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    Post #1 - January 12th, 2016, 8:13 am
    Post #1 - January 12th, 2016, 8:13 am Post #1 - January 12th, 2016, 8:13 am
    I formerly worked right across the street from Monteverde. I have since retired and moved to Kentucky. I watched the rather slow process they went through getting the space ready. I have not seen any comments on the place on this board. Anyone tried it?


    Monteverde
    1020 W Madison
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 888-3041
  • Post #2 - January 12th, 2016, 9:15 am
    Post #2 - January 12th, 2016, 9:15 am Post #2 - January 12th, 2016, 9:15 am
    Had an outstanding dinner there last week. Might have been the best Italian cuisine I've had in Chicago. Pastas were excellent, but so was everything we tried on the menu (was a party of four and we shared several dishes). Also is a fantastic value. The venue was packed and service was a bit slow at times (to be expected for a new venue that has been slammed since day one) but the staff was warm. Already eager to return.
    Twitter: @Goof_2
  • Post #3 - February 18th, 2016, 3:44 pm
    Post #3 - February 18th, 2016, 3:44 pm Post #3 - February 18th, 2016, 3:44 pm
    We went last night. As a disclaimer, I personally find that Chicago has a glut of pricey and identically uninspired Italian restaurants and that Italian is overrated as a cuisine in general. However, the menu at Monteverde had some intriguing and new items amidst the Italian standbys and so as a belated Valentine's Day (because eating out on Valentine's is probably more trouble than it is worth) meal we chose Monteverde.

    Service was a bit a slow with the waitress disappearing for a lengthy time before taking our order and the courses coming sluggishly. The food was excellent though.

    We tried the arancini which was very crisp on the outside and still gooey on the inside and served with a creamy puree of tuna. Probably the best I have ever had, which might be damning with faint praise as for the most part these are executed horribly. I think it was legitimately good.

    The liver calabrese on soft polenta was next. I loved the chicken livers, creamy on the inside with just a bit of iron flavor. I do think the polenta was a bit too heavy and creamy for my tastes.

    Two dishes came next, the cannelloni and a side of spicy broccolini. The broccolini was comically small in my opinion. Literally give strands of broccolini, though admittedly very good strands. I was hoping for fresh or pickled calabrian chiles as once you dry them they are fairly indistinguishable from fine red pepper flakes. It was also not spicy to me, but may be for others. Now the cannelloni was stuffed with vegetables and lamb, fried and garnished with a lightly sweetened sauce. I loved the textures here and the interplay of the well caramelized stuffing and the sauce.

    Last was a stuffed cabbage with a porcini bolognese and fried polenta cubes. I quite liked it but it wasn't anything exceptional.

    We were blown away as we don't think much of Italian restaurants and our faith in this class of restaurants has dimmed.
  • Post #4 - February 18th, 2016, 10:13 pm
    Post #4 - February 18th, 2016, 10:13 pm Post #4 - February 18th, 2016, 10:13 pm
    botd wrote:We were blown away as we don't think much of Italian restaurants and our faith in this class of restaurants has dimmed.

    After reading your entire post, I'm confused by this conclusion. Did you mean that you weren't blown away or am I missing something?

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #5 - February 20th, 2016, 12:48 pm
    Post #5 - February 20th, 2016, 12:48 pm Post #5 - February 20th, 2016, 12:48 pm
    Ate here last night and was blown away. Every element of the tigelle, mozzarella, country ham, cherry tomatoes and toasted garlic starter was flawless . . . I haven't seen such care into such a seemingly simple dish since being in Italy this past fall. Yet even better were the chicken livers, tomato, peperoncino, lima beans and soft polenta. Our other starter, prosciutto butter toast w/ radish, dill and lemon, was terrific, just not in the same league as the first two.

    Pastas were also fantastic. The hand rolled pappardelle with pork ragu, red finger chile and pecorino pepato was sensational. The pappardelle had just the perfect thin but supple texture, the ragu so tender and delicious. And the gnocchetti sardi, with fresh grated tomato, cherry tomatoes, basil and ricotta was also delicious, and the gnocchetti were perfectly al dente.

    For dessert, a Sbrisolona Cookie Sundae which featured sesame praline, milk & honey ice creams, caramel and banana was a perfect finish.

    This was the best Italian meal I've had in Chicago in ages, really close to flawless. I've recently dined at two of Chicago's newer restaurants that have me loudly singing their praises, Monteverde and Dos Urban Cantina. I would say run, and run fast, to both. Two major gems in my opinion from chefs with finer dining backgrounds now serving their food in slightly more relaxed (and certainly less expensive) settings.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #6 - February 20th, 2016, 2:16 pm
    Post #6 - February 20th, 2016, 2:16 pm Post #6 - February 20th, 2016, 2:16 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    botd wrote:We were blown away as we don't think much of Italian restaurants and our faith in this class of restaurants has dimmed.

    After reading your entire post, I'm confused by this conclusion. Did you mean that you weren't blown away or am I missing something?

    Good question. After reading the post, two contradictory interpretations of this summary are possible, with wording added to illustrate the difference:

    (1) "We were blown away (i.e. very impressed) despite the fact that we don't think much of Italian restaurants and our faith in this class of restaurants had dimmed prior to this dinner"; or

    (2) "We weren't blown away (i.e. we were not impressed) because we don't think much of Italian restaurants, and as a result of this dinner our faith in this class of restaurants has dimmed even further."

    I wonder which interpretation was intended?
  • Post #7 - February 20th, 2016, 9:30 pm
    Post #7 - February 20th, 2016, 9:30 pm Post #7 - February 20th, 2016, 9:30 pm
    #1 seems fairly obviously to me to be the intended meaning.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

    As Carl Sagan once said, to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. And sometimes I just don't have the time and energy to invent the universe. So I figure it's okay to buy some stuff.
  • Post #8 - February 20th, 2016, 9:40 pm
    Post #8 - February 20th, 2016, 9:40 pm Post #8 - February 20th, 2016, 9:40 pm
    We are going Sunday night with our 3 kids. We have a 5pm reservation. Do you think this place is kid friendly? I called and they have a kid's menu, but I was wondering if there were any other kids there when you dined.
  • Post #9 - February 20th, 2016, 11:15 pm
    Post #9 - February 20th, 2016, 11:15 pm Post #9 - February 20th, 2016, 11:15 pm
    susan13 wrote:We are going Sunday night with our 3 kids. We have a 5pm reservation. Do you think this place is kid friendly? I called and they have a kid's menu, but I was wondering if there were any other kids there when you dined.

    For me, the fact that they have a Kids Menu would be enough to not think twice. But if that weren't enough, you're wisely going at 5 pm. Enjoy yourself! :)

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - March 17th, 2016, 11:30 am
    Post #10 - March 17th, 2016, 11:30 am Post #10 - March 17th, 2016, 11:30 am
    Hits and misses on my maiden trip to Monteverde. But the misses were due to oversalting, a problem I haven't read about elsewhere and one I'm willing to attribute to Chef Grueneberg not being in the house that night. Across the board, all of the pastas were a perfect al dente. There are other items on the menu (including an excellent special roasted carrot salad), but pasta really ought to be the focus of any meal here.

    Monteverde - tortellini.JPG
    The tortellini in brodo, pasta stuffed with mortadella in a poultry broth along with lambrusco and parmesan, was the dish that suffered most from oversalting. But the actual tortellini was so good that I'd have no problem giving the dish another try.

    Monteverde - Pappardelle with Abruzzese beef & lamb ragu, Fiore Sardo pecor.JPG
    The pappardelle has, rightfully, gotten a lot of press. The outstanding noodles are covered with a beef and lamb ragu along with Fiore Sardo pecorino. I could see some people thinking it was too salty but while I would have liked a little less, the main components of the dish were so good that I didn't mind the salt boundaries being pushed a little.

    Monteverde - Cacio Whey Pepe -  Gentile bucatini, pecorino Romano, ricotta whey, four peppercorn blend.JPG
    The Cacio Whey Pepe, a play on the classic cacio e pepe that includes ricotta and whey, is a masterpiece. It's a pretty heavy dish but assuming you're sharing plates (which the restaurant recommends), the richness won't be a problem.
  • Post #11 - March 17th, 2016, 2:14 pm
    Post #11 - March 17th, 2016, 2:14 pm Post #11 - March 17th, 2016, 2:14 pm
    To clarify my admittedly confusing post. The restaurant far exceeded our expectations, but our expectations were fairly low. And that is why we were "blown away." On an absolute scale, it was probably not a mind blowing experience.
  • Post #12 - March 20th, 2016, 6:09 am
    Post #12 - March 20th, 2016, 6:09 am Post #12 - March 20th, 2016, 6:09 am
    I'll have to agree with those who have been singing the praises of Monteverde. We managed to snag a couple seats at the bar last night, so we had a ringside seat of the kitchen(s) while enjoying perhaps the best Italian meal I've ever had in Chicago. Chef Grueneberg was in the house last night, and she and her team seemed to be working like a crew that had been together for years. No shouting, no wild running around, no temper tantrums; just a peaceful, wonderful experience, despite a full house.

    Pardon the pictures. It's pretty dark in there and all I had was my crappy cell phone.

    We started out with a few stuzzichini.

    Prosciutto Butter Toast
    Mixed radish, dill, lemon
    Image

    Octopus Speidini
    Leek, baby sweet potato, pimenton, peperonata
    Image

    Hamachi Crudo
    Fresno water, citrus, avocado
    Image

    All of these were great. while the crudo wasn't as beautiful as the version being served at Aviva, it was equally as good.

    Next up, a few piattini

    Tortellini in Brodo
    48-hour poultry brodo, mortadella filled tortellini, lambrusco, parm
    Image

    Fegattini Calabrese
    Chicken livers, tomato, peperonchino, soft polenta, fava beans
    Image

    Stuffed Cabbage
    Porcini bolognese, crispy polenta, duck egg
    Image

    These were all good as well, although I'd rank both the tortelinni and the cabbage above the liver dish. Mind you, the chicken livers are nothing to scoff at, but that 48-hour broth and the stuffed cabbage, which was the sleeper dish of the night, were more to my liking.

    Of course, no visit to Monteverde is complete without ordering some pasta, which we watched being made thanks to a nice old mirror strategically placed over the pasta kitchen's main work station. The two pasta makers were in constant motion the entire time we were there. I'd rank Monteverde's pasta not just the best in Chicago, but able to hold its own against any pasta I've ever had in Italy. By the time it was time to order pasta, we were starting to get filled up, but that didn't stop us from ordering two outstanding pasta dishes, both of which have been talked about upthread.

    Hand Rolled Pappardelle
    Pork neck bone ragu, fennel, red finger chile, pecorino romano
    Image

    Cacio Whey Pepe
    Gentile bucatini, pecorini romano, ricotta whey, four peppercorn blend
    Image

    I can't say enough about the pasta here. when you go, get some!

    Although we were stuffed to the gills at this point, we had been sitting right in front of the dessert station all night and just couldn't resist ordering a couple things that we had watched being made.

    Salted Butterscotch Budino
    Bruleed top, pecan toffee, whipped marscapone
    Image

    Sbrisolona Cookie Sundae
    Sesame praline, milk & honey ice creams, caramel, banana
    Image

    Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
    1020 W Madison St
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 888-3041
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #13 - March 21st, 2016, 10:27 am
    Post #13 - March 21st, 2016, 10:27 am Post #13 - March 21st, 2016, 10:27 am
    Had a great meal at Monteverde last night.

    We started with the 'nduja arancini and tortellini in brodo. The tortellini were good and using mortadella as the filling was an interesting choice, but the arancini blew them out of the water. I would recommend Monteverde to anyone for that one dish alone.

    Next we had the fegattini calabrese (chicken livers with polenta) and prosciutto butter toast. The chicken livers were quite good and the polenta had a great velvet texture. I think it was a bit of a service snafu that the toast came out as a here as opposed to the start of the meal where it made more sense, but it was tasty nonetheless.

    For our pastas we had the cacio whey pepe and pork neck ragu pappardelle. Both were fantastic. The cacio whey pepe uses a four peppercorn blend, lending a much more broad flavor profile than just black pepper and some bites were almost fruity (probably from the pink peppercorns that it looked like the dish included). The pappardelle was just a classically rich ragu over perfectly made and cooked pasta.

    We topped things off with a cookie sundae and the butterscotch. The sundae hit the spot. My fiancee insisted that the budino was the better dessert, but I didn't taste it because the raw scotch makes it non-teetotaler-friendly.

    The decor was pretty whatever and the TVs felt way out of place, but the food at Monteverde delivers.
  • Post #14 - March 26th, 2016, 10:28 am
    Post #14 - March 26th, 2016, 10:28 am Post #14 - March 26th, 2016, 10:28 am
    We had dinner at Monteverde a couple of nights ago. I thought it was very good, comparable to our very best, most authentic Italian restaurants like Piccolo Sogno and Anteprima. Not necessarily any better, but solid, and a welcome addition to the scene.

    Here's what we had:

      OCTOPUS SPIEDINI leek, baby sweet potato, pimenton, peperonata
      ‘NDUJA ARANCINI rice fritters, tomato, olive oil poached tuna
      ARTICHOKE & SUNCHOKE CROSTINI fontina, ricotta, Savini black truffle
      STUFFED CABBAGE porcini bolognese, crispy polenta 13 …with fried duck egg
      TORTELLONI DI ZUCCA winter squash filled pasta, brown butter, apple, parm fonduta
      SKATE WING SCHNITZEL caper salsa verde, chicory citrus salad, parsley new potatoes
      SBRISOLÒNA COOKIE SUNDAE sesame praline and milk & honey ice creams, caramel, banana

    Here are photos of the three dishes not already pictured in previous posts above:

    ARTICHOKE & SUNCHOKE CROSTINI fontina, ricotta, Savini black truffle
    Image
    TORTELLONI DI ZUCCA winter squash filled pasta, brown butter, apple, parm fonduta
    Image
    SKATE WING SCHNITZEL caper salsa verde, chicory citrus salad, parsley new potatoes
    Image
    Everything was very good, each with a nice mix/contrast of flavors and textures. I wouldn't describe any one dish as a standout "do not miss" item any more than the others, but by the same token, everything was quite good and worth ordering again. (FWIW, nothing tasted oversalted, either.)

    They also served complimentary grissini (thin breadsticks) upon seating us, and they were housemade, as good as those at Anteprima, which is high praise indeed.

    The service was outstanding. We arrived at 5:00 when they opened. By the time we left, the place was full. The noise level was quite loud, but not oppressively so, and we were still able to converse without any problem. The overall cost was extremely reasonable. Well done, Monteverde!

    P.S. No one has yet posted their website address. It's monteverdechicago.com.
    Last edited by nsxtasy on March 20th, 2018, 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #15 - May 2nd, 2016, 9:21 am
    Post #15 - May 2nd, 2016, 9:21 am Post #15 - May 2nd, 2016, 9:21 am
    Monteverde was a hit for our anniversary yesterday evening. Everything we had (Artichoke/Sunchoke crostini, Nduja Arancini, Tortelloni, Pork Neck Lasagnette) was excellent, but special mention should go to the crostini and arancini. These are must orders.
  • Post #16 - May 22nd, 2016, 4:49 pm
    Post #16 - May 22nd, 2016, 4:49 pm Post #16 - May 22nd, 2016, 4:49 pm
    I had a very satisfying meal here last week with a few friends, one of whom had a pretty nice camera with him, so hopefully some shots will eventually appear here. My main take-away from Monteverde is that it really delivered at -- and maybe even a bit beyond -- my expectation level. I expected well thought-out and well executed versions of fairly straightforward, over-the-top dishes and that's exactly what we were served.

    Starters were delicious. I especially enjoyed the Roman Vegetable Stufato (spring vegetable friscasee, grilled bread, fried duck egg, basil pesto, pinenuts) and the Nduja Arancini (tomato, olive oil-poached tuna). The Fegattini Calabrese (fried chicken livers, tomato, pepperoncino, soft polenta, snap peas) was also tasty.

    Across the board, pastas were notable -- and we ordered all 7 of them on the menu. Of the 3 from the Atipica section, the Arrabbiata (fried strangozze with head-on shrimp) and the Cacio Whey Pepe (bucatini with pecorino romano, ricotta whey) were my favorites. The one I likely wouldn't order again was the well constructed Cannelloni Saltimbocca (merguez lamb sausage, manchego) because, for me, the merguez kind of overwhelmed everything else. Of the 4 from the Tipica section, the Lasagnette Amatriciana (guaciale, tomato) and the Tortelli Verdi (spring greens, ricotta, asparagus, green garlic, soffritto, country ham) were my favorites but the Gnocchetti Sardi (tomatoes fresh and dried) and the Oxtail Ragu (creste di gallo pasta, trumpet royale mushrooms, ramps, parm) were also items I'd happily order again.

    For us, the Grand Finale was the Ragu Alla Napoletana, which is a massive platter of fusilli in red sauce, served with cacciatore sausage, soppressata meatballs and an enormous braised Berkshire pork shank. It's show-stopper, to be sure, though, I didn't enjoy the dish as much as many we had before it. Perhaps it's because we were pretty darned full by the time it hit the table but also, I found the red sauce with which it was served a little bland and thought the meats, especially the pork, were very salty. It was a fine dish but after having so many other wonderful dishes before it, it didn't quite stack up. But it definitely had a presence attack.

    Other notes: we had a couple of desserts that were fairly forgettable, so I can't really say much more than that about them. The main room, where we were seated, was loud but no more so than one might expect for a room of its size. I was surprised by the sheer size of the place but this was a weeknight and even at 8:00 when we arrived, they were still cranking big-time. Service was a bit gruff but in a friendly way, if that makes any sense. I could tell our server wasn't super patient but eventually we bonded with her and in the end, I did like her moxy. :wink:

    So, all in all, a really enjoyable meal in a fun, casual, high-energy setting. The food was great and really delivered on its promise. I don't tend to eat pasta very often but if I were in the mood for it, Monteverde would be at the top of my list of local places to go for it. And for anyone looking for this type of a meal, I'd recommend it without hesitation or qualification. I don't believe there's any other place in town doing what they're doing . . . and they're doing it really well.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #17 - March 19th, 2018, 8:49 am
    Post #17 - March 19th, 2018, 8:49 am Post #17 - March 19th, 2018, 8:49 am
    Two years in, and Monteverde is still packing in the people. We were six of us making our first trip recently, and I must say that we weren't blown away. Nothing was even approaching bad, but I think you can get pasta that's just as good in dozens of places in Chicago without the need to reserve weeks in advance.

    Our meal got off to a bit of a rocky start when one of our party ordered the Tortellini in Brodo and the waiter rather condescendingly said "that's a soup, you know." Yes, we know, thank you.

    We thought the arancine were over fried to the point of almost being burned. Not quite, but right on the edge so they were very dark and hard shelled. The other pastas we ordered were fine, but I must say "not the best bite of pasta we've ever had." One of the party ordered the special Duck Egg Raviolo with truffle, and rather than being silky it was fried to the point of being tough. The pasta in the Cacio Whey Pepe was unevenly cooked, part was crunchy rather than Al Dente, and part over cooked.

    The star of the night was the Ragu Alla Napoletana, which we had come last. The six of us noshed on it and we still brought home a big box full. Loved the meatballs, the sausage was on point, the pork was falling off the shank as it should be, and the ragu was tasty.

    Service was up and down, and as others have said we had periods where the waiter disappeared and we were even left to refill our glasses from the second bottle of wine. Water, however, was in great supply, with someone always pouring more, perhaps to counter the several dishes (especially the Brodo) that we found to be over salted.

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