From the pizza pioneers at Stella Barra to the game-changing cuisine of Nico Osteria, Chicago finds itself in the midst of an Italian Renaissance these days.
But the best things always come in threes.
That's why there's a new multi-tiered restaurant filled with jugs of house-made limoncello and braised short rib ravioli called Cicchetti, where you'll experience Nonna’s meatballs with a winter-spiced Old Fashioned in hand.
Because hey, that's what you eat during a Renaissance. And no one knows this better than executive chef Michael Sheerin, whose new Venetian-inspired small plate mecca follows the ridiculous success of his previous endeavors at Blackbird and Trenchermen.
The dining room's open kitchen lets you view the art in motion. Get your da Vinci on by ordering slow roasted sunchokes and baby artichokes with balsamic caramel followed by squid ink orecchiette with lamb soppressata and the house special: Venetian seafood stew.
But don't sink into your cream-colored booths yet. First, you must experience something they're calling a reverse affogato, which takes the hot/cold melty deliciousness you know, then swaps in espresso ice cream and malted crème anglaise, followed by the perfect touch: a doughnut.
Good luck finding that in Venice.
Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Subway: Red Line to Chicago
Scene: Blackbird/Trenchermen fans and others seeking quality Italian off the Mag Mile.
Best bets: Nonna’s meatballs; braised short rib ravioli; pan roasted skate
Nearby: Elephant & Castle; M Burger; 676 Restaurant & Bar