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Hank Baldpate | May 16, 200511:54 AM

Recently dined at the new Bucktown joint Scylla in a group of four--really outstanding. It's a storefront with additional seating upstairs and suprisingly comfortable given the small size--the layout maximizes the space. The menu is seafood-heavy in general and we all pretty much stayed that course with one exception.

Our appetizers were escargot and bacon with some kind of tomato/leek compote. This was a nice departure from the traditional garlic/butter setting and I found them to be both flavorful and light; of course, bacon improves everything. We also had the prosciutto- wrapped shrimp, which came sans prosciutto for whatever reason, but the pomengranate sauce was pleasant nonetheless. We also had an order of raw oysters.

Entrees were the seared scallops with pancetta,
potato gnocchi and tarragon, again served sans the pancetta -- not sure what was going on with the cured meats that night but they replaced it with a crispy flat of baked parmesan cheese, which was very satisfying. Also had the hawaiian hebi, which I had never even heard of, let alone had, and found it to be a dense, meaty but somewhat flavorful fish. It was served Roy's style in a kind of artichoke sauce. My favorite was the hawaiian walu over truffle, port and asparagus sauce with potato gnocci. This was a lighter, flakier white fish and truly superb in this setting.

Desserts included the ice cream tasting (olive oil good, ginger not so much, basil surprisingly good), a mascarpone cheese and the pannacotta, all solid.

Fine wine list and the beer list is excellent--heavy on Belgian ales including the stupendous Saison Dupont.

Finally, despite the cured meat issues, the service was excellent--we had an attractive blonde Betty-Page type and she could not have been more gracious. This place is definitely a keeper.

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