Buon cibo at this free-standing (and free parking) Italian restaurant
Fiorello's Cafe is one of the many local fixtures that I have driven past daily and said to myself "I should try that place sometime"...for years. The stars finally aligned this week, as a vicious craving for linguine with clams hit and wouldn't quit.
I was hesitant to explore new territory, not only because the menu was unfamiliar, but because I would be dining alongside two three year olds. In case you have never dined with --or next to-- toddlers, let me just say it is always a unique experience. When we entered, my toddler anxiety only increased as I saw the decor (nice) and the place settings (breakable). The staff greeted us warmly, however, and led us to our table promptly.
The bread basket selection was enough in itself to ensure a repeat visit. Their focaccia is like a slice of cold tomato pie and was served alongside sesame rolls. Both were delicious. We started with Italian Wedding Soup, almost unfair to the chef as my Mommom herself is the Official Best Italian Wedding Soup Maker on the East Coast. Well, no one tell Mommom, but I think the twins both agreed there is a new champion in town. They slurped up all the soup which had an excellent broth and just the right meatball to escarole ratio.
The children's menu is fairly basic, but ample. The twins had fettucini alfredo and spaghetti, and there was enough for them to have shared just one dish. Very ample serving sizes. I tried both dishes, and both were good.
Finally the Linguine alle Vongole arrived. The smell of the fresh garlic and slightly brackish clams made me glad this was not a date, and I couldn't wait to dig in. Unfortunately upon my first bite, a wisdom tooth issue emerged and I had such sharp tooth pain that I thought I would faint.
Our server was so accomodating in quickly wrapping our food, closing out our check, and offering me water or anything I needed to help as I was clearly not okay. Even in the midst of shooting pain, I felt a paing of disappointment that I wouldn't be able to choose one of the amazing desserts I'd seen on her tray earlier. That cannoli had my name written all over it.
Later that night when my toothache subsided I was happy as a clam to enjoy a perfectly flavored Linguine all Vongole and will be back soon, sans children for that cannoli.
Dinner for one adult and two children: $49 with gratuity