It turns out the fresh gnocchi with truffle cream at Siena Tavern is just as decadent as you might have heard. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of a lady date at cheflebrity Fabio Viviani's Chicago restaurant. Turns out Noreen's company wasn't all I enjoyed that afternoon.
That's the equally decadent Orecchiette with Lamb and Saffron Cream in the background
The restaurant itself is gorgeous. The combination of rich wood, plenty of leather and a spattering of metal accents give the space a distinctly masculine feel. But the neutral color scheme, moss/succulent covered accent wall and warm lighting keep it from feeling like an old boy's club.
Our server (the perfect man-candy for a lady date) was attentive and friendly. But sadly the pacing of our courses was a bit uneven. Our entrees were delivered before we were half finished with our salads and then we waited for a bit for our dessert. Since the restaurant wasn't very full, that was kind of disappointing.
But what about the food?
I'm still dreaming about that gnocchi. It was rich and oh so right. A big thank you to Noreen for suggesting I order it. I was undecided initially because the menu is enormous and kind of awkwardly laid out on a single sheet of paper. Thankfully it is jam packed with enticing options. I started the meal off with a kale Caesar salad that was good but the bread pictured below was beyond outstanding.
But the gnocchi's main competition for the title of "star of the day" was the lemon, olive oil and sea salt gelato. It was seriously good. We ordered several different gelato flavors (we indulged big time) but this one was head and shoulders above the rest. Though the salted caramel was delicious, the lemon was silky and luscious.
If I have one complaint it is that our tab was a bit higher than I might have liked. Of course, we did have 3 courses and I left with a happy, full tummy... I just always feel weird about paying a lot of money for Italian food. I have no explanation for that, except that it's a mental block. All in all the afternoon was a bit uneven but the high points of our afternoon at Siena Tavern (51 W. Kinzie, Near Nth Side) far outweigh any tiny missteps.
Am I the only one who struggles to pay premium prices for Italian food?