Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hole in the Wall

Location: 254 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook
Cost: About $30 per person

So it was decided by the powers that be in my family that I don't own enough nice clothes to tide me through my sister's upcoming wedding. Between the rehearsal dinner, brunch, and multiple preparatory get togethers I would need a few "fresh" outfits. So I was assigned to go shopping for a variety of preppy summer based things. I ended up meeting up with my parents in Northbrook afterward. In our typical fashion, we went out to a Sunday dinner at 5:30 PM. Luckily though, because of our particular location and timing, we had the perfect circumstances to get into The Hole in the Wall.

The Hole in the Wall is right down the road from Charlie Beinlich's, and it's another institution of the northern suburbs. This place is rightfully named for its size. They have seating for maybe 30 people in a space that couldn't fit one more. There's a dry erase board menu on the wall which makes for some major neck craning depending on your seat. If you don't go at an off hour you could be looking at a daunting wait time. While we were eating, I loved watching people peek in at the off chance that they might have an open table and having a really excited look on their face when they got seated. The whole place has a very homey feel with pictures of celebrities and the owner lining the walls.

The service is solid and knowledgeable. The only issue is that the bus boy's ass hits you a good ten times throughout the meal. The cost is on par with most Italian restaurants. The entrees range anywhere from $15 to $30 and the portions are gigantic.

The Food
The family split a Hole in the Wall Salad to get things going. This beautiful monster had plenty of salami, peperoni, provolone, olives, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and a variety of other things. It had a tangy italian dressing and rivals any house salad around.

 The Hole in the Wall Salad

For the entrees my mom got the Lamb Chops, my dad got the Shells with Lamb Meatballs and Sausage, and I got the Chicken Vesuvio. I don't do well with small portions of rich food like the lamb chops because of the delayed fullness feeling that always gets me in trouble. With my mom ordering it, I got to have a taste though. They were savory as could be with a nice exterior crisp and a perfectly pink center. My dad's pasta may have been the strongest dish on the table. The sauce had this incredible sweetness on top of a mild acidity, but the real star of the dish was the lamb meat ball. It was even better than Jeff Schneider's turkey meatballs. The vesuvio was oily and coated in herbs, just like it should be. The skin separated just off the edge of the chicken so that you could enjoy the crispiness without losing any moistness from the meat. I think Rose Angelis has a slightly better version, but this one was solid on all accounts.

The Chicken Vesuvio

The Shells with Lamb Meatballs and Sausage

 The Lamb Chops

I don't always tell you to pack up your stuff and leave the city limits, but Hole in the Wall is definitely worth the trip. It's hard to find a flaw in any of their dishes, and if you can find a table, you're in for a fantastic meal. I think I'd give the edge to Rose Angelis, but I'm giving Hole in the Wall a Pearl Necklace as well. 5 out of 5.

Francesco's Hole In The Wall on Urbanspoon


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