Monday, August 26, 2013

Riccardo Trattoria

Location: 2119 N Clark
Cost: About $35 per person

I've often referenced my old running path in past posts. To give you a better idea though, I would start at North and Clybourn, run up Clybourn to Webster, head East to Clark, go South to North, and finally make my way west to Clybourn. The square was somewhere in the 3-4 mile range and had a ton of good restaurants to pass by. It was great catching whiffs from Sweet Mandy B's, and it was always a pain making it through the busier parts of Old Town. That aside, when I would turn down Clark there was always a line building up outside of Riccardo Trattoria that drew my attention. Then my friends Mariel and Reed told me it was their favorite restaurant. So the other night, Jenny and I decided to check it out.

Logistics
If it weren't for all of the customers, you could easily pass Riccardo Trattoria without noticing. They've got this little blue awning next to another one of my favorite spots in Lincoln Park, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders. It's practically impossible to park around there, so I suggest you find alternate means of transportation. They take reservations, and I suggest you make one, even on a weeknight. The two of us were the youngest people in the restaurant by a good twenty years with exception of the staff. The cost is slightly more than the average Italian spot with pastas around $20 and other entrees a little more than that, but it's worth it. It's also safe to say that you won't leave hungry.

The Food
I wasn't going to make a point of this, but since it's Jenny's favorite part of the meal, I'll let you know that the bread was very good. They bring out a basket with your standard white Italian loaf and a bunch of focaccia sticks.

The Bread Basket

She got the Minestrone Soup to start with, and I ordered the Panzanella. I don't think we were expecting the Genovese variant of minestrone with the heavy herb and bean presence, but I loved it. In retrospect, the panzanella was a dumb order. They give everyone a little piece of bruschetta as an amuse bouche of sorts, and the salad was mostly just a bunch of chopped up bruschetta with avocado. It's not that it wasn't tasty, but I wish I'd mixed it up a bit more.

 The Minestrone Genovese

The Panzanella

For the main course Jenny went with the Sea Bass, and I got a half order of the Gnocchi and a half order of the Orecchiette with Boar Sauage. The sea bass was lightly breaded and cooked properly. It was flaky with this natural oiliness. The orecchiette was rather al dente, but the boar sausage crumbles mixed nicely with the pecorino cheese to make for a great dish. The gnocchi was my favorite item of the night. The texture was spot on, and the little bits of prosciutto in the dish added a strong punch.

The Sea Bass

 The Gnocchi

The Orrechiette

Overall
Riccardo Trattoria held up to its reputation. The atmosphere is cozy, and both the seafood and pasta dishes were strong. It was definitely one of the better Gnocchi plates that I've had in a while. I'm giving them 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.


Riccardo Trattoria on Urbanspoon

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