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Summer time, and the grillin' is easy.
That's the choice of Roland Smith, chef and owner of Tsawwassen's Illuminate Restorante (illuminaterestorante.com) who has added the bistecca Fiorentina to his 56th Street establishment's seasonal menu.
Smith says it's a great example of simple, rustic Tuscan cuisine and perfect for the time of the year when the mercury rises, the days are long, and a nice fresh-off-the-grill T-bone steak is what you are craving.
"It's served throughout Italy and called different names, but it's usually a dry-aged, short loin where they cut the T-bone from, and it's a nice, big chunk of steak," Smith said. "The traditional way is to slice the meat and serve it family-style with a salad in the middle of the table as the meat dish, or even as an appetizer. But we serve it here as a 500 gram portion of Angus T-bone, and we do it individual style."
While the meal speaks to a rustic nature, Smith says the plate served at his restaurant uses, "exquisite ingredients, fresh arugula (from Boundary Bay's Earthwise Garden), and catalina beans from the region.
The steak is one of 15 new dishes on the summer menu, and a host of new beers that go well with the ambience of the outdoor patio.
Smith says a good beer pairing is the Innis & Gunn Scottish lager.
"It's been aged in oak barrels which," Smith says, "makes for a heavier, more refined beer that we have on tap'.
"This is a summer dish, with a nice, light salad, marinated beans with basil and lemon, a little olive oil and a nicely grilled steak."
The meal is one Smith said he was introduced to while working at Vancouver's famed Il Giardino under Pino Posterero.
"I'm not traditional Italian, I grew up in Sweden. But Pino showed me regional dishes they grew up with, and it's the one I eat myself. It's quick, summer-oriented, and easy to do."