Tonight's the night that Billy Lawless (The Gage, The Dawson) opens his first Italian restaurant and the former home of Henri has a new concept. Acanto, originally named 10/6, soft opens the doors in a matter of minutes on Michigan Avenue.
Chef Chris Gawronski's opening dinner menu is indicative of Lawless' desire for Acanto to be more relaxed and easier to navigate than its formal French forefather. It begins with a selection of 11 cheeses, priced between $5.50 and $7.50, and salumi ($10). Antipastis include crudo ($17), proscuitto and cantaloupe ($16), and an heirloom tomato salad ($13). Two pizzas, five pastas (including duck egg spaghetti, $17), and five protein-based entrees, topping out at a suckling pig three ways for $38, are among the larger plates.
The full wine and cocktail lists are unavailable at press time, GM/sommelier Jon McDaniel says that the menu features more than 300 wines, from "easy drinking amazing values" to a five-decade cellar list. Beer choices include Italian craft and domestic small-production on two taps and in eight bottles, while the cocktail list includes four low-alcohol mixes and five house cocktails—that don't use amaro as an ingredient.