Modern Mediterranean: Chefs Fabio Viviani and David Blonsky at the James Beard House

Chef Fabio Viviani (from Top Chef Season 5) is fabulous! I had a great time at the Beard House dinner tonight which featured delicious Italian food from Chef Fabio and Chef David Blonsky’s new restaurant in Chicago, Siena Tavern. The hors d’oeuvres were such a big hit — I was only able to sample two out of the four because they were flying off the plates like hotcakes. The burrata with cherry tomatoes (we later learned that they were Jersey tomatoes) was absolutely incredible. Those little tomatoes were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I also loved the squid ink linguini with grilled lobster — I’ve become a huge fan of squid ink pastas over the past year. Both Chef Fabio and Chef David were so friendly and warm, and made the rounds repeatedly throughout dinner to chat with the guests. They were also hilarious during the Q&A after the meal. Next time I’m in Chicago, I’m definitely checking out Siena Tavern!

James Beard House: 167 West 12th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenue)
Siena Tavern: 51 West Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL


Chefs preparing hors d’oeuvres in the Beard House kitchen


Siena Tavern No. 13 (Bombay Sapphire, Mathilde Poire, honey, lime, thyme) and Siena Brew (Good Island Brewery)


Wagyu Beef Tartare with Marinated Pecorino, Spiced Peach Mostarda, and Crispy Potatoes


Olive Oil, Charred Lemon, and Anchovy Cicheti with Parsley, Young Celery, Red Chiles, and Grilled Bread


Prosecco paired with our first course


Hamachi Crudo with Serrano Chiles, Spicy Balsamic, Native Forest Honey, Shaved Summer Truffles, and Crispy Shallots


Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes, Baby Greens, Basil, Red Onion Marmalade, and Focaccia Toast


Squid Ink Linguini with Grilled Lobster, Koppert Cress Rock Chives, and Charred Lemon


Warm Chocolate Butter Cake with Candied Hazelnuts and Hazelnut Gelato


Chef Fabio Viviani chatting with the diners after dinner


The Siena Tavern team in the Beard House kitchen after dinner

Modern Mediterranean: Chefs Fabio Viviani and David Blonsky at the James Beard House