Opened on the same day as Chicago's new Italian mega-store, Eataly, One Off Hospitality's newest venture, Nico Osteria has hit the Gold Coast with a bang. Its chef-driven Italian cuisine, sophisticated cocktails, creative desserts, all-star cast, and elegant interior inside the Thompson Hotel has drawn mostly positive reaction. Open for less than two months, here's the early word on Nico Osteria.
The Secret News: According to Tasting Table, "The secret to Nico Osteria is in the bar." Apart from the hustle and bustle of the dining room where, "dropping dishes, fighting to get through the tiny spaces between the tables or screaming to be heard over the roar of the espresso grinder" occurs, the Salone has "quiet and order," and is the "perfect spot for a romantic rendezvous." [Tasting Table]
The Thirsty News: Recently featured in Town&Country was Nico's "snowbird" concoction. Bartender Matty Eggleston who created this specific cocktail mentioned,"The drink itself feels reminiscent of warmer climates, and hopefully makes winters in Chicago more bearable." [Town&Country]
The Seafood News: Admitting that he was lured into the Viagra Triangle by the one and only Paul Kahan, SeriousEats, Nick Kindelsperger became yet another Nico believer. After trying the Grilled Octopus Fettunta, Kindelsperger noted, "It tastes both rustic and well balanced, something that kind of sums Nico Osteria up nicely." [Serious Eats]
The Let them Eat Cake News: Bubbly and talented pastry chef at Nico Osteria, Amanda Rockman, willingly revealed her classic fruitcake recipe with Emily Fiffer from DailyCandy over the holiday. "Unlike bad fruitcake, ours is incredibly moist." Besides said fruitcake, Rockman also mentioned, "Our breakfast and lunch service just launched. A few highlights are our chestnut coffee cake and kouign-amann (we call them "queens" in the kitchen)." [Daily Candy]
The Hype News: Bedsides scoping out the bi-level lounge action and naming Nico's scene as "Gold Coast boisterousness," Urban Daddy raved about Nico's Neapolitan-style ragu and the Smoked Whitefish Triangolini. "You'll never look at triangolini the same way again." [Urban Daddy]
The Value News: A FourSquare user leaves a tip: "The otoro tuna appetizer is a waste of money . They give a big story on how rare it is, charge you $30 and then give you a portion that you literally can't get a taste because the slices are so small." [FourSquare]
The Freshness News: Rachel Handler from Splash Chicago boasts that, "Nico Osteria's coastal Italian fare brightens up Chicago" and discusses the underlying concepts of this coastal Italian seafood driven tavern with chef Paul Kahan. Kahan says, "an appreciation for that simplicity — and for the freshness of the food — is what we focus on at Nico." [Splash Chicago]
The Love Bird News: Word on the tweet-street is that love is in the air. Daily Candy tweeted, "We're in love with a hot Italian in the Gold Coast (that's you, @NicoOsteria)." [Twitter]
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Eater Chicago intern Aimee Gasior contributed to this story.