Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-11-15
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Sugar & Spice: Ripasso
DISH Weekly Dining Guide in Windy City Times
by Meghan Streit
2011-12-28

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


I was devastated when I learned over the summer that Terragusto was closing its doors. The tiny Roscoe Village restaurant housed in a non-descript storefront has long been one of my favorite places to indulge in homemade rustic Italian food. Terragusto was BYOB from day one, which made it for me (and many others) an affordable indulgence.

Terragusto owner Theo Gilbert told Eater Chicago ( chicago.eater.com/ ) that one of the reasons he was throwing in the towel was that he'd grown tired of wannabes drinking cheap wine with his fancy food. The website quoted him:

"When I originally put it together, I had a specific clientele — foodies who got it who had great bottles of wine and had no place to go," Gilbert said. "As the economy tanked the demographic shifted. Those great customers we had were crowded out by people who didn't care about the food, but could BYOB their Two-Buck Chuck."

Ouch. Really, Mr. Gilbert? We're sorry we couldn't keep our wine cellars stocked to your standards during the worst economy of our lifetimes.

Nevertheless, I've developed an addiction to Gilbert's impossibly fresh pastas, crispy baked polenta and succulent pan-seared fish. So, when I heard he planned to open a new spot with a full bar, I was still resentful, but also secretly relieved.

Earlier this year, Gilbert opened Ripasso in Bucktown. The restaurant's name is derived from the Italian verb "ripassare," which means "to enrich or make better," according to Ripasso's website. OK—I'm listening.

After a delightful visit a few weeks ago, I'm pleased to report that Ripasso has retained many of the things I loved so much about Terragusto. In fact, the menu is nearly identical, but with a few fun new additions. I don't know that I'd say that Terragusto has been "made better," but it certainly has been made more expensive because there is no BYOB option.

In fairness, Gilbert and his team have made an effort to make good wines available at reasonable prices. I loved the Colterenzio Pino Nero, which is like a pinot noir with a bit more body, and can be yours for $35. The Stefano Farina Barbera d'Alba also works well with many of the menu items and costs $35. If you're one of the "low-lifes" who have been drinking "Two-Buck Chuck" at Terragusto, don't worry; the knowledgeable wait staff will happily help you choose a bottle (or three) to accompany your Italian feast.

Like at Terragusto, the food at Ripasso is meant to be enjoyed family style. Your waiter will encourage you to place your entire order at the beginning of the meal so they can course it appropriately, and if you have a party of five or more, he or she will insist upon it. So, order a glass of wine, request a basket of the delicious fresh-baked bread, and study the menu to design a strategy.

I'd recommend ordering one or two items for your antipasti course. My top pick is the sformato, which is a warm savory custard filled with seasonal ingredients. (It's like quiche, but creamier and without crust.) On my visit, the sfromato was flavored with roasted onion and served with olive oil-braised rabbit, mushrooms and arugula—divine. The polpetti is also an excellent option your whole table with love. These aren't your ordinary, run-of-the mill meatballs. They're juicy, well-seasoned and doused in a tangy tomato sauce. My dining companions and I kept them around throughout the meal to munch on between courses.

For my money, Ripasso's pastas are the star of the show, and you'll want to order about one per person. The pappardelle is a must-order item. The wide ribbon noodles are baked in creamy four-meat sauce of veal, lamb, beef and pork, and then topped with Parmigianino and white truffle. I was skeptical that a four-meat sauce would be anything I'd enjoy. But, let me tell you, it works in a big way. This pappardelle is like the most decadent (and carnivorous) mac and cheese you'll ever eat.

I also highly recommend the capellacci. In this dish, the "pope's hats"—basically, fancy homemade ravioli stuffed with autumn squashes and Parmigiano and drizzled with a sage-brown butter sauce that strikes the perfect (and very difficult to achieve) balance between sweet and savory.

For your final course, you can't go wrong with any of Ripasso's four simple choices, but if you're only going to order one, make it the fish. Gilbert and his team have a special talent for seasoning and searing fish to perfection. On my visit, they were serving rainbow trout, which every person in my party of six adored. The strip steak is also a contender. Mine was full or flavor, but was a little tough and chewy, so I'm not sure I'd order it again.

Don't skip dessert at Ripasso, even if you're full, which you will be. I sampled the ricotta-lemon torta with cherry-wine glaze, an inventive and well-executed dessert that captures the several of winter's best flavors. But, the maple panna cotta is, hands down, the best sweet offering on the menu. I eat a lot of panna cotta, and I can say this is one of the richest, creamiest versions in Chicago. The subtle maple flavoring and the apple pine-but salad on top just made a fantastic dessert even better.

Maybe I drank Gilbert's Kool-aid (or Chianti, in this case), but I will admit that his exquisitely handmade Italian cuisine does, in fact, taste even better with wines selected from his approved list. If you loved Terragusto like I did, you'll enjoy Ripasso just as much. If you've never had the pleasure of a meal carefully orchestrated by Gilbert, then you are in for a delightful surprise.

Ripasso is located at 1619 N. Damen Ave.; call 773-342-8799 or visit http://www.ripassochicago.com/Home_Page.html.

Do you need some more Sugar & Spice in your life? Follow me on Twitter at SugarAndSpiceMS for inside scoop and commentary on Chicago's dining scene.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Lesbian-owned Happy Apple Pie Shop features blended workplace 2017-11-18
Dining news: LGBT cooking party, Lawry's event, Thanksgiving items 2017-11-14
DISH: SAVOR Woven & Bound 2017-11-13
Dining news: Lidia Bastianich, Ping Pong Ball, Veterans' Day specials 2017-11-08
DISH: SAVOR Florentine's lunch 2017-11-06
Dining news: Frontier event, Geja's wildfire donation, Bottlefork closes 2017-10-31
DISH: SAVOR Grounds for success: New coffee shop opens in Uptown 2017-10-31
Dining news: Pop's opens, Halloween items, Publican chef fired 2017-10-24
DISH: SAVOR Filini; Pinstripes 2017-10-18
DISH: SAVOR Chromium 2017-10-18
Dining news: New hotel spot, Sable chef, Lawry's/SideDoor event 2017-10-17
Dining news: Breast Cancer Month specials, Naha lunch, cat cafe 2017-10-11
DISH: SAVOR L.A. Burdick; Andersonville Dessert Crawl 2017-10-11
Club Industry moves to yet another venue 2017-10-10
Final Andersonville Dessert Crawl on Halloween 2017-10-07
Dining news: National Vodka Day, James Bond Day, marathon specials 2017-10-03
DISH: SAVOR Israeli TV chef talks food, family 2017-10-02
Dining news: John Hancock party, Sable benefit, Boundary turns 10 2017-09-27
DISH: SAVOR Burrito Beach, Luke's Lobster, Weber Grill 2017-09-27
SAVOR Chicago Gourmet roundup; Links' LGBTQ event 2017-09-27
Dining news: Zoo cafe, new Winnetka spot, NaKorn, Lyric Opera 2017-09-20
DISH: SAVOR Imperial Lamian brunch 2017-09-18
Dining news: Thompson Chicago, Tru closing, Lakeview Taco Fest 2017-09-13
A Chance appearance 2017-09-13
DISH: SAVOR Angelo's Wine Bar 2017-09-13
DISH: SAVOR Streeterville Social; Bourbon on Division 2017-09-13
DISH: SAVOR Pork & Mindy's 2017-09-06
TELEVISION Vicki Gunvalson, Kelly Dodd serve some reali-tea 2017-09-05
Dining news: Hurricane Harvey help, mussel event, evil queen sing-a-long 2017-09-05
Dining news: 'Stranger Things' pop-up, birthday bonbon, 'The Food Show' 2017-08-29
Old Town Pour House opens game room 2017-08-29
DISH: SAVOR Dos Toros expands to Chicago 2017-08-29
DISH: SAVOR Leviathan and Portsmith 2017-08-28
Dining news: Food-truck social, Taste of Greektown, Nick's Pizza hiring 2017-08-23
DISH: SAVOR Revival Social Club brunch 2017-08-23
DISH: SAVOR Daisies 2017-08-23
THEATER REVIEW The Food Show 2017-08-16
Dining news: Morton's dinner, Travelle series, Charlie Trotter 2017-08-15
DISH: SAVOR Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar 2017-08-13
DISH: SAVOR Maple & Ash brunch; Epic Burger 2017-08-09
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.