"Firenze Osteria" A Taste of Florence In The Valley.

Pardon the Punctuation...Being a fan of the show "Top Chef" I like to check out any restaurants related to contestants on the show. This past weekend I dinned at Firenze Osteria from "Top Chef" alumni Fabio Viviani. At the table I was greeted by executive chef Ken Biffar who asked about any food allergies...I said "Yeah I'm allergic to shitty food" and he chuckled, I knew the food was gonna rock my night. Lets get to the goods. A couple of great cocktails started my night as my bottle of Barolo opened up and they are worth mentioning.

Blackberry Old Fashioned: A great mixology spin on the traditional cocktail. Bartender knocked it out of the park and you can't go wrong with this $7.95 drink of the week.

Lavender Lychee: talk about a great floral cocktail. The lavender infused lemonade took it to the next level. This is a dangerous drink that could sneak up on you and put you on your ass.

Pancetta Grilled Jumbo Shrimp: a pancetta wrapped Jumbo shrimp stuffed with gorgonzola on parmesan polenta and garlic sautéed spinach. If there is one app on the menu that you must order this is it. It's smokey, savory, and shrimpy goodness all wrapped in one.

Grilled Pancetta and Burrata Crostino: toasted crostino with fresh Burrata, grilled pancetta, brown butter, and sage. This was a tasty dish. My mouth wanted a touch of sweetness on the finish. The Burrata was fresh, creamy, and hit the spot.

Gnocchi with Rabbit Ragu: house made potato dumpling and braised rabbit ragu. I've had my share of gnocchi and this is by far the best gnocchi to touch my tongue this side of the atlantic. Like giant buttery marshmallows with this perfectly seasoned duck ragu. Also the portion was extremely generous and they could probably charge double for this dish and it would still be worth it. Woke up thinking about it the next day. My favorite dish of the meal.

Dry Aged Rib Eye: an aged Nebraska rib eye served on a bed of asparagus. tender, tender, tender and with a ton of flavor. Can't go wrong with aged steak.

Limoncello Ricotta Cheesecake: ricotta limoncello cheesecake with a graham cracker crust and raspberry coulis. I usually stay away from Lemon desserts. Don't stay away from this one. Some amazing cheesecake. The limoncello was not overpowering and left you lingering for another bite. The consistency of the cake was perfectly creamy. Good stuff.

Flourless Chocolate Cake: with vanilla gelato and chocolate coffee cream sauce. I'm a chocoholic and this satisfied my addiction. Delish.

Firenze Osteria is definitely worth the trip into Toluca Lake. It's a taste of Florence in a great part of the San Fernando Valley. It's also good to know that if you live in the valley like me, you don't have to drive into the city for some fine dining. I can't wait to try some of chef Viviani's other restaurants.