chowhound joel and i and 2 friends, looking for a neighborhood italian restaurant new to us, tried il vicinato last week. while the place has been there for years, looks great(very simple, attractive room), and seems quite popular on a saturday night, it was a serious disappointment. the meal started off very promisingly(if you ignore the fact that they lost our reservation-a potential problem on a saturday night). we shared a fantastic polenta in a fresh tasting tomato sauce. it was extra fine cornmeal, 2 light and almost fluffy balls, very delicious. i also enjoyed the cold seafood salad, tho joel had reservations, which proved to be well founded when he got sick in the middle of the night.(neither i nor my friend else who also ate it got sick). the entrees, on the other hand, were terrible. we shared the daily risotto- one look and it was obvious that they hadnt used the proper rice, arborio. it wasnt remotely authentic, and it tasted awful in its own right. the homemade ravioli with bolognese was doughy, lumpy and tasteless. the only halfway tasty dish was the chicken vesuvio. it was excessively greasy, but moderately juicy. all the dishes were oversized. but what's the point if the food isnt worth eating.
an italian restaurant that makes inauthentic risotto bewilders and annoys me. even if i had liked more of the meal, i dont want to patronize a place that could serve that inedible rice dish and call it risotto.
unhappily, the roomful of diners didnt seem to mind(or notice) the bad food. what a depressing experience.
il vicinato, 2400 w. western