Most all of the Italian restaurants in Bloomingdale refer to themselves as "Ristorantes." I'm not sure how to take it other than to sort of smirk at my own people and assume they are trying to give the establishments an air of respectability or authenticity. There are quite a few of them leading me to make the analogy of what Devon Ave. is to Indian food, Bloomingdale is to mid range Italian American and pizzarias.
There are more than a dozen old buildings in this town dating to the late 1800's. More than some of the gentrifying neighborhoods of Chicago nowadays. About 25 miles west of downtown, it was a farming community established by the three Meacham brothers in 1833 and continued to grow because it was located near the Chicago-Galena Highway aka Lake Street. Amore Ristorante is located in one of these old buildings.
The bar and a few tables are on the first floor and the main dining area is on the second. I was having lunch with the folks and my dad wanted calamari, so we got calamari. Nothing to wax poetically about, but it was properly done, not at all overcooked and served with a nicely acidic and chunky tomato sauce with whole pieces of basil and a few lemon wedges on the side.
Our entrees were Penne Abbruzzesse, Roasted Whitefish with capers and shallots and a side of spinach and Chicken with Polenta. These are all dishes you can find in one variation or another in most Ital/Am. restaurants, but these were made with care and seasoned properly. The sausage in the Penne was homemade and had a fair amount of fennel and the strips of pancetta were plentiful. The sauce could have used a bit more red pepper, but it was a decent representation overall. The Roasted Whitefish was moist with a light egg batter coating and sauced with a lemon butter balsamic reduction. The crinkly spinach was sauteed with shallots and butter, but could have been wilted for about another minute to take the crunch off. Lastly the chicken with polenta was a boneless breast served on a bed of extremly rich polenta made with plenty butter, cream and cheese. It was sauced with a brandy butter sauce and accompanied by green onions and mushrooms and much to my delight, the chicken was topped with a healthy size chunk of sauteed porcini mushroom. So many time menus read, "WILD MUSHROOMS" but never deliver. Finally someone delivered, albeit on a modest scale.
Lastly, this place has a fairly priced, but small wine list and actually offers something produced locally at the Lynfred Winery in Roselle. The wines produced here are very easy drinking and not at all challenging for the beginner, but still remain decent and not cloyingly sweet. The winery is a neat old building which serves as a B&B and is open on a regular basis for tastings and small tours. I believe they use California and maybe some Michigan grapes.
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