stuffed with egg.
225 Park Avenue South, 212-869-8800; website