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Pane Caldo - Chicago

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Pane Caldo is one of those places that is recommended only so often, but when it is, it always seems to be recommended with a good amount of enthusiasm. That being said, I can't seem to find any accounts of an actual meal eaten there. Well, time to fix that.


Dinner at Pane Caldo with the in-laws last night was a real treat. The room was full, but for whatever reason this place has flown mostly below the radar of the online food world.


I started with the roasted scallops, served in the shell with a really delicious provencale sauce. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the sauce had a richness to it that made you want to sop it all up with a piece of bread. The wife had a ceviche of fresh abalone and shrimp that also included some smoked sable and mullet. This was also delicious.


For my main course I had John Dory served with razor clams in a creamy summer truffle sauce. Again, perfectly cooked fish (exterior slightly browned, interior moist and flaky) complemented by a delightful sauce. Served with some simply cooked vegetables, this was a great main course if not the most creative. Also, the texture of the razor clams provided a nice counterpoint to the John Dory. The wife had cappellini with shaved black truffles, served with olive oil and herbs. Simple and delicious, she just about finished the whole bowl (and she rarely finishes main courses at restaurants).


The dessert menu was one of the largest I've seen at a restaurant at this level. Divided into sections for chocolate, ice cream, fruit, and cheese there were probably 4-5 choices in each category. I went with the chocolate pane caldo, which was kind of a cold chocolate/banana bread pudding. Served with passion fruit mousse and housemade vanilla ice cream this was a relatively light and refreshing way to end the meal.


This place is a slam dunk 3-stars and should be considered a great option for a nice night out without going to a top tier place (Alinea, Avenues, Tru, etc.). I'm already looking forward to my next trip back (whenever that may be).


Pane Caldo

72 E. Walton




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