Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vito's: Welcome (back) to the Hood!

I'd always walked by Vito's curious, but afraid. It had this sort of dingy appeal, and I imagined a windowless space with a martini-soaked bar, simultaneously divey and 70's ritzy. I conjured images of older men with large-collared shirts, and shady conversations.  

Hearing they reopened with new management, I decided to venture in. It was exactly how I imagined, but better. 

Loungy and atmospheric, Vito's has a grand piano, mirrored ceilings over the wooden bar, and a fantastic bartender who I recall from The Hideout just up the street. 

I ordered the Tivoli cocktail, a mind-expanding, liver-shriveling mix of bourbon, aquavit, campari and sweet vermouth. Put me in a better mood right quick.

This is still a hangout, rather than a foodie experience, yet Vito's flavors were clean and more or less hit their marks, no overly heavy dishes, as you may expect in an Italian-American joint. 

We liked the gamberoni- perfectly cooked shrimp with garlic, white wine and parsley - a pleasant little dish, and generous too.  

Veal Parmesan was next. Yes, veal. Imagine the cute little veals cavorting in the fields. Then eat this.  It hit a decadent spot dead on, if the veal could have pounded thinner, and the breading a tad crispier, I didn't much care, it was still good. 

A carbonara-like pasta special that night was bucatini, tossed with chili flakes, ham, and a touch of cream. It certainly helped to soak up some of that first cocktail. 

I'm glad I ventured in, it reminded me of my hometown Chicago and all those places with a dash of history and a very diverse crowd and those things make me happy.  

Highlights:  Gamberoni, bucatini pasta special, cocktails, ambiance! 

Disappointments:  Spaghetti marinara on the side of the veal was lackluster, and this is Italian-AMERICAN food, after all.  

Mr. Pants: Addicted to facebook, and posting "Strong drink in one hand, redhead in the other.."  Icky work mood improved by strong drink, strong food and strong redhead!

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