The food scene in Bentonville continues to grow at a rapid rate, and shows no signs of slowing down in 2017. With that type of expansion it is increasingly hard to come up with a concept that stands out from the crowd. Fiamma, the newest spot set to open in the next few months, seems to do just that.
Construction for Fiamma, owned by the same folks as Vetro in Fayetteville, is still underway at the location on the Bentonville square at 101 West Central Ave. We were able to visit with chef Dom Luzzo, previously of the Hive, and get an early look at the menu.
The main focus of the space will be clean Mediterranean flavors using simple ingredients packed with flavor. Think herbs, olive oils, tomatoes, mushrooms, and citrus paired with seafood, chicken, and steak. It is the perfect menu for chef Luzzo who grew up with a Sicilian grandmother that introduced him to balancing these very same flavors.
“I believe in simple cooking. Few ingredients that are carefully selected to build layers of flavor,” Luzzo tells us. “I feel too many people try to hide food in too many ingredients and overpowering flavors. Cooking this way allows the food to really shine and you can appreciate everything in the dish.”
It was a technique we saw quickly in some of the dishes we previewed that will make the final menu. From the simplicity of marinated olives, to a pork dish with fried sage and orange, the flavors melded together well while still standing up individually on their own.
The Mediterranean style should be a welcome addition to Bentonville, that has so far focused heavily on modern American or high south cuisine. It adds a richness to the culinary scene along with spots like Oven and Tap’s unique take on Italian and Pressroom’s Pacific Northwest focus that should help keep things interesting.
“I have been a part of the Bentonville scene for a while now, and I am really excited about what we are going to offer, Luzzo continues. “There are some great places that have come in here and thankfully we only complement instead of compete.”
Seafood was a large focus of the menu with an exceptional shrimp dish along with one of the best octopus dishes I have had. Each brings just a small note of spice, strong enough to know that it is there, but subtle enough for even the faintest of palate.
The menu is built around a dining experience. It makes for a perfect four to five course meal. Everything is light and approachable, making it easy to get an appetizer or two, maybe a plate to share, and a full entrée. Then finish things off with a dessert. Speaking of we ended things off with a nice light yogurt panna cotta with fresh citrus fruit and nuts.
Fiamma is expected to be open by early spring and will take a very bar centric design style that allows quality cocktails and carefully selected wines to complement the food menu. We will keep track of their progress and update with more information as the opening is nearer.