Maybe its the new season of the Sopranos or possibly David Hammonds post about turning last weeks farmers market tomatoes into red sauce, but I was in the mood for old school Italian. A place where the wine choice is, you want da red, or what type of place. On Friday night my wife and I headed out to the older of the two Chicago Little Italys, along the 2400 block of South Oakley, and had dinner at Brunas.
My description above is not really fair to Brunas, they actually have quite a nice, reasonably priced, wine list and a menu that goes beyond red sauce items. I will say though that the overall feel of the place is quite old school, right down to the personable owner and comfortable front bar. Speaking of the bar, one of the things that I like about Brunas is the conviviality of the bar, its small enough that conversation amongst patrons is almost inevitable, they serve a mean cocktail and have Italian reds by the glass.
I was in the mood for a dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives and, even though I was half expecting the bartenderess to say they didnt have blue cheese olives, she didnt bat an eye. After a slightly longer than usual wait for my drink, I took a sip and then tasted the olives, immediately realizing that the reason for the wait was she had gone into the kitchen and stuffed the olives herself, a nice touch.
Our dinner started off with a very flavorful appetizer of fresh fig and prosciutto with a little lemon and a twist of fresh pepper. The pepper was a nice touch and really accented the sweet figs and salty prosciutto. Another nice touch was the fact that the figs were peeled, something I had never even thought of doing. We also split a seafood salad as an appetizer, a freshly made combination of squid, bay scallops, sea scallops, shrimp and various greens tossed with a light house made dressing.
For a main course we split the zuppa de peche, a tomato-based mix of clams, shrimp, mussels, scallops and a half of a lobster tail. This was served with a side of linguine and the waitress split the order in the kitchen for us, another nice touch.
For dessert we split a waitress recommended tiramisu, which Brunas makes with cognac, and was quite flavorful, not cloyingly sweet, as are many versions.
When were driving home we wondered, as we always seem to do when we leave Brunas, why it had been so long between visits.
2424 S Oakley Ave
Chicago, IL 60608