Monday, March 22, 2010

Il Gatto and the killer salad

I didn't have high hopes for Il Gatto, though I admit that it wasn't exactly fair. I had become totally bored with Figlio and was excited that a new concept was coming into the space, but for whatever reason I couldn't get too excited for it. I was however, excited to meet a few friends for dinner a few Fridays ago, though we were in the heart of Lent, and none of us could eat meat. We decided a pasta/seafood joint would offer enough variety to get us through, and figured it would be a good time to try Il Gatto.

The one thing I was willing to admit right off the bat, is that I like the ambiance and layout much better at Il Gatto. Thank God they did something about the bar. We perused the wine list and ordered a few glasses before jumping on the main menu. I decided I'd get a simple margherita pizza since I had heard their pizza was good and wanted to start the meal off with their isalata rucola. The salad, was quite simply, one of the best I'd had all year (The winter caprese at Broders' still take the cake). The greens were spot on, the dressing strong, yet not overpowering and the portion perfectly arranged. The cherry tomatoes and diced peppers provided a sweetness that helped offset the powerful, but pleasant citrus vinaigrette and the peppery arugula proved a bitter foil for the sweetness and tatartness of the lemon. Lastly, the grana padano rounded out this sweet, bitter, tart and salty plate. All of the flavors were loud, yet balanced by the power of their companions -- good company indeed.

I have to say that the fall off from there was fast. The pizza I ordered had a great crust with plenty of crackle, char and pull. The sauce, However, was about as entertaining as a Jennifer Aniston flick. The mozzarella, though homemade, was pretty pedestrian and the basil alone couldn't overcome the other short comings. A margherita pizza can be a thing of beauty built on simplicity, but this execution just fell short. A sample of Jessi's three cheese ravioli proved rich, strong and all-together overwhelming, wearing the senses out as quickly as an overly-hopped IPA.

So the experience was mixed, but I'll give Il Gatto another shot when I can go back and explore the menu a little more, but again, my hopes won't be too high, though I'd love to be proven wrong.

Happy Eating,



Dr. TriRunner said...

Definitely was happy to see this review! Il Gatto is in my neck of the woods, and for whatever reason I feel like I have this obligation to have tried everything-Uptown at least once. That way when people as me "Hey, have you been to ____" I can give them a legit review.

But for now I will review vicariously, and save myself some $$ ;) Have you heard about the new "Lake Street Cafeteria and Support Group restaurant? I'm intrigued...

HungryinSW said...

I've heard of the spot, but don't know much about it. I believe it's another Parsole concept, so my guess is that it will differ quite a bit from Chino and Il Gatto due to proximity. I plan to check it out for sure and will let you know what I think!

kat said...

We've yet to try out Il Gatto either. I have to say I agree with you about that Broders winter caprese.

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