Monteverde Restaurant, Chicago, 11/17/18

entrance
entrance

Monteverde is a large place on a corner so two sides have windows to the street.  Walls are decorated with pizza peels and mirrors and a really long bar adds seating.  High top tables sit opposite the bar, that is decorated with hanging pasta, TVs and windows into the rest of the kitchen.  On one end is the pastry chef and cabinets of their labors.  The main dining room is filled with closely set small bare wood tables, benches and chairs as well a good sized area of pasta and cookware items for sale.  The menu is all a la carte and many items are designed to be shared.  We ordered a lot of things to try and intended to share all.  Some were quite good but others were really lacking.  Pacing for all was extremely rapid and plates and flatware were not replaced between several of the courses.  Service tried hard and they did refund the price of 2 unacceptable items as well as bring a complimentary dessert.   This place was really bustling, so more is good than not but they also have some kinks to work on.

building
building
interior
interior
bar, note the hanging pasta
bar, note the hanging pasta
interior
interior
interior from the other end
interior from the other end
Frankie shared the restaurant particulars
Frankie shared the restaurant particulars

 

While looking over the menu they brought out really long thin breadsticks.  They were nicely crisp but mildly flavored.

menu
menu
beverage menu
beverage menu
Reserve wine list
Reserve wine list
wine list 2
wine list 2
wine list 3
wine list 3
table set up
table set up
wine
wine
breadsticks
breadsticks
Frankie thought the breadsticks were tall
Frankie thought the breadsticks were really long

 

The Olive Ascolane is fried stuffed olives, goat cheese, sausage, Dijon aioli, rosemary and Miele Thun honey.  There were 4 pieces in the order.  The olives were stuffed with cheese and wrapped in sausage then deep fried and served on a base of aioli.  They had a hint of spice and were pretty tasty.

Olive Ascolane - fried stuffed olives, goat cheese, sausage, Dijon aioli, rosemary, Miele Thun honey
Olive Ascolane – fried stuffed olives, goat cheese, sausage, Dijon aioli, rosemary, Miele Thun honey
from above
from above
inside
inside

 

The Tuscan Kale Salad was served with charred onion tahini vin, apple endive, feta, seeded rye bread and toasted seeds.  The nice chewy kale mixed well with the mild radish and apples.  It was well dressed and filled with textures, especially crunchy ones.  It was a good mix of textures and flavors.

Tuscan Kale Salad, charred onion tahini vin, apple, endive, feta, seeded rye bread, toasted seeds
Tuscan Kale Salad, charred onion tahini vin, apple, endive, feta, seeded rye bread, toasted seeds
from the side
from the side

 

PBT! is prosciutto butter, seeded rye toast, radish, lemon marmellata and is sold per piece. It was rye toast topped with prosciutto and then with radishes.  It looked really pretty but was next to impossible to eat, the proscuitto pulled in solid pieces and the radishes were also hard to bite through.  It also had very little flavor.  Two pieces of this was too much and it was one of the items taken off the bill.

PBT! prosciutto butter, seeded rye toast, radish, lemon marmellatat (2 pieces)
PBT! prosciutto butter, seeded rye toast, radish, lemon marmellata (2 pieces)
separated
separated
single view
single piece
Frankie played in the plant
Frankie hid in the plant

 

Lillian’s Stuffed cabbage was porcini bolognese, crispy polenta, brown butter and was offered with an optional fried duck egg, which we did not order.   The savoy cabbage was cooked nicely but still quite tough to cut but filled with silky consistency meat sauce.  The crispy polenta bits were my favorite parts – fried crispy on the outside and filled with yummy corn goodness.  However again it was decorated with an excessive number of tasteless radishes.  They were too crisp and didn’t blend well with the well cooked main portion.  Also I found it just plain repetitive.

Lillian's Stuffed Cabbage, porcini bolognese, crispy polenta, brown butter
Lillian’s Stuffed Cabbage, porcini bolognese, crispy polenta, brown butter
little closer
little closer
fried polenta
fried polenta
Waiter and Frankie
Waiter Mason and Frankie

 

The Gnocchetti con Pesto was with housemade ricotta, basil, Tuscan pinenuts and pecorino.  We got a half order of this one.  The gnocchi were creamy and the pesto tasty, all topped with some good toasted pinenuts.  This was a good, rich pasta and when placing on the table, we were instructed to not stir it, just scoop out what you want.  It was totally satisfying.

Gnocchetti con Pesto, housemade ricotta, basil, Tuscan pinenuts, pecorino (half order)
Gnocchetti con Pesto, housemade ricotta, basil, Tuscan pinenuts, pecorino (half order)
closer
closer
turned
turned
turned
turned
dished
dished
Frankie found lots of press
Frankie found lots of press

 

The Bolognese was made with hand cut pappardelle, tre carne ragu and parmesan.  The rich velvety meaty sauce coated the tender pasta nicely.  The pasta was a good thickness and well cooked.  This was a good rendition of a classic dish.

Bolognese, hand cut pappardelle, tre carne ragu, parm
Bolognese, hand cut pappardelle, tre carne ragu, parm
closer
closer
little of the kitchen
a little of the kitchen
peek at the dessert area
peek in the dessert area

 

The Cacio Whey Pepe was with Mancini bucatini, pecorino Romano, ricotta whey and a four peppercorn blend.  It was to be tossed at the table.  The thick sticky cheese sauce just got stiffer and stiffer and some of the pasta was not totally cooked.  The pepper seasoning was nice as was the overall taste but the texture was a huge problem with this dish.  It ended up more like a mac and cheese casserole and was the other dish refunded.

Cacio Whey Pepe, Mancini bucatini, pecorino Romano, ricotta whey, four peppercorn blend
Cacio Whey Pepe, Mancini bucatini, pecorino Romano, ricotta whey, four peppercorn blend
closer
closer
stirred
stirred
Frankie only found paper towels
Frankie only found paper towels

 

For dessert we tried the Chocolate Dipped Forgotten Cookie which are sold by the piece.  They are made with toasted coconut, dark chocolate and meringue.  The meringue was made with coconut and then dipped in good chocolate.  They had a wonderful crispy side and some extra chocolate chips inside.  They were from somebody’s grandmother’s recipe.  Very good.

dessert menu
dessert menu
Chocolate Dipped Forgotten Cookie, toasted coconut, dark chocolate, meringue
Chocolate Dipped Forgotten Cookie, toasted coconut, dark chocolate, meringue
tuned
turned
on the side
on the side
upside down
upside down
one more
one more
inside
inside
Frankie checked out the press
Frankie checked out the press

 

The manager also brought the Ricotta Cannoli which are made with marsala, pistachio, candied orange, cocoa nibs and filled to order.  The totally crisp shell was filled with creamy goodness and accented with cocoa nibs on one end and pistachios on the other.  The plate was decorated with even more chocolate and some candied orange peel that was quite good.  Another excellent rendition of a classic.

Ricotta Cannoli, marsala, pistachio, candied orange, cocoa nibs (filled to order)
Ricotta Cannoli, marsala, pistachio, candied orange, cocoa nibs (filled to order)
another angle
another angle
turned
turned
inside
inside
Frankie inspected
Frankie inspected
stuff for sale at checkout
stuff for sale at checkout
fresh pasta
fresh pasta
pastas
more pastas
Frankie looked over the fresh pasta
Frankie looked it all over

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s