A Milano Italian Grill (Northfield)

Update: A Milano is now closed. RIP.

There are many reasons why I should hate A Milano. It occupies the location where my beloved Brasserie T once stood, and I can't say that I'm not still mourning its loss. I mean, we're talking about Northfield, for chrissakes. Brasserie T was as fabulous a restaurant as our town can ever hope to get. How I miss the crusty baguettes with white bean dip! The homemade rootbeer floats! Gale Gand, why hast thou forsaken me?

After it closed, MK North opened in its place. I only ate there a few times, and I thought the food was underwhelming. Perhaps others did, too, because the owner (Michael Kornick) soon remodelled and revamped the place into a swanky, sexy (well, as sexy as you can get on the North Shore) Italian bistro.

Huge back-lit geode art pieces line the walls, and flamboyant red, yellow and orange light pieces dangle from the ceiling. Dramatic curtains can be draped in various arrangments to create a sense of intimacy and privacy.

The setting still makes me giggle a bit, because when I was little the space used to be occupied by a slightly seedy bar and restaurant called Danny's, where I would play the cocktail version of Ms. Pac-Man for hours and eat popcorn shrimp. Now it's the kind of place where anorexic North Shore ladies pick at their Caesar salads and suited men trade stock tips.

Again, I want to hate A Milano, because we had pretty terrible service there last night at dinner. Our meal took forever to arrive, the waitress disappeared for long stretches at a time, they brought us the wrong food or, in my grandma's case, no food at all, and their wine glasses are teeny tiny and filled to the brim. My dad was not impressed by the lack of iced tea spoons, traditionally objects of great importance to him. I was prepared to shun the place as I had MK North.

Then our food arrived. And I'll be damned if it wasn't divine. I had Chicken Firenze - a plump roast bird that had been sizzled with Thai chilis, lemon and herbs and plunked in a pool of gorgeous caramel-colored sauce. I also ordered a side of creamy, perfectly-seasoned polenta. Others at the table got spaghetti and meatballs (lovely), the Big Salad (chock-full of artichoke hearts, blue cheese, various salumi, bleu cheese, carrots ...and on and on), a delectable side of eggplant parmesan, and a tender veal cutlet topped with a medley of sweet peppers and raisins. To atone for the fact that the veal was delivered late to the table, we also received a small antipasti platter that was perfectly delish.

Oh, A Milano. You did everything wrong, but your food was lovely. You just opened a month ago, so maybe you're still working out the kinks. I hope so, because I'm ready to put the past behind me and embrace you. Just get some decent wine glasses. And an iced tea spoon.

Categories: Chicago
April 19, 2005

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