Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Piccolo Sogno

Location: 464 N. Halsted St.
Cost: Around $60 per person with drinks

So the day finally came when Josh and I took the boards. Once it was finally over the celebration began. The plan was for the Finkles and my parents to come down to the city. We'd grab a drink then head off to dinner. However, things don't always go as planned, and the car broke down as everyone was driving downtown. So we jumped in our car and picked everyone up. By the time we got back downtown we had to skip drinks and head straight to the restaurant.

Picking a place for such an occasion was difficult at first, but then my mom said she wanted somewhere with a good patio. There was really only one option once she said that... Piccolo Sogno.

Logistics
The restaurant has a really interesting layout. The first room has a bar and an antipasti station, but they've squeezed a few tables in too. Then there are two decent sized indoor dining rooms. The big show is the back patio. It's well decorated with dim lighting, greenery, wood tables, and white canvas umbrellas spanning over the tables. I figured a reservation would be tough to come by, but we planned things pretty early and were able to request a patio table. Sure enough it was like 60 degrees out and a bit misty. The heat lamps and umbrellas made it all work out though. It is often said that they have the most beautiful patio in the city. I haven't been everywhere, so my claims can't be that lofty, but this one fantastic patio.

The service was ideal. The waiters were very knowledgeable, and they even put up with my dad ordering with an Italian accent. The place comes off as really pricey because of how nice the atmosphere is, but it's all what you make of it. You can get away with two pastas and a salad for $30, or you go all out. Most entrees were between $18-25 while pastas, pizzas, and other appetizers were from $10-15. The wine selection was pretty thorough as well.

The Food
It took us a while to figure out with all the great options available, but for starters we got an Antipasti Platter, the Fried Calamari, and the Arugula Pizza. The pizza was flat, crispy, and had pungent flavors of Reggiano and arugula. The calamari was served in a paper "artichoke", well seasoned, and had a proper amount of crisp. The Antipasti Platter had a nice assortment of thinly cut cured meats, roasted veggies, and cheeses. My dad and Mr. Finkle seemed to be pretty big fans.

The Arugula Pizza

The Fried Calamari

The Antipasti Platter

For the main course our table got the Pappardelle with Spicy Lamb Meatballs, the Spaghetti Di Mare, the Alaskan Halibut, the Braised Beef Short Ribs, the Grilled Salmon, the Ravioli Piccolo Sogno, and the Whole Roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass. The sea bass was off the menu, but if you ask your server about it then you'll be good to go. It's hard to miss when they present a whole roasted fish to a diner before cutting it up and dressing it. The fish was unbelievably flaky, and the citrus dressing and artichokes were delicate yet flavorful additions. The ravioli came with pine nuts and a marsala glaze. The short ribs melted and brought an unmatched level of savor. The spicy lamb meatballs in the pappardelle had a gentle kick while the red sauce they were dressed with was rich and tangy. The spaghetti came out black from squid ink and was loaded with shellfish.

The Mediterranean Sea Bass

The Pappardelle with Lamb Meatballs

The Spaghetti Di Mare

The Beef Short Rib

The Grilled Salmon

 The Ravioli Piccolo Sogno

Overall
From the atmosphere to the service to the food, Piccolo Sogno was on their game. I'm a sucker for whole fish, and theirs took the cake. The setup is good for anything from a large family meal to a romantic evening. The main point is that you need to go. I'm going with a Pearl Necklace, 5 out of 5.


Piccolo Sogno on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

  1. Urgh. I live less than a block away from here and I STILL haven't had a chance to eat here yet. Technically it's West Town (or right on the border), though. I need to go ;_;

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  2. Disagree with the service on this one. When I was there, they were not on their game and brought out the entrees before the appetizers... I'm glad to see that isn't always the case.

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  3. Thanks for this great review, Jeff! I've been meaning to check this place out. I remember what an incredible feeling it was to finish step 1 last year (I assume it was step 1 you took?). Congratulations on being done!

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