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The Chicago Traveler


by Matt B on January 8th, 2008

Spaghetti, penne, rigatoni' pasta is pasta is pasta, right? Maybe not. Using the highest-quality products he can find, chef Theo Gilbert creates organic, nourishing foods that are certainly appreciated by his hungry customers. He changes the menu at Terragusto every couple of weeks based on what he finds at local farmers' markets, keeping the selection new and fresh. And while the food is high-quality, the restaurant is far from stuffy: there are no fancy linens and corkage is only $1 per person.

From outside, you can catch a glimpse of workers kneading pasta on a wooden block near the window. However, once inside, the space is very simple, and there will be nothing to distract you visually. There isn't much (if any) decorative art, and if it weren't for the modern light sconces, the sage green walls would be bare. The focus here isn't meant to be on the 'bells and whistles' of dining; rather, Terragusto centers on the food and all its great ingredients.

To get the most out of your dining experience, it is best to order a pasta dish as your main course and then request a meat entr'e to be shared in the center of the table, in true Italian style. Choose between organic pork loin, organic half-chicken, wild catch of the day, or all-natural beef steak. Each is rubbed with the restaurant's very own herbed sea salt, roasted in cast iron, and presented with baked polenta and veggies.

While Terragusto offers a handful of salad choices (including an excellent combination of strawberries, spinach leaves, and goat cheese), pasta is definitely the star here. Don't walk away from this place without trying the gnocchi, capellacci di zucca, or verde alla bolognese. You'll find that this pasta is pasta at its best.

Terragusto ($$$): 1851 W Addison St; 773-248-2777
Reservations highly recommended
Tues ' Fri: 6:00 p.m. ' 10:00 p.m.
Sat: 5:00 p.m. ' 10:00 p.m.
Sun: 5:00 p.m. ' 8:30 p.m.
Street parking difficult
Public trans: Bus # 11, 50, 152 or Brown Line train (Addison)

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POSTED IN: Restaurants

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