Monday, October 12, 2009

Florence: Bistecca alla Fiorentina @ Perseus

In Florence, steaks are such a tradition that they have their own name, bistecca alla Fiorentina. Usually measuring at least two inches thick, these giant T-bones come from special cows, I am told, which sets them apart from a "regular" T-bone. Aside from the breed of cow, these steaks are not cooked to order. If you order bistecca alla Fiorentina, you are ordering a rare steak. That's just how it is. A bistecca alla Fiorentina that is cooked to medium or well done is not a bistecca alla Fiorentina. Personally, I would call such a steak a waste of perfectly good beef.

Given the special place that this dish has in Florentine cuisine, it was a "must have" on our list of things to try. The hard part was finding a place to try it. We searched through the online forums, where scores of different eateries received the "best steak in town" title from as many different reviewers and settled on Perseus. This restaurant did not disappoint. When you walk in the door, one look at their refrigerated display case (above) signals that this place doesn't mess around when it comes to steak. They aren't an all purpose restaurant that happens to serve bisteccas. They are a steak place that happens to serve a few other dishes.
Of those other dishes, we decided to try the grilled vegetables, and the beef carpaccio with arugula and grana cheese. This was similar to the salad we had at Pierluigi and it was every bit as good.
The main event, though, was the bistecca. These massive steaks are adeptly carved tableside by the servers, and served with no accompaniments (not that there was any room on the plate).
I can't say whether this was the single best place to get bistecca alla fiorentina in all of Florence, but I can say that if you eat here, you won't walk away disappointed. The restaurant had a nice atmosphere, good service, great side dishes, good house wine, and, being a bit off the beaten path, they don't get a ton of tourists. I think this is a good thing since you have to turn out a better product to attract local customers.


Jen said...

oh man! that looks SO much better than the bistecca's that I had!!!

Sam said...

It was really really good. These guys knew what they were doing.

Cimee said...

i just went there.. a local recommended it... really2 good!