I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about restaurants they care about in Hyde Park. Instead, you usually hear people adamantly professing how little they care for the local restaurants. Admittedly, Hyde Park's restaurant scene is about as hip and happening as people who use the phrase "hip and happening" un-ironically. Well, with the opening of A10, there might actually be something worth caring about.
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The most glamorous entree at Pensiero is not a meat dish, but pasta. Your server will wheel a cart tableside and toss housemade tagliatelle along with a mix of wild mushrooms and pistachios in a wheel of Grana Padano, scraping off plenty of the grainy hard cheese to incorporate into the pasta.
For the past year, Roger has explored Chicago's dining scene the best way he knows how: one bowl of noodles at a time. But these are the ten pastas that stood out from the rest, and they make for a great introduction to Chicago's amazing Italian restaurant scene.
For evidence of Riccardo Trattoria's staying power, I submit the spaghetti carbonara. Tender strands of pasta come dressed in a rich sauce of bacon, egg yolk, and pecorino cheese. I could really geek out here on the finer points of noodle texture, sauce viscosity and adhesion, and ingredient-driven seasoning management, but that kind of tech talk seems too architectural when what we have here is art on the plate.
Lit by gourd-sized Edison bulbs and outfitted in dark, distressed woods, Telegraph certainly feels of a piece with the owners' other Chicago dining and drinking destinations, Webster's Wine Bar and The Bluebird. I dig the vibe this trio is putting out: airy, relaxed, youthful, and unvarnished, but all the while serious about their beverages. And judging by the pastas I tried, Telegraph's culinary bona fides are deliciously on par with its liquid cred.
If you've had your eye on the Vegetarian Option column thus far, you'll know that SE Chicago editor Nick Kindelsperger has gotten off to a promising start, but I'll be taking over for him in the search for delicious vegetarian eats here in Chicago. Nick and I held the torch-passing ceremony in suitably swank digs: the dining room of the recently refurbished and reopened Pump Room, in the Gold Coast's Public Hotel.