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Follia, best Italian restaurant in Chicago (this week)?

Follia, best Italian restaurant in Chicago (this week)?
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  • Follia, best Italian restaurant in Chicago (this week)?

    Post #1 - June 27th, 2004, 10:12 pm
    Post #1 - June 27th, 2004, 10:12 pm Post #1 - June 27th, 2004, 10:12 pm
    Of course, there is no best Italian restaurant in Chicago, because there is no standard of comparison which fairly encompasses deeply satisfying old school Ital-Am spaghetti places and the ubiquitous Northern Italian places that became so prevalent in the 80s and 90s AND the tiny handful of truly authentic Italian restaurants attempting to replicate the primi-secondi style of serving in an American setting.

    Image

    That said, dinner tonight at Follia was the finest Italian meal that I've had in some years, at least. I know that Merlo is usually given pride of place among the truly Italian Italian places, and it's certainly a restaurant with dishes of excellence, while Follia has tended to be seen as a place that mainly does pizzas and small stuff well. Well, all I can say is Merlo has never done for me what Follia did tonight, and I believe Follia has truly come into its own after two years in operation as a ridiculously-trendy looking spot on an exquisitely desolately urban stretch of Fulton Market overlooking a bar called Dino's, one of those enormous windowless warehouse buildings that looks like an entire hidden world, and the Red Hot Chicago hot dog company whose giant red wiener grinned at me all through the meal.

    Image

    I started with the obvious and much admired caprese. To be honest, I was a bit put off when it came-- the ratio of tomatoes to cheese seemed to be geared for attractiveness rather than how I'd actually want to eat it, and I've come to believe, after having most of the best capreses I've ever had at Piccolo Mondo, that chopped basil is a must. Was Follia going to be a case of empty flash, like the clothes hanging in the window?

    One bite changed my mind. The mozzarella was outstanding, a resilient skin giving way like a fruit to reveal the softer "meat" within, which had a slight sourish tang. Taken in any combination-- with the outstandingly flavorful tomatoes, with a little piece of the basil, with the bread scooping up olive oil and seasoning-- it was marvelous, revealing depth of flavor in this simplest of salads that, alas, pushed my beloved Piccolo Mondo into second place.

    Image

    Primi was asparagus ravioli, delicate and feathery in a cream sauce, the equal of any of Merlo's pastas for texture and with subtleties of flavor that made it the best pasta dish I've had in recent memory. Cream sauces so often suppress flavor, this one reminded you what the cream was supposed to be doing with the other flavors in the first place.

    I had actually planned to stop there, but I had been so impressed that I decided I had to see if the kitchen's abilities extended as far as the secondi courses which no one had particularly been impressed by before.

    Image

    I let myself be talked into a veal dish-- basically wienerschnitzel, whatever the Italian is for that-- and though it was typical of the sort of thing you would have in Italy as a second course, frankly I should have tried something else that would have challenged them more. This was a simple (but also easy to screw up) breaded veal chop, pounded flat, with a bitter arugula and lemony salad on top of it. It was good, it was expensive, I was full enough that I brought half of it home.

    The one thing they're supposed to be so good at that I did not try was the pizzas-- they have a woodburning oven and to judge by the oohs and aahs at the table of twentysomethings behind me, whose love lives provided most of my entertainment for the evening, the pizzas are something well worth going back for. But so, I would say, is everything on the menu.

    Follia
    953 W. Fulton Ave.
    312-243-2888

    [images relinked 6/3/09]
    Last edited by Mike G on June 3rd, 2009, 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - June 28th, 2004, 2:14 am
    Post #2 - June 28th, 2004, 2:14 am Post #2 - June 28th, 2004, 2:14 am
    Mike G wrote:... asparagus ravioli, delicate and feathery in a cream sauce, the equal of any of Merlo's pastas for texture and with subtleties of flavor that made it the best pasta dish I've had in recent memory. Cream sauces so often suppress flavor, this one reminded you what the cream was supposed to be doing with the other flavors in the first place.


    I'll take your word on the flavour but that looks like a rather massive amount of cream sauce in proportion to the ravioli...

    ...basically wienerschnitzel, whatever the Italian is for that... breaded veal chop, pounded flat, with a bitter arugula and lemony salad on top of it. It was good, it was expensive, I was full enough that I brought half of it home


    Scaloppina alla Milanese (named after Mailand, a city in southern Germania)... It sounds like it was all very tasty but I find the salad on top of the veal rather nouvelle or 'Merigan (height is not a traditional Italian virtue)... Why not leave the combining of salad and fleshmeat up to the diner, without softening the crispness of the fried breading? (digressing, I confess: I've never understood the submerging of tempura in broth).

    How much does all this set one back? It sounds possibly/probably worth going to, even for someone who avoids Italian restaurants assiduously, at least in a fit of madness.

    :D :shock: :twisted: :oops: 8) :o :wink:
    A

    P.S. I'm surprised by the very positive references to Piccolo Mondo, though I readily admit I haven't been there in many, many years. I used to shop at their mini-bottega in a pinch when I lived in Hyde Park (mercifully a distant memory) but the restaurant side never seemed all that interesting; I only ate lunch there a couple of times.

    What's it like these days? What do they do well? And for that matter, is the shop still there? Perhaps those questions are better addressed in a separate spago, since this one should probably focus on La Follia. But I am curious...
    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 #3 - June 28th, 2004, 6:44 am
    Post #3 - June 28th, 2004, 6:44 am Post #3 - June 28th, 2004, 6:44 am
    I didn't think it was a lot of cream-- it's a flat plate, not a bowl, if that makes it seem more reasonable. The real point is that too often cream sauces to me act as flavor extinguishers, not a harmonious blend of flavors as this did.

    I would agree that there could have been a better place for the salad than the top of the veal-- less because it made it soggy (eaten with reasonable speed, it didn't) than because the oil on the salad leached onto the veal, a flavor it didn't need. I picked it off pretty quickly.

    The cost? Not cheap, but if one isn't a sucker who selects the veal chop off the specials menu...

    As for Piccolo Mondo, it is a place I have always found a pleasantly untrendy grownup refuge after a couple of hours at Mus of Sci & Ind with screamin' kids-- entrees and pasta dishes are basically B+ across the board, it's not exceptional in that regard but it rarely disappoints, either. What has always stood out for me is the caprese, that simple and ubiquitous dish that so often is done badly. Chopped basil to release maximum flavor, extremely fresh mozzarella, well-chosen tomatoes, a perfect hand with the salt and pepper-- an object lesson in how to do a few things as right as possible.
  • Post #4 - June 28th, 2004, 7:57 am
    Post #4 - June 28th, 2004, 7:57 am Post #4 - June 28th, 2004, 7:57 am
    After having the extrodinary antipasto at Merlo Saturday night, I'm really interested in comparing it to the Caprese at Folia. The mozzerella at Merlo was some of the best I've ever had and the memory of it still lingers. Do you know if Folia is open for lunch these days? A salad caprese and a pizza are sounding pretty good right now.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - June 28th, 2004, 9:44 am
    Post #5 - June 28th, 2004, 9:44 am Post #5 - June 28th, 2004, 9:44 am
    Dinner only, apparently.
  • Post #6 - June 28th, 2004, 10:58 am
    Post #6 - June 28th, 2004, 10:58 am Post #6 - June 28th, 2004, 10:58 am
    Antonius wrote:Scaloppina alla Milanese (expletive deleted)... It sounds like it was all very tasty but I find the salad on top of the veal rather nouvelle or 'Merigan (height is not a traditional Italian virtue)... Why not leave the combining of salad and fleshmeat up to the diner, without softening the crispness of the fried breading?

    I've always had this dish with the arugula beneath the veal scalloppine, with no dressing on it at all. Those greens look mighty dressed in the picture. Lemons are served on the side to spritz over the veal and arugula, so the oil from the fried veal along with the breading and the lemon juice complement the bitter arugula. Sounds like Follia reversed it to minimize any potentially bitter experiences their diners may face. Darn.
    Embrace the bitter, love the bitter, drink with the bitter.
  • Post #7 - June 28th, 2004, 11:15 am
    Post #7 - June 28th, 2004, 11:15 am Post #7 - June 28th, 2004, 11:15 am
    Well, and Americans aren't very keen on eating a salad that's been the recipient of meat greases, I suppose. Too bad indeed. Although having just had the other half of the veal for lunch, let me just say that there was nothing wrong with it at all, not a bit, and I feel better about its sky-high price having amortized it over two meals....
  • Post #8 - June 28th, 2004, 11:30 am
    Post #8 - June 28th, 2004, 11:30 am Post #8 - June 28th, 2004, 11:30 am
    I think someone may have discussed this on Chowhound at some point, but what is the deal with the clothing in the window.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #9 - June 28th, 2004, 12:45 pm
    Post #9 - June 28th, 2004, 12:45 pm Post #9 - June 28th, 2004, 12:45 pm
    Per Shatkin in the Reader:

    Passersby may mistake this stylish storefront, owned by Hype Model Management honcho Bruno Abate, for a boutique or gallery: the mannequins perched in the front windows are all wearing haute couture, and the waitstaff is made up mostly of models.

    It is an hilarious touch. One thing that charmed me instantly was how perfectly it captured that aggressively trendy vibe of opening the ultrachicest possible place with the ultrachicest tiny tiles, light fixtures, etc. in the most purgatorial, abandoned stretch of the meatpacking district. As I was leaving some woman was pushing her Bertini stroller and baby along the 18-wheeler-carved bumps and potholes of Morgan street, trying to quiet him/her so she could lift him back up the foot-high curb and rejoin her friends at the adjacent bar.
  • Post #10 - June 28th, 2004, 1:06 pm
    Post #10 - June 28th, 2004, 1:06 pm Post #10 - June 28th, 2004, 1:06 pm
    When I went to Follia, I took a group of summer associates from my firm for lunch, not a particularly sophisicated group. My favorite scene from this was when we had to jump out of the cab about a block away because of all the trucks blocking Morgan. As we were walking, two of the food workers cross our paths with a giant pig carcass. I think one of the young'ins looked at me with horror as to where she might be dining for lunch.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #11 - June 28th, 2004, 1:12 pm
    Post #11 - June 28th, 2004, 1:12 pm Post #11 - June 28th, 2004, 1:12 pm
    The delights of urbanity!

    Often, walking from the El to a dot-com job in River North, I would pass a truck parked outside Scala meats, piled high with bloody sheep skins. Always put a smile on my morning-- that is, to watch the reaction of people as their power walk to work was suddenly interrupted by the realization of what they were walking past.
  • Post #12 - June 28th, 2004, 1:27 pm
    Post #12 - June 28th, 2004, 1:27 pm Post #12 - June 28th, 2004, 1:27 pm
    Mightn't the point of the salad in close proximity to the meat be [a] to wilt the greens to a pleasant point or {2} provide a bitter flavor to offset the richness of the fried meat?
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #13 - June 29th, 2004, 8:56 am
    Post #13 - June 29th, 2004, 8:56 am Post #13 - June 29th, 2004, 8:56 am
    Being easily suggestible (I see a Chinese person on the street, and am at Spring World in a matter of hours, Mexican, beeline to El Milagro, etc.), I read the Follia post and made my husband take me there for dinner.

    The caprese was as delicious as described above. Follia really does it right, the cheese is not the clammy, cold, puddinglike blob that often passes for mozzarella in lesser establishments. Follia's caprese is comprised of a generous ball (scoop?) of mozz, a whisper-thin membrane surrounding a creamy (but not too creamy) center. The thinly sliced tomatoes were juicy and perfectly peppered and salted.

    I ordered the Quattro Stagioni pizza ... and ate the whole thing. Regular readers of this board may not regard this as an impressive feat, but I normally leave half my dinner on the plate. Anyway, Follia's pizza has a terrific crust, very thin and airy, but able to support the toppings, which included articokes, olives and prosciutto scattered over a minimal amount of cheese. We used to eat at DOC in the good old days, but those folks are pikers compared to the Follia pizza chefs.

    Other posters have briefly alluded to the fashion-clad mannequins positioned around the restaurant. Make no mistake; the restaurant is kind of silly, in that West Loop sleek, industrial, poured-concrete-floor, belly-shirt-wearing barmaid kind of way. Luckily, however, the preening doesn't get in the way of the food.
  • Post #14 - June 29th, 2004, 8:04 pm
    Post #14 - June 29th, 2004, 8:04 pm Post #14 - June 29th, 2004, 8:04 pm
    Glad I didn't steer you wrong. I don't think the mozzarella was a scoop, it had a visible seam (see photo) that suggests some sort of bag. Amazingly good though, I'm going to post a mozzarella query on the S&C board.
  • Post #15 - June 29th, 2004, 8:11 pm
    Post #15 - June 29th, 2004, 8:11 pm Post #15 - June 29th, 2004, 8:11 pm
    Mike G wrote:Glad I didn't steer you wrong. I don't think the mozzarella was a scoop, it had a visible seam (see photo) that suggests some sort of bag. Amazingly good though, I'm going to post a mozzarella query on the S&C board.


    The Mozzerella at Merlo had a similar seam and was scored through the skin on the top so that it could easily split into quarters. I'd never seen mozzerella balls made so small and bite sized before. They were perhaps 1/2 the size of the ones in your picture. I wish I had taken my camera to Merlo (I meant to, but forgot it on the table when I left home). It would be interesting to comapre those two fabulous renditions.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - August 31st, 2006, 8:47 am
    Post #16 - August 31st, 2006, 8:47 am Post #16 - August 31st, 2006, 8:47 am
    Image
    Photo by G Wiv

    Case Number: MG005
    Date consumed: 8/30/06
    Location: Follia
    Tomato Score: 4.2

    Small, brightly flavorful slices of peak-of-season tomato.
    Mozzarella Score: 5.0
    Bufala flown from Italy weekly, discernable skin outside, creamy lush interior with rich, multidimensional tang, even a little cheesy funk; melts in the mouth with the intoxicating luxuriousness of Schwa's quail egg ravioli.
    Basil Score: 3.8
    Single (large) leaf, good flavor but would have benefited (in taste if not looks) from tearing.
    Discretionary Points: 5
    Got to listen to the owner talk about his commitment to bringing in the best from Italy. Plus an extra point or two for the mozzarella, just because it's so damn good.
    FINAL SCORE: 18/20

    Well, it took me two years to get back to Follia but the caprese was as marvelous as ever; the other elements are good, up to snuff, but the cheese is, as described above, mindblowingly good, this is the only caprese that made me shut my eyes while I ate it and emit little gurgling noises. And while, on the whole, Follia is the anti-Rosebud, portion-size-wise, you certainly can't argue with the fact that they give you a whole baseball-sized blob of this marvelous stuff, the better to eat at least one healthy chunk of it by itself without the distractions of the rest of the dish. (I think the white-knuckled grip in that photo is a trick of the flash, however; I don't think I was actually defending it to the death.)

    Otherwise, Follia remains to my mind easily one of the best 3 or 4 Italian restaurants in Chicago, I haven't tried every last one head to head to say that but I know the scene well enough to say that it probably has 2 or 3 equals but it clearly does not have a dozen superiors. It may get underrated because it's so fashionista, the meatpacking location, the clothes hanging in the window, the uberchic interior, and last but far from least, the staff (and to some extent the patronage) straight from the owner's previous life running a modeling agency. But like a model reading Wittgenstein, it has the intellectual heft as well as the looks, there's no questioning the owner's commitment to bringing in quality ingredients and doing things right (at least there's no questioning it after you've heard him describe, passionately, the right way to boil pasta).

    And the price, well, Follia is not by any stretch of the imagination cheap, there must be people who go away from a smallish $18 plate of pasta feeling cheated, but there are plenty of restaurants for those people already. What's a fair price for a dish that reminds you how good pasta can be? $18 sounds pretty good to me. This is the food that, as another thread put it, justifies Italian food costing as much as any other cuisine.

    We started with the caprese and with an antipasto plate that impressed with its delicacy-- shaved prosciutto and another, equally fine, Italian ham, some grilled vegetables, a cheese, some olives, some pickled beets.

    One of the reasons for going there this time was to try Follia's woodburning-oven pizzas. Of course, it might have been smart to do that before all those other Neapolitan pizza places opened; a year ago Follia's pizza would have been nearly unique (and not subject to the inevitable Spacca Napoli comparison). We had a margherita and a white pizza with Emmental and onion; and enjoyed the quality ingredients and the crispy burntness of the crust, but it is true that this is a little less of a reason to make Follia a destination than it would have been a year or two ago.

    For entrees we shared: one, a variation on the veal scallopina I had two years ago, now served on the bone and now even more expensive; but it remains a well-balanced dish, the veal subtly picking up the flavors from the greens (rather than the greens subtly picking up the flavors from the veal, which might be preferable, as observed above). We also had two pastas, a veal ragu which was melt-in-your-mouth fine, I seriously considered whether we needed another bowl of that before we left, and mezza luna whose stuffing I've forgotten already (mushrooms and peccorino or something like that), in brown butter, nearly as intoxicating.

    The desserts did not especially appeal to us so we shared a single bowl of lemon sorbetto, a nice palate cleanser, especially accompanied by a very bright and fruity prosecco, Cantine Aurora Tortona 2005. (I liked it far better than the "Super Tuscan" wine I ordered, which was nearly undrinkably strong by itself, but went well enough with the food. Still, a tuba blast where an oboe might have suited better.)

    We all ended the meal thinking that Follia would be a perfect suggestion for many kinds of occasions we're asked about here-- stellar but entirely accessible food, a hyperchic, only-in-the-big-city atmosphere, beautiful people around you, yet service that is friendly, and serious but not attitude-infected.
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  • Post #17 - August 31st, 2006, 11:18 am
    Post #17 - August 31st, 2006, 11:18 am Post #17 - August 31st, 2006, 11:18 am
    Mike - thanks for this post. I was thinking of going to Follia with a friend recently, but nixed it because I haven't been there in so long. Follia sort of walks that trendy restaurant line, and like a lot of those restaurants, they tend to sour after awhile. Glad to hear that this one is still good.
  • Post #18 - August 31st, 2006, 12:23 pm
    Post #18 - August 31st, 2006, 12:23 pm Post #18 - August 31st, 2006, 12:23 pm
    aschie30 wrote:Follia sort of walks that trendy restaurant line, and like a lot of those restaurants, they tend to sour after awhile. Glad to hear that this one is still good.


    I joined Mike at dinner last night. I am often extremely wary of restaurants where 100% of the staff and 90% of the customers are among the most beautiful people I've seen this year. Being overly cynical, I think "how can this place possibly care seriously about what they're putting on the plate?"

    Follia is full of beautiful people and they do care about what they're putting on the plate. Every single thing I ate last night tasted of high quality ingredients and care in preparation: from the temperature of the tomatoes in the caprese to the flavor of the ragu to the texture of the veal, everything hit perfectly.

    We did spend a few minutes talking to the owner about his passion for his food and his country. He talked enthusiastically about keeping things small to maintain quality, being judicious with the use of garlic, the unique nature of regionality in food in Italy, the state of Italian dining in Chicago, and how people should feel after they stand up after a meal. He's an interesting guy who cares, and I like that.

    Mike is exactly right about this being the kind of place that people are always looking for a recommendation for. Guests in Chicago who come to LTHForum looking for a night out, or Chicago residents looking for a night on the town or a date place can't do much better than Follia.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #19 - August 31st, 2006, 4:01 pm
    Post #19 - August 31st, 2006, 4:01 pm Post #19 - August 31st, 2006, 4:01 pm
    Mike G wrote:What's a fair price for a dish that reminds you how good pasta can be? $18 sounds pretty good to me. This is the food that, as another thread put it, justifies Italian food costing as much as any other cuisine.


    Then, of course, there is the occasional $40+ special offering at Follia (e.g., grilled scampi), for which I have found no reasonable justification.

    Anyway, thanks for bumping this one, Mike.

    I need to return before the end of the summer.

    E.M.
  • Post #20 - September 1st, 2006, 10:25 am
    Post #20 - September 1st, 2006, 10:25 am Post #20 - September 1st, 2006, 10:25 am
    Good point, the specials are significantly more expensive than the regular menu (and of course, as in 95% of restaurants, you have to ask what the prices for the specials are). The veal chop was $40, and there was a bistecca fiorentina for two going for a cool $100. Split four ways (which it was big enough to do satisfyingly), the veal chop seemed reasonable, but I'd have felt funny about both the amount of meat in front of me and the bill if I'd ordered it as a secondi just for myself.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #21 - September 1st, 2006, 3:32 pm
    Post #21 - September 1st, 2006, 3:32 pm Post #21 - September 1st, 2006, 3:32 pm
    Greetings LTH. It is with some trepidation that I make my first post on this site. I have lurked for quite some time and have seen many a first time poster get roasted for some misstep. But I really enjoy the discussions on this site so I have decided to jump in. Please be gentle.

    After reading Mike G’s recent review of the caprese at Follia, my dining companion and I dined at Follia last night in hopes of finding mozzarella better than we have previously found at Gruppo di Amici. While Follia’s mozzarella is some of the best I have ever had, the championship trophy still rests with Gruppo di Amici IMO. Regardless, we had a great dinner at Follia. Between the two of us, we shared:

    ·Caprese – If not for Gruppo di Amici’s mozzarella, this would probably be the best caprese I have ever eaten.

    ·Salad (arugula, parmesan, and cured meat) – very nicely done. The salad was very lightly dressed with vinaigrette – just enough IMO. I would have liked a little more cheese – but that is usually the case with me.

    ·Lobster Bisque – Good, but not great. As others have noted on this board, seafood in these types of dishes tends to be overcooked more often than not. This was the case with our dish.

    ·Risotto with pear and tallegio – I had to choose this dish because of its uniqueness, and my fondness for cheese, particularly when paired with fruit. I have to admit that the first couple of bites were a little strange – with the sweetness of the pear in the risotto. But after a couple of bites I really started to enjoy this dish. It was almost desert-like – which is not what you would normally want out of risotto, but I really started to enjoy it.

    ·Pizza margharita – excellent. I do not claim to be an expert on this style of pizza and I am still making my rounds to the other wood fired ovens in this city, but I really liked this pizza – great cheese, sauce was perfect level of sweetness for me, and salt level was correct. Great thin crust that even allowed me to fold it without breaking – which I prefer.

    ·Scampi al forno – I see that some have noted the specials here tend to be overly-expensive without justification. While I generally agree with this comment, I disagree with it in the context of this dish. It is not common enough to find true scampi in Chicago – as opposed to just regular shrimp in butter and garlic. This dish was great IMO. The scampi were fresh and perfectly cooked and presented simply to let the tasty tails stand on their own without interference from too much olive oil, butter, garlic, or other accoutrements. The texture was incredibly delicate. I would easily order this dish again at Follia.

    ·Cheese plate – good but nothing special. Parmesan Reggiano, gorgonzola, and two others that I did not catch their names. But I was not interested enough to ask the server after finishing the plate.

    All of this accompanied by a great Nebbiolo and we were very happy. The server also gave us a complimentary glass of muscato when we were finished -- sweet and effervesant. Overall, the service was good in the beginning of the night (6:30), but got a little sporadic toward the end (8:00) because it started to get much busier.
  • Post #22 - September 1st, 2006, 3:35 pm
    Post #22 - September 1st, 2006, 3:35 pm Post #22 - September 1st, 2006, 3:35 pm
    Welcome to LTHForum, Inter4alia.

    Glad you liked your meal at Follia (even though you skipped the pastas entirely, interesting). We'll roast you on your second post.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #23 - September 3rd, 2006, 2:46 pm
    Post #23 - September 3rd, 2006, 2:46 pm Post #23 - September 3rd, 2006, 2:46 pm
    eatchicago wrote:Follia is full of beautiful people and they do care about what they're putting on the plate.

    Michael,

    Beautiful people and good food, Follia certainly has a dead-bead on both. Caprese was spectacular, even to the point of diverting my attention from the table of 5 leggy models for over 18-seconds. :)

    All in all a very nice meal with everything, food, service, atmosphere, sincerity/conviviality of the owner, being about 20% better than I remember from my last visit.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #24 - September 9th, 2006, 2:37 pm
    Post #24 - September 9th, 2006, 2:37 pm Post #24 - September 9th, 2006, 2:37 pm
    eatchicago wrote:90% of the customers are among the most beautiful people I've seen this year...

    I retained this quote in my head, and was disappointed that in our first visit last night, only 45% of the crowd was jaw-droppingly, mind-numbingly, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, while 35% were scarcely better than majorly attractive, and 20% were merely easy on the eyes. But it might have been early.

    The four of us showed up without a reservation around 7, after attending a gallery opening around the corner. I was very pleasantly surprised that there was zero attitude of "You dare to ask for a table without a reservation?!? We scoff!" Indeed, we were not only accommodated immediately, we were asked if we preferred indoor or outdoor. (We chose outdoor.)

    Food...fabulous. We shared. A nice "antipasto rustico" of meats and fruits and nuts, an Italian ham and funghi pizza (so good I could have eaten two or three of them by myself), the candy-shaped pasta stuffed with ricotta and mint in brown butter, and the scampi.

    Definitely in the upper percentile of restaurant experiences we've had this year.
  • Post #25 - October 2nd, 2006, 10:38 am
    Post #25 - October 2nd, 2006, 10:38 am Post #25 - October 2nd, 2006, 10:38 am
    riddlemay wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:90% of the customers are among the most beautiful people I've seen this year...


    Going there this weekend on the recommendation of this board. Just curious about dress code? It sounds like this is an "image forward" type place. Trendy jeans, cool shirt and jacket ok? Also not having ever been to Chicago it sounds like this neighborhood might be kind of remote, am I misunderstanding? I saw some mention of old warehouses and such.
  • Post #26 - October 2nd, 2006, 10:49 am
    Post #26 - October 2nd, 2006, 10:49 am Post #26 - October 2nd, 2006, 10:49 am
    I would dress nicely for it, but not worry excessively about it.

    It's not far from downtown at all, but the street has a character that's pretty gritty, despite having two chichi restaurants (the other is Moto) separated by a chichi furniture/art joint.
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  • Post #27 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:13 pm
    Post #27 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:13 pm Post #27 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:13 pm
    BlakeG wrote:Trendy jeans, cool shirt and jacket ok?


    Nothing more is required, that's for sure. In fact, you'd be fine with just the jeans and the shirt.

    E.M.
  • Post #28 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:38 pm
    Post #28 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:38 pm Post #28 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:38 pm
    Yeah, when we showed up, we didn't even know we were going there when we got dressed. We had visited a couple of galleries with friends, figuring we'd have dinner someplace afterwards, and since Follia was around the corner from the second gallery, we tried our luck there. We looked presentable, but nothing much more. They seemed happy to see us.

    I know what you mean, though--from what I'd read about the eye candy quotient, I thought there was a chance we'd encounter some disdain, insofar as no one has ever called me eye candy. They couldn't have been friendlier.
  • Post #29 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:44 pm
    Post #29 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:44 pm Post #29 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:44 pm
    If business in the restaurant stops (ala Animal House at the all-black club) when I walk in, I am holding you all personally responsible.
  • Post #30 - October 3rd, 2006, 9:12 am
    Post #30 - October 3rd, 2006, 9:12 am Post #30 - October 3rd, 2006, 9:12 am
    That won't happen. If no one looks up or acknowledges your presence at the host stand, then you are in trouble.

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