Chicago: Going Italian For Lunch at Quartino

chicken soup

chicken soup

My friend was in the mood for meatballs and remembered her co-worker had suggested Quartino for Italian. This coworker claimed it was one of her favorites.

We didn’t have any specific lunch plans that day so I readily agreed. Oh, little did I know.

It started off well enough. It was quite cold so I decided to get some chicken soup. You got plenty of chicken and it seemed like a popular dish as I saw a lot of little green tureens go out.

caprese

caprese

 

We did make a mistake ordering the caprese. Being California girls, we forgot not everyone gets good produce in the winter. The tomatoes didn’t taste like anything and the mozarella came straight out of the walk-in. Perhaps if the cheese got to room temperature, we might be able to taste something. Instead we concentrated on the textures; unripe firm tomatoes and cold slabs of moz.

shrimp

shrimp scampi

I could not eat the shrimp. It was just not fresh and had a terrible fishy taste.

ravioli

pork ravioli with speck

 

Sadly, the pork ravioli with speck was also not up to par. The ravioli were not cooked and I do like al dente. No, these were severely underdone. If you just ate the pork itself or the speck, you were okay though. Throw those ravioli back in the water!

 

mushroom risotto

mushroom risotto

 

Oh man, what is this? I ordered mushroom risotto thinking I’d get some creamy rice with sliced mushrooms or something. No, I got what was clearly a porridge of rice with the mushrooms that had been cooked in it creating this gray, unappealing looking mush. Sad.

meatballs

meatballs

But the meatballs? They were fine. I prefer mine to actually be made of ground meat but the taste was interesting if you like sweet and tart. Flavors are similar to Jewish comfort food. Alas, I didn’t want processed looking meatballs. These were just too smooth, as if the meat had been pulverized and then shaped into balls.

I’m never eating with my friend’s coworker.

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar

626 N State St., Chicago, IL 60614  —  (312) 698-5000

© The Minty  2013