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    Post #1 - November 30th, 2004, 10:47 am
    Post #1 - November 30th, 2004, 10:47 am Post #1 - November 30th, 2004, 10:47 am
    It's LEY, but the concept sounds interesting: Italian style progression dining for $35 prix fixe and a fairly large wine list. I'm curious to learn how much involvement Rick Tramonto actually has. Anyone been or have some more info?

    Thanks,

    Simon
  • Post #2 - November 30th, 2004, 11:06 am
    Post #2 - November 30th, 2004, 11:06 am Post #2 - November 30th, 2004, 11:06 am
    From Metromix-opens today.Sounds like a great concept-

    Rich Melman, chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) has teamed up with acclaimed chef Rick Tramonto Tru and chef David DiGrigorio, formerly of Maggiano's Little Italy to open a new Italian restaurant and wine bar in the former Papagus Greek Taverna space. The restaurant is scheduled to open Nov. 29. The restaurant will offer a three-course prix fixe menu (about $35) served in Italian-style progression- meaning the pasta as an actual course instead of the super-sized entree most Americans are familiar with, and the main course proportions will be a tad smaller than your average trattoria. The menu will begin with antipasti, move to pasta or risotto, and finish with a selection of meat, fish and vegetarian offerings. A dessert and cheese course will be offered for those who saved room (priced separately). The adjacent wine bar will offer a small plates menu ($3-$7 each), and will feature an indoor piazza. About 40 wines will be served by the quartino (about a third of a bottle), or by the mezzeliter (about two-thirds of a bottle) instead of a traditional glass pour. There will also be a tasting program dubbed "just bring me wine" with a trio of flight choices.
  • Post #3 - November 30th, 2004, 12:38 pm
    Post #3 - November 30th, 2004, 12:38 pm Post #3 - November 30th, 2004, 12:38 pm
    didn't realize it's not open yet. should have done my homework first. thanks for the additional info.
  • Post #4 - November 30th, 2004, 2:36 pm
    Post #4 - November 30th, 2004, 2:36 pm Post #4 - November 30th, 2004, 2:36 pm
    It is a great idea, at least insofar as it's something REALLY obvious but admittedly not often done in these parts. I don't eat in Italian restaurants often, in part because we eat Italian food at home most days of the week, in part for other reasons, among which is prominently the fact that the majority of them are not geared toward eating in the Italian way with regard to courses. Too bad it's a LEYE place but maybe the idea will catch on.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #5 - December 6th, 2004, 3:39 pm
    Post #5 - December 6th, 2004, 3:39 pm Post #5 - December 6th, 2004, 3:39 pm
    hit it last friday, and had a reasonably good experience. the real reason we ended up there is that my steady betty has been sitting on a large pile of lettuce gift certificates and we're essentially out of options, besides frittering away $6 every once in a while at Bao.

    concept is, $35.95 for a pretty generous round of antipasti, two tastings of pasta, and a main course, which you choose from a list of 6 or so. each thing was pretty good, if unexciting, and the service was seemless: quite impressive for the 3d day open to the public. It is too much food, but that shouldn't bother too large a segment of the chicago pizza and ribs crowd.

    antipastis included marinated salmon, thinly sliced sausage which I believe was soprasetta (when asked the waiter simply said "salumi," providing no help), prociutto, braised fennel, and a nice, bracingly bitter radicchio salad. when we noted how nice the prosciut was, they brought us more.

    pastas were not very impressive, some manicot-type thing, and then orrechete with spinach and sauage. they brought these around on family style plates and put the second on top of the remains of the first, which seemed odd since there were remnants of the tomato-sauced first that clouded the garlic-oil taste of the second.

    for mains, i ordered a really nice braised pork shank, which curiously shared the menu with braised short ribs (curious to have the two braised meats on such a short menu). this was a really nice preparation, coming in a little cast iron pot with lots of juices and braised roots. We also had swordfish, grilled with a tomato compote and braised fennel. It was also nicely done, and was one of two seafood offerings (the other was monkfish osso buco, which sounded good except for the monkfish part). Other offerings were a chicken breast, and steak.

    The wine service was very competent, and the list was long if not terribly interesting. They also provide quartino and (forget the word mezza-something) options that provide more flexibility, which will come in handy up front at the bar when ordering lots of little plates. There were also pairing options, priced at $15, $28, and $50 that gave 3 glasses for the 3 courses. We chose the $15 option and got 3 interesting glasses each, which the server and sommelier worked with us in choosing.

    All said and done, it's too much food, and at $140, too much money for the quality. nonetheless, I would return and maybe even spend real money to sit in the front and order individual antipasti and drink.
  • Post #6 - December 6th, 2004, 6:12 pm
    Post #6 - December 6th, 2004, 6:12 pm Post #6 - December 6th, 2004, 6:12 pm
    Sounds like a decent start for an idea with a lot of promise if they keep tinkering. I hope it will become a bit more of a value proposition as it develops than it now sounds. Nonetheless, I've got an LEYE gift cert. growing mold, and I think that's where I'll take it.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #7 - December 7th, 2004, 5:20 pm
    Post #7 - December 7th, 2004, 5:20 pm Post #7 - December 7th, 2004, 5:20 pm
    I read a blurb in some publication where Melman discussed his revelation of what a sensible way this is to eat after a recent trip to Italy. Now, I have nothing against Melman. I guess he has done, on balance, more good than bad here. But the idea that the southern European way of eating was news to him sure sounded like a phony marketing angle. Apparently, he previously thought that massive buckets of food served in one or two courses, real quick and out the door, was the right way to go.
  • Post #8 - December 7th, 2004, 6:03 pm
    Post #8 - December 7th, 2004, 6:03 pm Post #8 - December 7th, 2004, 6:03 pm
    JeffB wrote:I read a blurb in some publication where Melman discussed his revelation of what a sensible way this is to eat after a recent trip to Italy. Now, I have nothing against Melman. I guess he has done, on balance, more good than bad here. But the idea that the southern European way of eating was news to him sure sounded like a phony marketing angle. Apparently, he previously thought that massive buckets of food served in one or two courses, real quick and out the door, was the right way to go.


    I can't help being reminded of the cover article in October's Saveur Magazine. Therein, Melman participated in a roundtable and luncheon at Jonathan Waxman's new place, Barbuto, in New York. The topic of discussion was the evolution of the American food scene over the last ten years. Besides Melman, the roster of participants included Deborah Madison, Zarela Martinez, Mario Batali, Chuck Williams, Mimi Sheraton, Coleman Andrews, and Dorothy Kalins. At any rate, their luncheon was served in the Italian style, and the menu was as follows:

    Crostini di Baccala
    Insalata di Calamari Gremola & Aioli
    Maccheroni con Funghi Selvaticci
    Manzo ai Ferri
    Calvolfiore
    Finocchio e Pecorino
    Torta al Limone

    Melman (and his LEYE) calls to mind nothing more than Levi-Strauss's portrait of the bricoleur.

    Regards,
    Erik M.
  • Post #9 - December 7th, 2004, 6:16 pm
    Post #9 - December 7th, 2004, 6:16 pm Post #9 - December 7th, 2004, 6:16 pm
    JeffB wrote:Apparently, he previously thought that massive buckets of food served in one or two courses, real quick and out the door, was the right way to go.


    Correction. Massive buckets of food that all taste exactly the same.
  • Post #10 - December 7th, 2004, 6:56 pm
    Post #10 - December 7th, 2004, 6:56 pm Post #10 - December 7th, 2004, 6:56 pm
    Erik M. wrote:Melman (and his LEYE) calls to mind nothing more than Levi-Strauss's portrait of the bricoleur.


    Very well put.
    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.

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