Disclaimer: This meal was comped.
Late-night menus started their surge about a decade ago, as restaurateurs realized they could fill tables past their peak hours. A special, reduced-price menu past 9PM can draw patrons wanting to eat out while spending less. At upscale institutions such as Moishes, Milos and Ferreira Café, a two-course prix fixe formula will cost you $30 or so, a bargain when compared to their regular fare.
Now, the Fiorellino duo of restaurants is jumping on the bandwagon. Tonight I was invited to sample the new proposition at the second Laurier Avenue location – the original downtown one was previously reviewed here.
tagged: LATE NIGHT MENU
Unveiled around the end of last year, the pizzeria/ristorante occupies the locale previously held by the iconic Laurier BBQ, followed by the short-lived Laurea. The beautiful interior, composed of two separate areas, is done in a classic theme featuring white walls and ceilings set against oak-colored furniture.
The mood was relatively quiet at 9PM on this late-August Thursday night, with a mix of invited influencers as well as Outremont dwellers filling up about half the available tables.
The late-night menu feels like a slightly-abridged version of the full dinner menu. $26 will buy you an antipasti followed by either a primi (pasta), secondi (meat/seafood) or pizza – along with a couple of upgrade options.
Given that most mains on the regular menu exceed $20 by themselves, those $26 are a bargain, all things considered. Otherwise, $21 pitchers of mojito or spritz are on offer in addition to the regular list of cocktails and wines.
Beautifully-baked eggplant halves were silky, sweet and garlicky; with the breadcrumbs on top adding a nice, crunchy bite.
A plate of fried "everything" – shrimp, calamari, clams, smelt, zucchini and eggplant – had a crisp, grease-free batter; bellissimo!
Small, al dente cavatellis were whisked with a medley of molluscs/shrimp and a faint tomato/white wine sauce.
Well-cooked pasta sheets were tossed with cherry tomatoes, chunks of lobster meat and an under-seasoned bisque.
With a team of seasoned nightlife veterans behind it, Fiorellino is in good and capable hands. The principals, which include Massimo Lecas and Roberto Pesut, have redirected their efforts from supper clubs such as Buonanotte and Globe to more moderate, dependable concepts – which also include Porchetta and the fabulous Jellyfish.
While I did find tiny faults with the pasta sauces tonight, the homey food, neighborhood vibe and welcoming service check all the boxes for a locals' fixture; be it for brunch, a night cap or anything in between. The Fiorellino – Italian for floret – brand is clearly blossoming and coming into its own, with each location holding a distinct identity.
Price per person: $26
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.