Despite feeling like the menu and restaurant concept come off as too corporate, David Tamarkin is surprised by the food at The Florentine when it arrives. "The Florentine’s menu ends up working in its favor. It keeps expectations low. So when the food finally arrives, and you taste it, and you find that it’s been executed perfectly and tastes better than most restaurant food you’ve had lately (and certainly better than any wedding food)—it’s a slap in the face. The good kind."
All in all, Tamarkin likes the food, especially the pastas ("if you’re planning on eating that pasta all by yourself, as an entree, you’ll need the whole portion. Not because the half isn’t big enough, but because [chef Todd] Stein’s pastas have an addictive quality"), but wasn't too keen on the short ribs or swordfish: "Those short ribs are the opposite of exciting, and the marscapone polenta it’s plated with gets Play-Dohish fast. And the swordfish, a steak sliced lengthwise into two filets, arrived a little dry." [TOC]
On the flipside, it seems the only negative comments Phil Vettel had about The Florentine were that two of his favorite dishes from an earlier visit were no longer on the menu. His review glows, painting a colorful picture of many of the dishes, including the veal tenderloin: "Veal tenderloin gets bonus points for its colorful presentation, which includes layers of chickpea puree, dark-green Tuscan kale and cured tomatoes before ending with bright-pink slices of butter-soft meat, wrapped in chewy sheets of duck prosciutto." He also points out that while side dishes are often unnecessary that he'd "make room somehow for the roasted cauliflower, matched to a genuinely spicy Calabrian chili relish. Great stuff." [Tribune]
Saying that Davanti Enoteca has become a hot addition to the culinary renaissance on Taylor Street, Pat Bruno gives much of the credit to chef Luigi Negroni. "After no fewer than three visits (I couldn’t help myself; so many good-sounding dishes, so little time), I came away trying to figure out how to work in a fourth return." He raves about the pastas and wine program, but felt the pizza fell short, "I didn’t like the crust at all, it didn’t have a texture and chew that I could relate to on any level, though the toppings were fine." [Sun Times]