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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

How often am I in the area affectionately known as the Viagra Triangle? Well, besides watching the cast of The League drink and mouth off at some imaginary version of Gibson's (looks more like a frat bar to me), the answer is hardly ever. But if there is one person who can lure me into this particular playground for the rich and well groomed, it's Paul Kahan and the One Off Hospitality Group. After all, these are the same people behind Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, Publican Quality Meats, Big Star, and The Violent Hour—all of which are, in their own way, incredible.

After trying the Grilled Octopus Fettunta ($15), the better question is where I wouldn't go. Hearty octopus tentacles are cooked first and then grilled to order, so that they are both tender and nicely charred. They sit on top of a grilled slice of bread, along with creamy pocha beans, briny olives, lettuce, and a shallot treviso jam. It tastes both rustic and well balanced, something that kind of sums Nico Osteria up nicely.

Oh, and almost forgot the best part. Each fettunta comes with a side of the crispiest, crackliest roast potatoes imaginable. I mean, these things are all golden brown edges and pillowy insides.

Since it just recently opened, it's hard to know for sure how Nico Osteria measures up to the rest of One Off Hospitality's projects, but there's no question that there's some serious cooking going on kitchen.

Nico Osteria

Editors' Pick

Nico Osteria

  • Gold Coast

1015 N Rush St Chicago IL 60611 (312) 994-7100

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