Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eat Here: Quartino

I just got back from a whirlwind weekend trip to the Windy City, where I was checked into the Trump Hotel Chicago, to check out the Trump lifestyle ahead of the January 31st opening of the Trump Hotel Toronto. (Hint: Cannot wait.) There was so much going on in Chicago this weekend. It happened to be the 20th annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday night, which starts the holiday season in earnest with a grand parade led by Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and thousands of their friends. It's the busiest weekend of the year in the city, and there were over a million people taking in the glittery parade and fireworks, a mass of humanity woven across bridges and through the streets while we took in the view from our plush chairs in the hotel's buzzy Rebar cocktail lounge while slinging back martinis and scarfing sushi. (Irony alert: This year's parade was sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, AKA, the Bank of Montreal.)
More on Trump later. For now, I'd like to talk about a delicious restaurant just a couple of blocks from the hotel, called Quartino. Man, was this place ever good. Though it's big and boisterous, chef John Coletta and crew still make everything in house, from the mozzarella to the sauces and sausages, salumi and pastas and desserts, and as a side note, their incongruous Sangria is killer.
They practically sent out the entire menu for our group to taste, from the amazing steamed clams in a pino grigo and red chili broth to sicilian caponata, roasted beet salad with ricotta salata and walnuts, to eggplant parmigiana, beef short ribs, crispy polenta fries, dates wrapped in pancetta, gnocchi with green beans and arugula pesto, skate wing with Brussels sprouts and pancetta, and a couple of signature pizzas including an impeccable thin-crust margherita.
And there wasn't a wrong answer in the bunch.


Boomergirl said...

I've flown through Chicago O'Hare but to date have never been to this other Great Lake city. Your post makes me want to go more than ever.

Isabelle said...

Visited Trump NY last month =)