Thursday, January 22, 2004

Rapini Run
(Paying for the blog)

Last week I mentioned Bertucci's, the barely discussed Italian restaurant in Chinatown. The post got Seth's mouth watering. Now, everything right in this blog (surely the things not prone to argument) are the handiwork of Seth. He's cleaned up a lot of bad HTML on my part and even gave me permalinks (waiting patiently for someone to use). Lunch at Bertucci's seemed the only way to express my gratitude.

And I guess I am pretty darn happy with this whole system. I loved Bertucci's. We benefited greatly from some name dropping by Seth. Much to my chagrin, my highly touted recommendation of veal with rapini was not on the lunch menu. But Seth threw out the word Mayor, and given the high population of city workers there, is it our fault that Mayor's were confused? When, I did agree to pay the dinner price for the veal, they agreed to make it.

This may be my favorite plate of food in Chicago. No one else combines the things I like so expertly like this. Divide the plate into thirds. One third gets a flat, crisp circle of breaded veal, much better than your local greek, not quite provimi; another third gets thick discs of fresh made cottage fried potatoes, a little greasy and a little crunch less than ideal; the last third gets the memory inducing rapini. All thirds get drenched in garlic. I suppose it is not on the lunch menu to protect those on their way to meetings. The magic of this trilogy is that each of these flavors and textures blends into the one next to it, similar but different, complimentary yet distinct.

Bertucci may be wholly cool, but it is not perfect. Baked clams were too soggy, and some of the clams chewy. Too much dressing drowned the salad (even if I smiled at the non-canned olive). Still, do you really expect or need a place like this to be perfect? With a couple of waitresses asking youz guys what you want, a variety of entertainment machines to occupy you if you got bored and this much garlic, who needs perfect.

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