***** (5 stars)
Lettuce Entertain You has done a really brilliant job with this restaurant. It is stylish, comfortable, noise levels are reasonable, and the food is superb. It also avoids a lot of the Italian restaurant cliches, with interesting twists on everything from appetizers to pastas.
We started with the truffle garlic bread, which was perfectly toasted, and not overladen with truffle or oil, and nicely toasted, with crisp edges. The serving size was plenty for two to four people, depending on how much you like bread. In other words, I could have eaten the whole loaf myself.
The kale salad was very refreshing, with a dressing composed mostly of lemon juice, but plenty of other complexity.
The artichokes were unlike any I’ve seen before, more like the blossoms they truly are, with long skinny stems. They were fried to a crispy consistency, but not oily at all.
I had the day’s special pasta, a wonderful cheese ravioli that incorporated a whole egg yolk. When broken open it perfectly blended with the accompanying, asparagus, peas and mushrooms.
The only disappointment was dessert. We kept it simple with gelato, Although they were very creamy, neither had much of the supposed pistachio and creamsicle flavors.
This is definitely my favorite of the Italian restaurants I’ve tried in River North, and I’ll be back soon.
52 W Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60654