Having traveled in Italy extensively, and multiple times I am perpetually seeking to recreate our magical eating adventures. Italian dishes to me are pure comfort food, flavors one ends up remembering, and craving days later. It was on one of these days, that I ventured into Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse inside Hyatt Hotel (formerly Peabody) located on International Drive. More importantly, I was eager to connect with the newly promoted Chef de Cuisine of Fiorenzo – Chef Will Walters and chat about his future plans and vision for the Italian steakhouse.
Chef Will Walters, Chef de Cuisine, a Pennsylvania transplant and a craft beer enthusiast, moved to Florida as a culinary extern and began his career under the mentorship of Urban Tide Chef de Cuisine Jared Gross, formerly of Napa and Capriccio Grill. From extern to Line Cook to Sous Chef and Mentor, Walters rose in the ranks at the restaurant to become Chef de Cuisine. With nearly a decade of experience in Italian cuisine, he leads a passionate team in pairing authentic Italian favorites with a modern steakhouse experience. Walters is renowned in the kitchen for his leadership skills, demonstrating a commitment to mentor associates as he was; and, in ensuring sustainable and efficient operations as a member of the hotel’s Green Team.
In case you haven’t yet ventured into Fiorenzo, it is a modern steakhouse experience combining the charm of an authentic Italian restaurant with an open kitchen and pizza oven boasting the stage for new and traditional Italian favorites, fish, and premium U.S. steaks and chops. We wined and dined amongst laughter, joys and challenges of cooking, nostalgic childhood memories, and love of sports (if you are a Philly sports fan, make sure to chat with Chef Walters).
Mille grazie (thousand thanks) to talented Bokeh Studio for shooting these mouth-watering photographs.
We noshed on Chef’s selection of Italian Cured Meats & Cheese including Iberico Jamon, Boar, and Truffle Cheese while sipping Fiorenzo’s twist on Martinis, featuring Bungalow 23, a cocktail mixer hand-crafted and produced locally in Winter Park, FL.
If there is one thing I most miss about Italy (aside from the pizza, that is), has to be the humble spaghetti. Needless to say I couldn’t resist ordering the Black Pepper Pappardelle with beef short rib bolognese, italian parsely, and pepato. Slow cooked short ribs that falls apart beautifully under the fork, velvety smooth sauce so rich and hearty with just the right amount of seasonings, tossed with locally sourced Trevi Pasta’s black pepper pappardelle – it was totally intoxicating and addictive. Yeah we were literally licking our plates..
The specialties on the menu are simple yet innovative, inspired by the seasons and the garden’s daily bounty. A refreshing reminder of all the fabulous dining experiences in my numerous travels to Italy, where in-season isn’t merely an option, it’s the way of life. It’s amazing how a few strong ingredients can come together so seamlessly, as they did with the Branzino, roasted cauliflower, mache, parsnip purée, and cured lemon salmoriglio. The Branzino was lightly dressed, moist, and flaky. Of course anything with lemon is like gilding the lily for me. Kudos for exceptional cooking!
One dish a ‘steakhouse’ must absolutely deliver on is it’s steak. The wet-aged 20 Oz Prime Bone in Rib Eye seasoned with cracked black pepper and maldon salt, simply finished with olive oil, and garnished with a baby kale and roasted tomato dressing with lemon had us swooning in utter delight. Shimmering in it’s own juices, succulent, flavorful, and perfectly cooked (medium rare) – it was indisputably gloriously good!
Of course no Italian meal is complete without a sweet finale and a shot of espresso. Even though we were stuffed beyond belief, somehow we couldn’t resist the delicate quintessential Italian dessert Tiramisu with layers of espresso soaked cake sweet cream, lightly dusted with coco powder, and garnished with chocolate lace. The chocolate Lava Cake with a hazelnut filling served with cinnamon gelato will certainly appease the chocoholics.
Fashionable presentation, attentive service, elegant ambiance, simple but sophisticated menu, and most importantly delightfully delicious flavors – major props to Chef Will for the scintillating conversation and soul-warming Italian dishes. We loved our indulgent dining experience and will be back soon.
For reservations, please call 407 345 4570 or email Orlando.Regency.Dining@hyatt.com