Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit Module

What’s Coming and What’s Cheap in Chicago Dining

Toni Patisserie & Café, Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana, and Storefront Company


Toni Patisserie’s downtown goodies

BUDGET BEAT: Toni Patisserie & Café

Just when you think that civilization has totally gone to hell in a handbasket, a sweet spot like Toni Patisserie opens. For starters, there’s the location, on the ground floor of the good old Pittsfield Building, in which a reassuring number of lovely circa-1927 architectural details remain intact. The counter-service MO and peaceful vibe make it ideal for a quick bite in conjunction with shopping or a visit to the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, or a Loop theatre. Finally, and most important, the food—classic French baguette sandwiches, salads, soups, savory tarts, and pastries—is terrific. I deeply dug my Asiago cheese bisque ($4.95), the two sandwiches I tried (Le Banh Mi, $9.75, and Le Breton, $7.25), a generous wedge of quiche Lorraine ($6.25), and a tasty little tomato-basil tart ($5.95). The elegant desserts made my head spin, especially the Paris-Brest ($5.50) and the intense salted-caramel chocolate tart ($5.25). Toni Marie Cox has been operating a similar café in Hinsdale since 1994; we’re happy she has now brought her act downtown. 65 E. Washington St.; 312-726-2020.

 

COMING: Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana

Nella Grassano has been on hiatus from the Neapolitan pizza scene for more than a year, and we have been jonesing for the masterfully torched crust she first hooked us with at Spacca Napoli in 2006. This month, the Naples-born third-generation pizzaiola resurfaces with a 90-seat Lincoln Park spot. Deftly manning a 1,200-degree wood-burning oven crafted with bricks straight from Mount Vesuvius, Grassano will pump out 25 varieties of pizza, reinstating the classics and supplementing them with specialties such as a pie with burrata, mozzarella di bufala, and grilled zucchini. Arrivederci, New Year’s resolutions. 1443 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-281-6600.

 

COMING: Storefront Company

Farm-to-table is so 2011. Bryan Moscatello bills his fare as “farm cuisine/modern cooking.” The concept is less Midwest-centric than its predecessor: “It’s more about being well sourced than anything else, and we want partners who take an environmentally correct approach,” Moscatello notes. A monkfish—which he pairs with short-rib fried rice—comes from marine biologist friends in Santa Barbara and gets cooked sous vide to add dimension. (That must be the “modern” bit.) Basically, Moscatello is evolving the farm-to-table movement by tweaking traditional techniques to create more refined presentations. Confused? So are we. But we’re also interested. 1941 W. North Ave.; 773-661-2609.

 

Photograph: Anna Knott

Share

Edit Module

Advertisement

Edit Module
Submit your comment

Comments are moderated. We review them in an effort to remove foul language, commercial messages, abuse, and irrelevancies.

Edit Module