Fort Lauderdale's Valentino's most striking attribute, aside from chef-owner Giovanni Rocchio's impressive menu of homemade pastas and high-end victuals, is its kitchen. Open to the full view of the dining room like a stage to a rapt audience, the entire evening unfolds like a silent movie.
The performance begins well before dinner, however, with the routine of daily prep: the click and flare of a gas burner, and just like that the scent of melting chocolate and sautéed mushrooms (ingredients for two of the evening's specials) fills the air.
Here, refined palates can take refuge. The restaurant specializes in true culinary ambition. Rocchio isn't just some self-important chef with an impressive résumé; he's a culinary savant with a passion that runs so hot, it's helped to propel his Fort Lauderdale eatery into a class of its own.