12 November 2005

Romeo Romeo

Romeo Romeo is a perfect destination if you’ve just been to a show at Davenport’s in Wicker Park and didn’t have dinner yet. Since Davenport’s doesn’t serve food and has a two-drink minimum, you are a little woozy from having downed two drinks on an empty stomach, and you’re ravenous.

This is a good thing, because Romeo Romeo doesn’t stint on portion sizes. For example, the Tortellini (with spinach and pine nuts) Grosso appetizer would satisfy some people as an entrée, and is—in any case—eminently shareable. And pleasing: rich, creamy, yet interestingly flavored. Also pleasing is the Caesar salad, which incorporates some unusual components: fried capers, bits of hard-boiled egg, and croutons made of polenta. Actually, the Caesar is more than pleasing; it’s amazing.

Entrees we’ve tried include the Melanzana Parmigiana (eggplant parmesan) and Diamond Jim Spaghetti and Meatballs. The eggplant parmesan was fine; nothing special. The spaghetti and meatballs, though, were quite wonderful. The large, dense meatballs, while not as peppery as one would expect from the menu description (“pepper studded”), are made chewy by bits of mozzarella. The result is surprising, in a good way.

The atmosphere at Romeo Romeo is crowded and loud, but the service is pleasant and attentive, and both times we visited we were lucky enough to get seated without a reservation. The menu—perhaps best characterized as improvisations on standard red-sauce Italian—is interesting enough that we look forward to returning and trying other items.

But we will probably always start with the Caesar and get the meatballs on the side.

1415 N. Milwaukee
773 . 227 . 6636

Sunday through Thursday
5pm to 11pm
Friday & Saturday
5pm to 1am

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