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Coco Pazzo Review (Updated): A New Chef Aces the Italian Classics

Chef Federico Comacchio is a fine reason to return to this River North standby.

Photo: matt savage, averyhouse.net

Coco Pazzo chef Federico Comacchio has filled the menu with faithful Italian dishes like this pappardelle coniglio. 

Coco Pazzo (300 W. Hubbard St., 312-836-0900). Italian.

★★½ (very good to excellent)

$$$$ ($50-plus per person for a meal, without tax, tip, or alcohol)

With Italian-born Federico Comacchio now running the kitchen, this stylish Tuscan spot attracts downtowners for exciting food as well as the vibrant loftlike space. Creative appetizers include a delicious asparagus flan on a sabayon spiked with apple-quince saba (reduced fruit juices) and topped with a poached egg. Excellent daily risotto and rabbit-filled manicotti gratin with Swiss chard and forest mushrooms are standout pasta courses. Spicy seafood stew followed by a chocolate caramel tart with caraway, orange-caramel mousse, and pistachio nib gelato makes a winning meal. Gems abound in a 200-plus Italian wine list.

Dishes We Liked: Italian spiced sausage with Umbrian lentils ($11), pappardelle all’anatra ($19), roasted pancetta-wrapped quail ($28), McIntosh apple tart with vanilla gelato and grappa cream ($9)

New restaurant reviews, updated to reflect critics’ recent visits, appear each month in Chicago magazine, in Dine, as well as on our website. Listed restaurants are rated from one to four stars, where one is good, two is very good, three is excellent, and four is superlative. Coco Pazzo increased its rating from one and a half to two and a half stars in the June issue, on newsstands now.

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