Thursday, October 7, 2010

riccardo trattoria, chicago il
2119 n clark st, chicago il
thursday october 7th 2010, 5:00pm-6:20pm

riccardo trattoria is a great italian restaurant located in chicago's lincoln park neighborhood. named after owner and chef riccardo michi, the restaurant boasts a very extensive menu featuring authentic italian cuisine. this night marked our second visit to riccardo trattoria.

since we were attending the jimmy eat world concert at the riveira theatre later that evening, we made an early dinner reservation for 5pm. we arrived just a few minutes late, and had the place to ourselves. our server, a man in his late twenties, poured our water, and went over some the nightly specials and featured menu offerings.

a complimentary portion of tomato bruschetta was brought to the table to start things off. although it was not something i would normally order, i really enjoyed the bruschetta. the tomatoes had a nice tang to them, and the toasted bread was perfectly crisp.

before the appetizers arrived, a wonderful warm fresh bread was served. the standard olive oil was offered for dipping.

our first appetizer for the evening were the foie gras and porcini mushroom crostinis. as the name suggests, this was toasted bread topped with foie gras and porcinis. the crostinis were pure decadence. my wife was only able to eat two bites before determining them too rich. this bode well for me, and i slowly consumed the remainder of the appetizer.

next up were the bacon wrapped grilled sea scallops with fried leeks in a lobster bisquet. although there were only three scallops, they were enormous, and easily took four or five bites each to finish. although scallops wrapped in bacon is not an uncommon offering, this was our first time eating them, and they are something i would not hesitate to order again. the lobster bisquet the scallops were bathed in was also terrific, and i used the fried leeks to soak up as much of it as i could.

for my entree, i selected the penne with langoustine lobster and rock shrimp served in a spicy imperial tomato sauce. this was a great dish with no shortage of seafood. served with the shell still on, the langoustine was sweet and delicious. the tomato sauce had a bit of a kick to it, but not nearly enough to overpower the crustaceans.

my wife's main course was the lobster and crab ravioli in a saffron cream sauce with scampi meat. this was another excellent seafood based course. at this point, i was feeling quite full, and cannot accurately comment on the few bites i sampled. my wife said she enjoyed the dish, and ranks it in the upper echelon of seafood raviolis she has experienced.

although we were both very full, we can always make room for dessert. named cioccolatissimo, my dessert was a warm chocolate cake with a liquid chocolate center. the cake is served in a vanilla coulis with fresh blueberries. although i can find no specific faults with the dessert, i found it to be just ok overall. perhaps some vanilla ice cream as opposed to the coulis would have given it a different dimension in terms of both taste and temperature.

my wife opted for the tiramisu, and although it was not groundbreaking by any stretch, it was everything she hoped it would be.

as i mentioned at the begining of this post, this was our second visit to riccardo trattoria. everything we ate that night lived up to our high expectations of our first visit. this is a restaurant i would recommend to anyone who enjoys italian food. although i feel it is a crime to visit the same restaurants over and over, especially in a city like chicago that is full of amazing places, riccardo trattoria is a place i plan to visit again to try some of their other undoubtedly good offerings.

Riccardo Trattoria on Urbanspoon

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