The Florentine

So, recently I received an invite to experience the JW Marriott in Chicago and their spa. It was an amazing weekend in the city and much needed getaway. Of course, being the foodie I am, I was almost as excited about dinner at The Florentine as I was about the massage.

With a lovely selection of menu items using fine ingredients, it was not an easy decision when it came time to order. I tried a variety of menu items that were all beautifully presented and magnificent in taste.

I learned that nearly all of the pastas are made in house - everything but the Fregola!

It was nice to see that there was a good selection of craft beers on tap, including many local brews. However, I opted for a prosecco as we perused a menu and hubby went with a Renaissance Wallbanger. We also had some sips of wine as we progressed through the meal, paired by manager/sommelier Alexandria Sarovich.

We were treated with a hearty bread basket of sea salted ciabatta, onion rosemary foccacio and grissini.

Our first starter was the Mozzarella di Buffalo, a high quality fresh mozzarella hand smoked in Italy with pickled shallots, basil pesto and served with crostini. This is a great sharable that was so good I would have been happy with nothing but this to eat. But, then it was on to the Capesante, pan-seared scallops, sun choke puree, pancetta vinaigrette & sun choke chips. Scallops are one of my favorite of all foods and these were cooked perfectly with fabulous accompaniments.

Hubby ordered the Stinco di Maiale (braised pork shank, potato parsnip puree, braised swiss chard, parsnip chips, sugo) and I went for the Meagre - pan roasted mediterranean black bass with braised escarole, butter beans, chorizo and saffron broth. It's in my top five meals I've had this year. So many flavors fused together perfectly and since butter beans are one of my very favorite vegetables, I was so happy to see them presented with this dish - and in the most delicious way. You never see butter beans served in restaurants and this made me very happy.

We also ordered a couple vegetables from the contori menu - baby carrots with parsnips, hazelnuts, thyme and maple butter and brussel sprouts with pancetta, fontina foduta and parmesan breadcrumbs. Chef Zachery Walrath knocks it out of the park with each and every dish. Such a great, creative incorporation of texture and crunch to everything and an amazing meld of flavors that leaves you craving the dish long after you've eaten it (I still can't stop thinking about the Mozzarella di Bufala and the Meagre!)

For dessert, we went with something light, a gelato and sorbet trio of peach, blueberry and mango.

Tucked away on the 2nd floor of the JW Marriott, the Florentine is romantic and intimate and a perfect place to savor such wonderful dishes and time with your date or friends.

The Florentine
151 W. Adams
Chicago, IL