Zibbibo 2.0, Florence

 Chickpeas on toast...Hummus

Chickpeas on toast...Hummus

When I lived in Florence back in 2009, my apartment was in the Santa Croce neighborhood. Because I love nostalgia and tradition, I rented an apartment for the weekend in the same neighborhood, about 5 blocks away from my apartment in 2009. Zibbibo 2.0 is a well regarded restaurant in the area and a Gambero Rosso top pick.

Degustazione Pesce for the evening

Hummus on toast to start. Not much more to explain here. Toast was crunchy, hummus was smooth. I was offered a glass of sparkling as a welcome.

For the entire meal, I drank a singular bottle of wine, Roero Arneis from Valfaccenda. Arneis has depth and length, without all the acidity of Vermentino or the match stick quality of Greco di Tufo. Sicilian Chardonnay would have been a fine option as well, but with my experience drinking Arneis at Punto a week before, I wanted to keep trying Arneis.

 Trio of seafood

Trio of seafood

The trio of fish as a first course was a good exploration of flavors and skills. My favorite of the grouping was, seabass tartare. Unctuous mouth feel, yet with a simple salt and olive oil, preparation. The seabass is a fattier fish, so this makes some sense.

What was described as Char by my server, was marinated for a long time, a bit tipica but spot on, but that's what it's supposed to taste like. A cured fish, with vinegar or some acid based mixture, takes on a texture and flavor that says to me, I'd rather finish this portion of fish earlier, rather than later. I don't want my last bite to taste like curing liquid, because my next sip is going to be wine and those two won't pair well. I'd rather drink a beer with marinated and cured fish.

Scallop was cooked exactly right and the salad was a nice pop. Nothing tricky, just a solid scallop, cooked properly. Thankfully it wasn't stacked on the salad or vice versa, to make the scallop cold. Solid first round of fish, Michael Mina style in trio.

 Best of the trio, sea bass crudo  

Best of the trio, sea bass crudo  

Gnocchi with salt cod, off the charts good. Has a lemon and lime zest, black pepper and chive spike to it, which is superb. Salt cod can be overpowering and texturally chewy. This is where the pasta comes it. The textures are similar, a hint of a bite for each, but the flavors and textures work together. The stronger profile of the sauce really brings things together. I liked this dish and the Arneis wine paired well. 

 Outstanding gnocchi  

Outstanding gnocchi  

Tortellini was stuffed with lobster. The pasta itself was right on, perfect boil and texture, however it stood alone, surrounded by its sauces. This was a shame. I wanted butter all over it!! The pasta needed to be consumed immediately and with the sauces on it. Sitting there without sauce is a mistake. The pasta gets cold fast and actually begins to dry out. Not a good idea. Solid technique on the pasta, poor execution on plating.

 Naked and afraid pasta

Naked and afraid pasta

Gambero was cooked right on sucked that head and ate it but the squid ink flan was the star of the plate. Outranked the prawn by a long shot. A first for me to have a squid ink flan. Call it flan or budino or sformatino, generally I don't care for them. I wrote about this flan mental block in my head previously, flan is dessert and therefore sweet, not savory. This squid ink flan broke all my rules. I still don't think I'm a convert to savory flan, but this helped move me in a savory direction.

 Outstanding squid ink flan

Outstanding squid ink flan

Cioppino. For many Italian Americans, I think that's what most people would see, smell and taste with this soup dish. No, it's not loaded with crab legs, but the concept is basically the same. Octopus was tender in the extreme. The broth was strong with a heavy herb influence. Red wine could easily pair with this fish stew. Arneis is holding up. Not a basic herb profile, I'm guessing bay leaf, but there were bits of green in the broth. Not tarragon but maybe, it was cooked a long time. Solid finish to the multi-course menu.

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Wine offered for dessert was orange Muscat from Sicily.

Homemade Nutella! It's like ganache with hazelnut infusion and nuts so stable and smooth at room temp, so maybe cornstarch? I don't know. Totally spreadable, awesome, fun.

 Homemade Nutella! 

Homemade Nutella! 

The mini cheesecake bites are also lovely. The dessert chef is earning their stripes tonight. A sweeter version of a marmalade is the topping. My palate was a bit fatigued and with the savory finish of the fish soup, these are welcome sweets at the end of the meal.

 A new and interesting digestif  

A new and interesting digestif  

My server, probably had figured out that I was ready to tap, so she suggested a digestif. The milk based digestive is like a lemon bar on the nose. Not strong, cause it's creamy. Limoncello would be lemony in the extreme. This isn't.  New experience, welcome experience.