Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Tavola

Location: 2148 W Chicago Avenue
Cost: Around $50 per person

Back in March, Lisa and Noam came to Chicago to celebrate Lisa's birthday. Although it was a few weeks early, timing was tough to fit in a celebration around her busy residency schedule and passover. I used to think that I got shorted by having a summer birthday when kids missed my parties because they were away at summer camp. I realize though that there's not much worse than having to eat matzah based birthday cake or have people buy you potato vodka shots. Ricky has the same issue, but anything to help cut down on the drinks am I right? Anyways, Lisa chose to have the family go out to dinner at one of her favorite Italian restaurants, A Tavola.

A Tavola is a converted house on Chicago Avenue. If you're not looking for it, you'll drive right past since there's no major street sign. There's plenty of parking nearby. There are two dining areas, a small gathering of tables on the first floor and a party room of sorts upstairs. We had this cozy table perfectly off to the side but within shouting distance of the bar.

Our waiter treated us like we were eating in his living room (which we practically were). The drinks were strong, the food came out quickly, and he played well to the intimate setting of the restaurant by letting us take our time and relax. The cost is a what you'd expect of a fine Italian restaurant with starters in the $12 range and entrees around $25. The portions were plenty.

The Food
We got things started with we got a plate of Italian Cured Meats, the special salad with mixed greens, apples, and parmesan, and the homemade pasta appetizer. The pasta was extremely thin and delicate. The sauce was peppery and balanced the richness of the egg yolk pasta nicely.

The Italian Cured Meats

 The Salad

 The Homemade Pasta

We ran the table for the main courses although the selections are somewhat limited. The short rib was tender and juicy, served over a bed of risotto with just the right texture. The gnocchi (the most popular dish) was light with a decent chewiness and a brown butter and sage sauce. The beef tenderloin was cooked properly to order with basic flavors and a nice sear. The whitefish was flaky, buttery, and simple.

The Gnocchi

 The Short Rib

 The Whitefish

The Beef Tenderloin

For dessert we had the chocolate cake and the lemon tart. They were both heavy hitters on the back end of the meal. My family has never objected to an all chocolate dessert, and the tart had a sweet crust to balance out the tangy lemon filling.

The Chocolate Cake

 The Lemon Tart

The takeaway at A Tavola is simplicity and intimacy. The setting is great for a date or quiet get together. The food is straight forward and flavorful. I'm giving them 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.

A Tavola on Urbanspoon

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