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Anteprima in Andersonville

Anteprima in Andersonville
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  • Anteprima in Andersonville

    Post #1 - May 10th, 2007, 7:42 pm
    Post #1 - May 10th, 2007, 7:42 pm Post #1 - May 10th, 2007, 7:42 pm
    I went to Anteprima tonight for the second time in the two weeks since they opened. The first time was on their second night. Both meals were spectacular in terms of food and service and we will be regulars here.

    Here's what we had:

    1st Dinner:

    Me--fava bean bruschetta (daily special and wonderful with lemon rind and nicely grilled bread); tagliatelle with prosciutto ragu (delicious)
    Husband--salumi plate (one salumi is from Salumi in Seattle) ;rabbit with soft polenta (daily special and falling off the bone)
    Daisy11--asparagus panna cotta (daily special and the best appetizer of the evening), orchiette with lamb and dandelion greens (just the right amount of bitterness from the greens)
    Desserts--orange cake with zambuca cream; chocolate panna cotta
    3 coffees
    Alcohol--two manhattans, blood orange prosecco cocktail, bottle of Brunello di Montelpuciano
    Price--$180 without tax and tip

    2nd Dinner:

    Me--grilled octopus with fingerling potatoes (best I've ever had, great grilled flavor and incredibly tender); gnocchi with favas, peas and asparagus (daily special and a little firmer in texture so not the fluffy super-light gnocchi like Spiaggia's but wonderful)
    Husband--gnocchi (same as above but appetizer portion); porchetta stuffed with ground pork and fennel with cannellini and green bean mix (daily special and very tender with two very large pieces)
    Shared cipolline onion/prosciutto antipasta
    Dessert: Apple and Fig Crostata
    Alcohol--Manhattan, two quartinos each of a red and white (quartino is about 1 1/2 glasses)
    2 coffees
    Price--$114 without tax and tip (with comped dessert)

    All wines are italian and reasonable. Most bottles in high 20s and low 30s. The quartinos tonight were $9 apiece. Pasta is made in-house except spaghetti. All come as an appetizer or entree. Desserts all made in-house. Amuse bouche before dinner, almond biscotti comes gratis with coffee, great focaccia and grissini made in-house.

    The atmosphere is italian cottagey. Nice spacing between tables. Owner services every table from time to time, including drizzling some greek olive oil from his wife's family on a couple of our appetizers. He comped our dessert tonight which was very nice and unexpected.

    They are open 7 days a week for dinner. Walk-ins only. We came early both times--5:30 (when they open) the first time and about 6:15 tonight.

    I loved it and can't wait to go back.
  • Post #2 - May 11th, 2007, 5:44 am
    Post #2 - May 11th, 2007, 5:44 am Post #2 - May 11th, 2007, 5:44 am
    Thanks for the post! We live walking distance away and it has been on the radar--we just haven't had a chance to visit. I'm extremely pleased to hear everything you had to say, particularly given the great disappointment we had at Cotes du Rhone. Now with this highly promising addition (and, we hope, Pepitone's), we're thrilled at the restaurant changes in the neighborhood! (Pasticceria Natalina goes without saying :D )
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #3 - May 11th, 2007, 8:04 am
    Post #3 - May 11th, 2007, 8:04 am Post #3 - May 11th, 2007, 8:04 am
    Rudy wrote:I including drizzling some greek olive oil from his wife's family on a couple of our appetizers.



    If I would have know you could get olive oil out of the in-laws, I would have pressed them a bit harder :wink: ....bah, dump, bump....

    Sorry, I just want the little email reminder to keep tabs on this thread.
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #4 - May 11th, 2007, 6:42 pm
    Post #4 - May 11th, 2007, 6:42 pm Post #4 - May 11th, 2007, 6:42 pm
    We live in the neighborhood too but haven't been to Cotes du Rhones yet because of the negative reviews. We're also big fans of Bistro Campagne so we end up there when we're in the mood for french food.

    I have a correction to my post--the prices do include tax but not tip. I'll try to figure out the editing function and correct it.
  • Post #5 - May 19th, 2007, 12:11 pm
    Post #5 - May 19th, 2007, 12:11 pm Post #5 - May 19th, 2007, 12:11 pm
    Some years ago I had dinner with my wife, a colleague of hers, and his boyfriend who was the hospitality manager at a big hotel. We went to Avanzare in its last days before the space became Tru-- and the boyfriend spent the entire evening pointing out every way that things were being neglected (dirty water in the flower vase), rushed by the B team in the kitchen (premade, ice-cold salads), or generally done in a corner-cutting way that didn't measure up to the standards of the restaurant as I had known it in better days. (Which if forgivable in a single restaurant about to die, was bad policy for a corporation like Lettuce, since I've always kind of had ambivalent feelings towards Tru as a result.) By conventional standards, not exactly the way to enjoy your evening out, but it was a fascinating education, and one of those experiences which made me a smarter spender of my own money ever since.

    Three of us had a little bit of the same experience last night dining with Jazzfood at Anteprima-- I don't mean to say that Anteprima was in decline, in fact I liked it well enough on its own terms, or, for that matter, that Jazzfood was anywhere near so monomaniacal in his shattering of our illusions as my Avanzare dining companion years ago, but dish by dish we got a glimpse behind the kitchen doors that gave us a better sense of where it's good, where it's getting by, and how to judge whether where the prices land on such things is always worth it.

    My first thought as we walked in was that Anteprima felt like a place in a resort or college town more than one in hip, hopping Chicago-- not sure why, some indefinable combination of coziness, tin ceiling and other funky touches, and an easygoing feel even on a packed and noisy Friday night. (This became all the more surprising when at the end we learned that it's owned by the same folks as Charlie's Ale House a few doors down, which is above average as faux-Anglo-Irish ESPN pubs go... but very definitely of its type.)

    A bread basket included very well-liked rosemary-scented breadsticks and some much less interesting corn bread, and a very pleasant glass of Italian wine selected at random turned out to be, for $11, a healthy two-glasses-worth carafe. We ordered a bunch of starters which were all over the map, not bad as bar nosh, but no real standout-- polenta with some rapini was probably the best (actually almost anything that included some bitter greens turned out to be a highlight of the evening), but octopus was mealy despite good flavor, Jazzfood thought a red mullet special was past its prime (that's why it's on special) and the sweet and sour onions came from a jar (not necessarily a disqualification, of course-- they were dressed well), and I joked that some veal meatballs were the Taste of Andersonville Special-- breadcrumb-filled meatballs from Svea in a tomato sauce sweet enough to have come from Calo. The high point was a pretty good plate of salumi, though even it had a ringer-- a precious few, gold-leaf-thin slices of meat from Salumi in Seattle-- which predictably outshone everything else on the plate.

    The saving grace was that all of this stuff was, relatively speaking, pretty cheap; add 30 cents worth of grilled zucchini and the mullet could have been an entree portion (not much smaller than my entrees last week at Scylla), yet even it was only $10, and some things on the appetizer menu were as low as $3, a number I can't remember seeing anywhere on a menu at a place like this for a long time.

    Pastas were next-- and that was itself a problem, because they arrived so quickly that Jazzfood's suspicions were immediately raised, and it soon became obvious that our half portions were made some minutes earlier as part of someone else's order, or even as part of a big tub of the stuff. (The main clue, besides speed to table, was that they were merely warm, not steaming hot.) The question is-- is a common shortcut for keeping the kitchen running like this a mortal sin, a venial one, or no particular sin at all given that, again, the price is pretty reasonable? At Spiaggia's prices, or even Terragusto's, I might judge such a thing harshly; much less so here, where orrechiete with lamb sausage were a little overcooked, perhaps, but still a nice dish, and strozzapreti (priest-stranglers) had a chewy texture that reminded both G Wiv and myself of the crispy noodles at Little Three Happiness. Even coming to table at less than their absolute peak of potential, I liked both of these dishes a lot. The one dish that was a definite failure was tagliatelle with what was alleged to be duck ragu; it wasn't a ragu but hunks of duck meat, and however it was cooked, the tagliatelle was bland and picked up nothing from its surroundings.

    To cut to the chase, I'd stick to pasta at Anteprima, especially if you go on a less busy night when you're likely to get your pasta cooked to order, because what followed was decidedly less successful. Lamp chops in a slightly sweet glazing were boring, cornish game hen was tasty after one bite and too salty after two or three, and a bit overcooked. Desserts were deeply disappointing-- a chocolate hazelnut torte was okay enough, but a lemon panna cotta and a blood-orange custard tart were foodservice-sturdy and unfinishable.

    Okay, it may sound like I've ripped through Anteprima with a chainsaw, but you know what? I liked it and I'd go back with a firmer sense of what its strengths are and how to find them. Pastas, especially at some time other than Friday at 8 pm, seem pretty good, and enough of the starters weren't bad that I think you could find nice things there, too. The place is pleasant and friendly, and again, above all things were reasonably priced-- a lot of things I might have been fairly cynical about at $9 or $16 turned out to cost $5 or $11 instead. It's not the second coming of Italian food, it's not a fanatically authentic evocation of the hills of Emilia-Romagna, but it's a nice neighborhood place, and if you're smart about how to spend your money there, if you're educated as you order, you won't spend all that much of it having a good time.
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  • Post #6 - May 19th, 2007, 2:30 pm
    Post #6 - May 19th, 2007, 2:30 pm Post #6 - May 19th, 2007, 2:30 pm
    Few reviews here, but apparently some disagreement. That's what makes horse racing I guess. I'm going to tip the scales on the plus side. I have almost all positives with respect to my visit last night to Anteprima.

    First, excellent and friendly service. They don't take reservations, which I hate, but at least they'll take you cell phone number and call you when your table is ready. And I like a place that has management taking an active role throughout the restaurant. Maybe the only other negative is that the place is pretty loud . . . I wish restaurants could find a way to keep the level of noise loud enough so that you feel like the place is hopping, but quiet enough so that you can hear the person next to you.

    On to the food, which really impressed me:

    I started with the red mullet special appetizer which was a perfectly cooked whole mullet, served with a fragrant and tangy fennel and orange salad -- delicious and the salad really woke up the taste buds.

    My dining companion ordered the asparagus panna cotta and while the texture was fantastic, the asparagus flavor really made this dish a hit.

    For my main course, I had the strozzapreti and I enjoyed the flavors quite a bit (if I recall, pancetta, pecorino and hot pepper). Slightly gummy, but I didn't mind the texture. My friend had the whole red snapper special with fingerling potatoes (sorry, all I recall) which I thought was delicious.

    We shared the lemon panna cotta (great texture, and I liked the subtle lemon flavor) and the chocolate-hazelnut tart (perfect crust, deep and dense semisweet chocolate with a layer of hazelnut-caramel between the chocolate and the crust). I loved the chocolate tart; I liked the panna cotta quite a bit.

    With tax and tip (and a few drinks here and there), bill came to about $150.

    My first experience with Anteprima was very good and I'm looking forward to trying it again soon. I'd be shocked if this place did not quickly become the star of the neighborhood as far as dinner options.
  • Post #7 - May 20th, 2007, 7:40 am
    Post #7 - May 20th, 2007, 7:40 am Post #7 - May 20th, 2007, 7:40 am
    Mike G wrote:The high point was a pretty good plate of salumi, though even it had a ringer-- a precious few, gold-leaf-thin slices of meat from Salumi in Seattle-- which predictably outshone everything else on the plate.

    The saving grace was that all of this stuff was, relatively speaking, pretty cheap; add 30 cents worth of grilled zucchini and the mullet could have been an entree portion (not much smaller than my entrees last week at Scylla), yet even it was only $10, and some things on the appetizer menu were as low as $3, a number I can't remember seeing anywhere on a menu at a place like this for a long time.

    Finocchiona from Salumi in Seattle was wonderful, melt in your mouth micro slice coupled with fig relish set atop lightly toasted olive oil infused bread, still resonates two days later. Thing is this was outsourced/assembled and, with the exception of our late meal test order of spaghetti w/fresh fava beans, far outshone the 12 or so dishes we sampled.

    Test spaghetti? Our initial 3 orders of pasta, tagliatelle/orecchiette/strozzapreti (priest strangler), as Jazzfood pointed out, came out so incredibly quickly, around 3-minutes, that we thought we'd time another order, plus it gave us an excuse to order fava beans. :) This time order to table took around 10-minutes and was markedly better from a textural standpoint. It also happens the accompanying butter bathed fava beans, peas, fresh asparagus and parmigiano reggiano were delicious.

    Verging on dry slightly bitter tasting Red Mullet was a deal at $10, or would have been if the fish flesh had been more appealing. The accompanying fennel orange salad was bright, fresh, gleaming with flavor and, had the Mullet been a hair better, would have accented superbly. Main course, as Mike mentioned, were uninspiring lamb chops and salty overcooked Cornish hen.

    Far as overall cost I disagree slightly with Mike, yes there are inexpensive starters such as marinated olives w/garlic, orange and chili which our (overall) very good, if slightly over exuberant, waiter never brought, though the forgotten olives were bounced from the bill with a heartfelt apology, but the total tab adds up surprisingly swiftly.

    Anteprima has a fun neighborhood energy, room filled with people enjoying the evening, loud, but not quite cacophony buzz, price points that encourage grazing and hands on management style. If Anteprima were in my neighborhood I'd certainly pay a visit now and again.

    Red Mullet w/fennel and orange.
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Anteprima
    5316 N. Clark St
    Chicago, IL
    773-506-9990
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - May 20th, 2007, 8:22 am
    Post #8 - May 20th, 2007, 8:22 am Post #8 - May 20th, 2007, 8:22 am
    G Wiv wrote: Verging on dry slightly bitter tasting Red Mullet was a deal at $10, or would have been if the fish flesh had been more appealing. The accompanying fennel orange salad was bright, fresh, gleaming with flavor and, had the Mullet been a hair better, would have accented superbly.
    Enjoy,
    Gary


    Wow -- I'm happy to say that the mullet shown in your picture does not look at all like the mullet served to me. I do not think I would have been happy with yours as it looks quite overcooked.

    Hopefully, and I emphasize hopefully, and based upon the fact that everything my friend and I ordered was first rate, the problems you experienced were problems associated with a very young restaurant finding its way in dealing with weekend traffic. I know Anteprima has only been open for a couple of weeks and they're probably trying to figure out what works and what does not, as well as trying to iron out service. Lucky for me that everything I ordered worked.
  • Post #9 - May 20th, 2007, 10:08 am
    Post #9 - May 20th, 2007, 10:08 am Post #9 - May 20th, 2007, 10:08 am
    I've been to Anteprima four times now and thankfully have not yet experienced the pre-cooked pasta (my husband has ordered appetizer portions several times) which would have been extremely disappointing. But we've never arrived later than 6:30 for dinner (twice we arrived at 5:30 when they open) so it was less crowded and the service was leisurely.

    There's definitely a noise factor which we noticed last week when we stayed much later than usual.

    I've ordered a pasta entree every time and they've all been excellent and far exceeded my expectations. Last week I had bucatini with pea shoots, chiles and herbs and it's one of the best (and simplest) pastas that I've ever had.

    I think of Anteprima as a more casual, less expensive Cafe Spiaggia but with similar food quality. The food at Anteprima is definitely more rustic and less complex than Cafe Spiaggia but equally delicious IMHO.
    Last edited by Rudy on May 20th, 2007, 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 10:50 am
    Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 10:50 am Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 10:50 am
    as i wasn't in the kitchen watching, i can only tell you what i suspect. shortcuts exist in every kitchen, from diner to fine dining and is a reality of serving a lot of food in a short period of time. especially when you don't have your par system in place like when you're a new restaurant getting slammed on a friday nite 2 wks after opening.

    man plans, god laughs.

    knowing what you can do or allow w/o compromising the integrity of a dish is the chef's call, and we all do it. making a batch sauce for 20 and using it throughout service or holding mashed potatoes in a steam table are both examples that most chef's have no problem with. some people pre mark steaks or chops and hold and finish them when ordered. other examples may be more controversial or equally benign, but when someone literally serves a pasta order x3 in under 200 seconds, and it's not steaming hot, i suspect it's not been cooked "ala minute" or @ least not "ala" recent "minute". add the gummy texture etc... both signs to me of that not quite "fresh" feeling. this is just speculation though.

    i hate to be the one to break it to the masses but most (not all) cipiollini onions come to you (the restauranteur) peeled and marinated. used judiciously, convenience is not a bad thing. being a good shopper is an integral part of cheffing and if you can find a labor intensive item prepped and delicious, you may be more than tempted to use it and many do. another example would be, i'd say 98% of all puff pastry you've ever eaten has been pre-made, sheeted and frozen. maybe more.

    the list goes on but i don't want to ruin christmas for you.

    having recently been spoiled by and fresh in my memory are the pristine tastes of the mediterranean. sorry red mullet, you were bitter and overcooked. i suspect it wasn't gutted properly and we were getting some of the residual liver in the mix as well as grill char. the panna cotta had texture. jello is a texture. not one to my liking in this case though. for the most part, i did enjoy the meal there and the company (one of my favorite things about lth) as always was wonderful.

    while it definitely had some nice things going for it, would i run back? that would be a no.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #11 - June 3rd, 2007, 11:39 am
    Post #11 - June 3rd, 2007, 11:39 am Post #11 - June 3rd, 2007, 11:39 am
    I'd really been anticipating this one pretty eagerly. We went early last night--a Saturday. Got in about 5:45 or 6 and there were still plenty of tables open. By the time we left (around 7), not a free table in the house.

    I don't have the sitzfleisch to do a full-on review, so I'll limit it to a little commentary on everything.

    Room: pleasant but, as has been noted, small and loud. Hard floors, walls, ceiling, and the noise just increases as people enter. More and more. You can hear across a two-top but noise is an issue that should be dealt with. So too the number of tables. It's not quite at the stage of impossible to walk between tables, but it will only take one more table to do it. I know it's a small place, and I know you've got a monthly nut--but for god's sake, no one likes to feel like a sardine. Even the servers and staff spent a lot of time waiting for aisles to clear just so they could do their jobs.

    Maitre d': I single this kid out not because of his youth but because he's the face of the restaurant. He needs to comb his hair and/or get a haircut, he needs to shave, to iron his shirt or tuck it in, and just generally look presentable instead of like he just walked in from an all-nighter at his dorm. Was he nice, was he pleasant? Yes. Did he look way too shabby? Without question.

    Service: Our server was knowledgeable, warm, adept, and (mostly) attentive. I got slightly tired of being touched every time she made a comment, but she at least knew her job and did it right.

    Grissini, as noted, homemade. Fine. Bread, as noted, not. Don't know where it comes from but jeez...how about some real bread? This stuff was just unacceptable, period. And how about either some olive oil or butter...something, anything...on the table?

    Appetizers (asparagus salad and salumi plate): both excellent, no reservations whatsoever. I should note, though (also as suggested above), that the finocchiona from Salumi in Seattle is so exquisite that it outshone the rest of the plate (which included both prosciutto and soppressata, the latter of which I overheard someone say was from Edison Park

    Mains: (spinach ravioli with wild mushroom cream and spaghetti with favas, peas, and asparagus). The former was excellent, virtually no reservations. The latter was cooked just right but someone apparently forgot that asparagus is in the dish and counted out a few miserly pieces. The flavor was fine--it just didn't entice, didn't...intrigue. It was a perfectly fine, perfectly forgettable dish. Nothing worth writing home about or repeating.

    Side: sauteed dandelion greens. Bitter, as expected. More garlic than I can recall ever having in a single dish. Way over the top. Nicely done, except for that.

    Portion sizes were fine, plating well done. Timing good--no issues with the pastas showing up in three minutes.

    Desserts: (cherry/strawberry crostata and panna cotta) The crostata was accurately described as minimally sweet. The issue, for me, was that it didn't quite reach even the "minimally" sweet level. I enjoy desserts that are not dripping with sugar (sometimes) and was quite disappointed that (1) the sugar was, if not missing entirely, too minimal to allow even the natural sweetness of the fruit to be showcased, (2) the cherry/strawberry combo just didn't work, and (3) the crust was okay, no more. Panna cotta enjoyed without reservation.

    Prices: reasonable. Dinner for two, with apps, two mains, desserts, one glass of wine and one coffee: $105, including tax and tip. Reasonable, but not inexpensive. Considering the number of issues, I expect we'll go back--but not for a while until things have a chance to settle down. Or unless we go on a quieter weeknight.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #12 - October 21st, 2007, 3:41 pm
    Post #12 - October 21st, 2007, 3:41 pm Post #12 - October 21st, 2007, 3:41 pm
    Hey folks...it's been since June since someone commented on Anteprima and since my first time was last night, I thought i'd jot down a thought or two.

    First of all...we went on a Saturday night and were told a 45 minute wait. Dinner was our main event last night and dear readers, it was a first date, so we had all the time in the world to have a cocktail and chat. Conveniently, the two people who were at the bar stools (only 2) were sat about 5 minutes after we got there..so we had the bar to ourselves and it was very pleasant way to wait for a table. On top of that, I ordered a scotch on the rocks and they had run out of Dewar's so I was given a huge tumbler filled to the brim with Glenlivet. Now some of you out there might be appalled by ice usage in a single malt but it was what I wanted and i was completely taken aback about being given about a 1/3rd of a bottle of good scotch for $7.50. !!!!! It was good for a first date. :P

    Anyhow...we probably waited 30 minutes out of the projected 45 and had great foccaccia and grissini to nibble on for the duration.

    It was a busy Saturday night. And very loud. But...i would say that I was knocked over by this place. Service was great and never neglected us -- we were served our courses in absolutely perfect timing -- we neither waited too long or were inundated by food and oh, the food. It was really a lovely meal. Our appetizers were the salumi platter, which was loaded with good prosciutto, the Finocchiona from Salumi in Seattle was phenomenal -- i'm not sure I've ever tasted something so complex and delicious in the salumi category. The soppressata didn't stink either--very spicy and hot. The two relishes, one fig and one cherry were so good I could have walked with a jar of each of them for toast. We also had their cannellini bean antipasti -- which were flavorful with bits of pancetta and chile but I thought the beans could have been a bit more tender.

    We decided to split a pasta and an entree. We had the spaghetti gricia, which was very hot -- but not just on one note--first it hit you with the pancetta and onion and followed up with a nice hit of heat at the back of your throat and it was cooled out by shaved pecorino. Really cleared out your sinuses. Then our main was the sliced steak --- done with lemon, rosemary and olive oil -- i suppose Fiorentina style, although not noted as that in the menu, i think. Very good -- perfectly done rare meat, a mouthful of savory herbiness as well as nice peppery argula piled on top of it for a nice crunch. We also had some roasted fingerlings which were nice and crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside.

    Dessert was an orange cake with raspberry sauce -- homemade and pleasant with a round citrus flavor but not something outstanding. Next time I'll try the panna cotta that everyone raves about but my companion wanted cake. My only complaint of the evening was that my cappucino was not hot. Lukewarm, really -- and my companion asked for another, which he was served quickly and apologetically. A nice little biscotti with almonds came with it.

    I really loved this place. I want to try it on a week night when the noise level is a bit more manageable but that's what you get in a small restaurant with a tin ceiling and wooden floors. I thought it was cozy and charming and delicious...and it was about $100 for the two of us and we left feeling very full and satisfied. I think it's really a nice addition to Andersonville's dining scene and so much better than Il Fiasco down the street..which i found very disappointing.

    Oh..and the date, you ask? Eh...you can't win 'em all.
  • Post #13 - November 9th, 2007, 11:57 pm
    Post #13 - November 9th, 2007, 11:57 pm Post #13 - November 9th, 2007, 11:57 pm
    Tonight was my first return to Anteprima and I'm happy to say I liked it even more than I did on my first visit. My sole complaint, and it is not an insignificant one, is that this is one of the loudest restaurants I have been to. But the food and service almost made me forget about the noise . . . almost.

    First, I appreciated the knowledge of our server. There were nearly 15 specials on tonight's menu and I had several questions, all of which were deftly answered by our waitress. Now I don't know if these specials have been on the "Specials" menu for some time, but I appreciate a server who knows every last detail about a dish and can tell you what s/he likes or dislikes about it.

    Anteprima started us off with an amuse of a vegetable tart -- not bad, but nothing to excite my palate either. On the other hand, I love their homemade grissini . . . crispy, crunchy, and packed with rosemary flavor. Too bad they can't work magic with the homemade bread. It lacks crust and flavor. No big deal -- I could eat baskets of that grissini.

    All but one of the pastas are homemade. Tonight, I had the Strichetti (extraordinarily large bowtie pastas) with lamb ragu. The pasta was a perfect al dente, and the lamb ragu was simply fantastic, with beautiful, yet small chunks of very flavorful braised lamb.

    For my entree, I ordered the Barramundi Cartoccio -- the fish baked in parchment paper with thyme, bay leaves, and thin strands of red and yellow pepper. The fish was cut from the parchment "balloon" tableside and drizzled very lightly with olive oil. The fish was moist, perfectly cooked and both the aroma and taste were great.

    My friend ordered the Monkfish Saltimbocca, which was wrapped with a very flavorful pancetta and served with French green beans. I loved it.

    I was too full for dessert, but the desserts looked very good and interesting. They still offer a panna cotta, but also offered an orange cake, a quince tart, a chocolate-hazelnut tart, a Torta Della Nonna and an apple-fennel bread pudding. Needless to say, an interesting variety.

    And the interesting variety of menu items is not limited to dessert. I had a difficult time choosing what to order, debating among the pasta w/ lamb ragu, the crostini w/ chicken liver, the sweet and sour veal tongue, and the butternut squash sformato (the Roman Style Tripe is really not for me). I appreciate the fact that Anteprima is not aiming to be the corner Italian restaurant that is all things to all people (I mean you Mia Francesca)

    We had 9:30 reservations and left at 11:00. When we entered, the place was packed. When we left, at least half of the tables were still occupied. So it looks like Anteprima is doing quite well and I'm not surprised given the high quality of the food and the skilled and attentive service.

    For those who were less enthused on their initial visit, I would highly suggest a return visit (probably early on a weeknight if you don't like noise). They've been open about six months now and to the extent they had kinks to work out, I believe they have done so. And you can now make reservations on Opentable.
  • Post #14 - November 10th, 2007, 11:02 am
    Post #14 - November 10th, 2007, 11:02 am Post #14 - November 10th, 2007, 11:02 am
    A group of my friends and I had a craving for mussels and beer last night so we tried to get into Hopleaf, only to be told that there was a 2 and a half hour wait. Starving we sought out another place in Andersonville to fill out bellies. Walked to Anteprima and although the wait was an hour we decided the room looked so friendly and warm that we would wait. So glad we did! We will definately be back!
  • Post #15 - November 15th, 2007, 12:26 pm
    Post #15 - November 15th, 2007, 12:26 pm Post #15 - November 15th, 2007, 12:26 pm
    From this week's Chicago Magazine Dish:

    Anteprima (5316 N. Clark St.; 773-506-9990), Andersonville’s always-packed trattoria, now takes reservations.
  • Post #16 - December 17th, 2007, 8:25 pm
    Post #16 - December 17th, 2007, 8:25 pm Post #16 - December 17th, 2007, 8:25 pm
    Daisy11 wrote:From this week's Chicago Magazine Dish:

    Anteprima (5316 N. Clark St.; 773-506-9990), Andersonville’s always-packed trattoria, now takes reservations.


    Just noticed they're now on OpenTable, too. A quick glance showed lots of availability for NYE.
  • Post #17 - October 25th, 2008, 9:27 am
    Post #17 - October 25th, 2008, 9:27 am Post #17 - October 25th, 2008, 9:27 am
    This is one of those threads where I almost wonder whether the posters are describing the same place. Last night was my first visit to Anteprima, and I thought it was as good and authentic as any Italian restaurant in Chicago, save Spiaggia.

    First up was the bread basket, with everything homemade, including especially buttery and delicious rosemary breadsticks. In authentic Italian fashion, the bread was served sans butter or olive oil, which perturbed the folks at the table next to me.

    Next up, absolutely perfect-textured cannellini beans cooked simply but potently in a mix of olive oil, butter, tons of sage, and more tons of garlic. There was nothing exotic about this dish, but it was mastery through simplicity, where every drop of flavor had been coaxed out of the excellent ingredients. The perturbed table next to me should have ordered this, as the sage/garlic infused melted butter at the bottom of the piping hot dish made an outstanding dip for the bread. Along with the bean course came sweet roasted beets with candy-like chianti roasted onions that had just enough of an acidic marinade to balance the dish well.

    We shared a pasta course: pumpkin ravioli with sage butter and grated parmigiano. I loved the textural contrast - the interior were like little clouds of dough with airy, nutmeg-scented squash, while the exterior of the ravioli were more al dente, with a good bite to them. If I were to quibble at all, I'd say I'd have preferred more finely grated cheese, as the larger pieces overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the dish in some bites. The bride actually liked this aspect of the dish, saying that it provided interesting contrast in flavor from bite to bite.

    We also shared the braised lamb shank with roasted fennel and soft polenta. A nice dish with good flavor and texture, but it wasn't served hot enough.

    Two desserts yielded a clear winner and a loser. Lemon panna cotta bordered on sublime - perfect texture and flavor balance, and tasted like some real farm-fresh dairy had been used to make it. Apple-fennel bread pudding was too crumbly, not sweet enough, and too herbaceous. It might have made a decent stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey, but it was not a good dessert. Espresso to end the meal was perfect - as good as many cups of coffee I had on my recent trip to Italy.

    Service was friendly, professional, and efficient. I do think the kitchen and front-of-house staff could work together on pacing things a little better. I have a feeling my lamb shank was plated too soon, and ended up sitting out to cool while we finished our pasta course. It arrived at the table virtually immediately after the pasta was cleared.

    Anteprima has a menu where virtually everything speaks to me. I look forward to exploring it more fully on future visits.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #18 - October 25th, 2008, 5:07 pm
    Post #18 - October 25th, 2008, 5:07 pm Post #18 - October 25th, 2008, 5:07 pm
    It's been a year and half since the meal upthread was described. A lot has changed. I for one am using upper case letters when appropriate these days (as opposed to then). They too may have gotten it more together since.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #19 - October 25th, 2008, 6:28 pm
    Post #19 - October 25th, 2008, 6:28 pm Post #19 - October 25th, 2008, 6:28 pm
    Jazzfood wrote:It's been a year and half since the meal upthread was described. A lot has changed. I for one am using upper case letters when appropriate these days (as opposed to then). They too may have gotten it more together since.


    We have all been very impressed with your progress ;)
  • Post #20 - October 25th, 2008, 6:52 pm
    Post #20 - October 25th, 2008, 6:52 pm Post #20 - October 25th, 2008, 6:52 pm
    much appreciated. Ooopps, I've lapsed. It's that easy if you don't watch yourself... especially in a restaurant.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #21 - October 27th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    Post #21 - October 27th, 2008, 4:33 pm Post #21 - October 27th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    Following Kennyz, I thought I might add my impression of Anteprima. We ate there on Fri. Oct 24. The breadbasket was very nice. We had the antipasti assortment for a started and I loved just about everything on it: the caponata, the onions, the beans. I could really see going and just making dinner from the antipasti buffet, tapas-style. Then we had a pasta course. I had the pumpkin ravioli which I liked but I think was just a bit sweeter than I prefer. Husband had the gnocci with oxtail ragu and it was great. Next I had scallops with lentils and escarole. The scallops were cooked right but the dish was not all that exciting. I wish the lentils had some more flavor. Husband had the duck breast. He would have preferred it cooked a little less. I found it quite delicious but didn't like the grilled escarole that accompanied it. For dessert we shared the apple walnut tart with a drizzle of caramel. That was great too. All in all I think I'd go back. I liked the prosecco choice they had by the glass and we ordered a bottle of Barbera d'alba that was good and reasonably priced. Good service, nice cozy room.
  • Post #22 - October 28th, 2008, 6:11 am
    Post #22 - October 28th, 2008, 6:11 am Post #22 - October 28th, 2008, 6:11 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:Room: pleasant but, as has been noted, small and loud. Hard floors, walls, ceiling, and the noise just increases as people enter. More and more. You can hear across a two-top but noise is an issue that should be dealt with. So too the number of tables. It's not quite at the stage of impossible to walk between tables, but it will only take one more table to do it. I know it's a small place, and I know you've got a monthly nut--but for god's sake, no one likes to feel like a sardine. Even the servers and staff spent a lot of time waiting for aisles to clear just so they could do their jobs.... I expect we'll go back--but not for a while until things have a chance to settle down. Or unless we go on a quieter weeknight.


    I wrote that all the way back in June, 2007 when things were pretty new. Just wondering whether these issues are still issues?

    (Or is it just me? :roll: )
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #23 - October 28th, 2008, 6:44 am
    Post #23 - October 28th, 2008, 6:44 am Post #23 - October 28th, 2008, 6:44 am
    We felt cramped and in the way while we waited at the bar for our table (right outside the swinging kitchen door), but once we were seated everything was pleasant. This is possibly because we passed on a table with banquette seating and instead waited 15 minutes beyond our reservation time for a 2-top in the window.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #24 - October 28th, 2008, 12:26 pm
    Post #24 - October 28th, 2008, 12:26 pm Post #24 - October 28th, 2008, 12:26 pm
    We were lucky to get one of the two tops by the front window. We had a reservation and they sat us right away. There were no sound issues for us, but we weren't smack dab in the middle so I couldn't say for sure.
  • Post #25 - October 28th, 2008, 2:00 pm
    Post #25 - October 28th, 2008, 2:00 pm Post #25 - October 28th, 2008, 2:00 pm
    I ate here on Sunday evening. While the place was full I wouldn't say it was packed. We had no issue at all with the sound. I did notice than, hanging from the tin ceiling there are a few accustic panels.

    We were brought a little taste of onion tart before we orderded. It had really good sweet onion flarbor but the crust was a bit dry.

    For starters we shared the Salumi plate along a few selections from the anitpasti bar.

    The salumi plate was a wonderful and spicy sopresseta, a very nice prosciutto and a salami that was heavy with fennel, the name if which I don't recall. The plate also come with a few really wonderful relishes, on fig and the other cherry.

    We ordered the grilled sweet peppers with bread crumb stuffing. Wow, this dish rocked. And a white bean salad that was very nice.

    For entrees I ordered the braised lamb shank with polenta. Now, I'm not a huge polenta fan, it's usually to sweet for me. This one wasn't though. The lamb shank was wonderfully braised.

    My friend ordered the duck breast which was cooked perfectly and had nice flavor.

    For dessert I had an apple tart and my friend had the panna cotta. Like the onion tart the apple tart's crust was just a bit on the dry side. The panna cotta was really wonderful though. Not overly sweet and a nice milky flavor.

    The wine list is quite nice, have both a good selection of glass pours and a nice range of bottles.

    Bread service was just OK, the focaccia in the baket was kinda dry.

    There was only one downer from the evening. OK I admit it, it's kind of a snobby pet peeve of mine, but when I order a $90 bottle of wine it makes me absolutely crazy when they serve it in a $0.98 glass. I mean, come on! Would they serve a $25 entree on a paper plate with plastic utensils? Of course not.

    And when I asked if they had a better glass I was told no these are the only glasses.

    Sheesh.

    Anyway, regardless of my glasswear pet peeve I'll be back.

    Serious chow from this joint.
    Check out my Blog. http://lessercuts.blogspot.com/
    Newest blog: You paid how much?
  • Post #26 - January 1st, 2009, 10:39 am
    Post #26 - January 1st, 2009, 10:39 am Post #26 - January 1st, 2009, 10:39 am
    So we went back last night, New Year’s Eve. A lot more time elapsed than we had intended. :oops:

    Things have changed for the better since our first visit in June of '07. As noted by a previous poster, the owners have now installed several acoustic panels and, though the place can still be noisy, those panels alone have made a significant improvement. Conversation is possible without having to raise one’s voice or strain to hear. The grungy maitre d’ is gone. I couldn’t swear to it, but it also seems that a few tables may have been removed; while there’s still not a lot of spare room, it’s no longer like skating between sardines in a can.

    To pick up on a few other points from my first post: bread has improved but I would judge that there is still room for improvement. The breadsticks continue to be the homemade highlight. There’s still no oil or butter served (though either, I must presume, is available upon request). As noted last time, portion sizes are good (indeed, generous in some cases), presentation nicely done, and pacing is handled well. Our server—Carlos—was excellent. When I indicated a difficult decision, he told me what he liked and, better still, explained precisely why. He appeared just often enough to remain engaged and follow our progress without hovering or being a nuisance. He knew what he was doing, knew his menu and his food, did his job quickly and unobtrusively, and assisted or came by just often enough. We were very pleased with his service.

    The Lovely Dining Companion had the prawn appetizer, several large meaty sea creatures grilled and set on a bed of sautéed fennel. I went, on Carlos’s recommendation, with the strichetti, an oxtail ragu served over large bowties. Both were on the specials menu and both were very good. I was a bit disappointed with the ratio of pasta to meat, but the dish was very good. We were not wowed by the apps but were impressed with their quality, execution, and presentation.

    I chose a “standard” from the regular menu for my pasta course: orecchiette accompanied by “spicy house-made lamb sausage,” dandelion greens, chilis, and pecorino. I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to try the sausage. It was excellent; it put me in mind of merguez: spicy, juicy, and a nice foil for the pasta. I ordered a half-portion (all pastas come in half- or full-portions) and it was exactly the right size.

    Entrees: LDC had a half portion of cacio e pepe. I couldn’t bring myself to order it simply because I had such a superb one a year ago in Rome that I was loathe to disturb that memory. She was happy with the dish but not overwhelmingly so; we both found it odd that the dish seemed to have very little visible pepper. Otherwise, it looked and tasted like it should. Again, not a knockout, but a good solid rendition (needing a little pepper boost). I chose a special, the “crispy” striped bass with raised leeks and fregola. It was indeed crispy but cooked perfectly, no mean feat for such a thick hunk of fish. Fregola, I now know, is a tiny toasted pasta made from semolina and hailing from Sardinia (appropriate, though I hadn’t realized it, given that the lamb sausage probably originated in Sicily—if not outside Italy entirely). I enjoyed the course but the preparation was just a shade too simple; I would have enjoyed a bit more interest on the plate. Still, that’s my responsibility: the menu described the dish accurately and I made the choice

    Dessert was vin santo and biscotti. About which there is little to add: it was exactly what it should have been, no more, no less. By the time we left—about 6:30 (we got there early at 5:15 because it was what was available)—it was packed with people just starting to line up in the entryway.

    Dinner, including a glass of (very good) primitivo for $11, came to just under $100, with tax, without tip. We will go back. And, given last night’s performance, we’ll be back much sooner, this time.

    P.S. Apologies for forgetting the camera.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #27 - March 16th, 2009, 11:44 am
    Post #27 - March 16th, 2009, 11:44 am Post #27 - March 16th, 2009, 11:44 am
    Another terrific dinner last night at Anteprima, which was surprisingly packed for a Sunday (the owner told us it might have been because of a recent Vittel writeup). Fortunately, there were a couple of open barstools. Boar ragu over papardelle was just as it's supposed to be: rich, complex and gamey - a result of long, long simmering I'm sure. To cut through the richness, I ordered a side salad which turned out to be one of the best salads in recent memory: thin shaved radishes and endive with a pungent anchovy vinaigrette and thin slices of a sheep's milk cheese that paired perfectly.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #28 - May 25th, 2009, 7:34 pm
    Post #28 - May 25th, 2009, 7:34 pm Post #28 - May 25th, 2009, 7:34 pm
    Anyone looking for ideas on what to do with the bounty of spring produce at the farmers' markets should head to Anteprima pronto. The very large menu has dozens of wonderful dishes using best-of-season products. Our meal tonight included:

    - luscious polenta with wine-braised lamb and fava breans
    - marinated and grilled rabbit with a lemon-dressed radish salad
    - spicy calamari with peas, mint, and tomato broth
    - tagliatelle with morels, favas and peas

    There were at least a half-dozen more enticing items featuring morels, favas, peas, asparagus, radishes, strawberry, and rhubarb.

    Anteprima continues to top a very short list of wonderful, seasonally-focused Italian restaurants in Chicago.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #29 - June 23rd, 2009, 5:20 am
    Post #29 - June 23rd, 2009, 5:20 am Post #29 - June 23rd, 2009, 5:20 am
    Wow. We went for the first time last night, thanks to this thread. (So, thanks, thread!) After all the positives that have been written here in description of the food, it would be carrying coals to Newcastle (as well as a colossal waste of your time) for me to write anything more than: Everything tasted like the essence of itself. Why should that be so unusual? But it is.

    Friendly, helpful, expert service. Noise level not bad at all. Great vibe.
  • Post #30 - June 26th, 2009, 9:34 pm
    Post #30 - June 26th, 2009, 9:34 pm Post #30 - June 26th, 2009, 9:34 pm
    It was our first time there tonight, sort of on a whim. A kid who works in a summer jobs training program in the After School Matters/Gallery 37 thing that I run told me today during our four hour rehearsal/performance in Millenium Park that he'd be working at Anteprima tonight until 11 as a host (he plays saxophone during the day). I live within walking distance and as it was a beautiful evening my wife and I were walking down Clark street and passed by Anteprima. It was pretty crowded about 8:30, I was just going to say hi. When saw me I said "Table for 62" and we chatted. He said did we want to eat, there was a two top right by the window, I said sure, why not, we hadn't eaten.
    What a wonderful meal. We mostly grazed, figs with prosciutto (awesome), peppers with breadcrumbs and cheese (totally fresh and flavorful), mussels and clams in a to-die-for tomato and garlic sauce, and we split an out of this world calamari with chard, tomato garlic and what seemed to be some kind of cheese. The bread we used to soak up the sauce. A couple of Peronis sealed the deal. I haven't had as good an Italian meal in a while. Service was more than good even at the apex of a Friday rush. I'm happy to say my student (whom I've known for years) did a slick and efficient job as a host, I have worked jobs like that along the way and I really appreciate it when someone does an excellent job. The whole experience was stellar, we'll certainly go back.
    trpt2345

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