When it comes to eating places on Via Veneto, uh, I suggest Las Olas Boulevard; I want more range. But by and large, we get a river of pink sauce and a parade of pasta, pizza, and prosciutto, with some massive meatballs, veal parm, and grilled steaks and shrimp thrown in. Three more Italian eating places have opened this 12 months, bringing the entire to 12 in a 10-block cluster: Piazza Italia (February), Tuscan Prime (May), and Talento (June). Venice of America, certainly.
The query for a critic and discerning diners: Do any of those learners carry something special to the desk, or are they simply secure exercises in filling seats through offering America’s maximum famous overseas delicacies? And if all these eating places do is displace older, staler Italian eating places, is that development?
Each of the trios strikes a chord in my memory of something already on Las Olas. Piazza Italia (at the previous web page of Mangos) is an active location similar to Louie Bossi, with impressive antipasto platters and a returned courtyard. Tuscan Prime (in the former domestic of Grille 401) has Timpano Italian Chophouse elements, however prettier and with higher meals. And Talento has shades of Caffe Europa, with cakes displayed in a tumbler case and a crowded bar scene (glad hour runs all night at Talento’s bar).
That said, everyone has virtues. My rundown, in order of preference. Be warned: None is cheap (hey, it’s Las Olas).
Talento has quickly observed its footing, with multiplied, simple meals that display taste and finesse the most up-to-date of the bunch. The decor is minimalist, fashionable, and modern-day, with white leather-based seats, horseshoe-shaped banquettes, and an LED waterfall wall separating the bar from the dining room. Tables are properly-spaced, so no person feels cramped. The menu is big, perhaps too huge, with pizzas, raw bar gadgets, appetizers, pasta, fish, meat, and a complete menu for vegans (a specific and welcome touch). But diners will no longer discover chook parm, Fettucine Alfredo, or some of the usual heavier Italian-American offerings. Talento pursuits for something more refined.
The eating place is backed by deep-pocketed enterprise partners Maurizio Tiarella and Sandro Picciurro, who owned the primary McDonald’s franchises in Italy (Rome) many years ago. A few years ago, Tiarella ate at Dal Maestro, a small Hallandale Beach restaurant close to Gulfstream Park. He was inspired by the husband-and-wife group who ran it, chef Luigi Criscuolo and manager Angela Gullotta.
Tiarella has given them a shot on the large time. If my recent meal is any indication, they’re up to the venture.
Housemade pasta showcase precision and firmness, which are a joy to devour, including pappardelle with a chunky wild boar ragout ($23), or with black desserts and aged Parmigiano-Reggiano ($35). Snapper Crudo ($18), served over arugula with caperberries, shimmered with freshness. An easy salad of area vegetables ($10) changed into lightly dressed with a wisp of bracing French dressing. Housemade cakes have been diffused instead of sugary, such as tiramisu ($10) and airy, creamy profiteroles ($12).
Talento bills its cuisine as “contemporary Italian,” and the eating place has one ultra-2019 contact: the triple-digit entree. It is the primary Italian eating place on Las Olas to crack the $100 barrier: $one hundred twenty for a Tomahawk rib-eye steak that the menu boasts is “cooked to perfection.” (Lobster Bar changed into the first to go the $a hundred plateau on Las Olas, with massive lobsters and a $one hundred twenty porterhouse).
I don’t know if any steak is worth $a hundred and twenty, but Talento’s may well be.
We ordered our medium-uncommon and the kitchen grilled it with brilliant precision, with a flavorful crust that changed into charred but not burnt and a juicy, ruby-purple indoors. It featured a Brontosaurus-sized bone that could make Fred Flinstone proud, served on a reducing board unsliced (which we didn’t thoughts; it intended the steak turned into nicely resting to allow redistribution of juices). The platter got here with roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, mushrooms, candy peppers, little piles of watercress, and a scattering of complete peppercorns. Simple, quiet, and delicious. And large sufficient to serve or three.
My biggest quibble became with the wine service. After a great day at the races, I ordered a 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Castello Romitorio ($275, not pretty double markup on its $one hundred forty retail charges). Our server, who appeared inexperienced and fearful at meal’s start whilst she recited specials and went into a rote spiel about “we only use the finest of substances,” fetched better glasses. Still, it took prompting from me to get the bottle decanted. She splashily poured the wine directly into the lowest decanter, rather than tilting it and pouring the wine gently towards the facet to aerate it. Some better education is in order. But I’d say Talento is off to a splashy, superb start.