Sometimes, very rarely, you’re served a dish—or a series of dishes—that makes your palate snap to attention and inquire, “Hey, where have you taken me?” I had that happen the other night at Randolfi’s Italian Kitchen in the Loop.
I had just taken a bite of the House Salad ($6), a mixture of greens, pear, radish, and fig with a goat cheese-white balsamic vinaigrette. My taste buds frolicked happily. No doubt about it, the kitchen liked to play with flavor and texture combinations. In a world where tossed greens are often a bland prelude to a meal, this salad was a spotlight grabber.
At the server’s suggestion, I got the small version of the Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Pancetta and Sage, $9. (BTW, all their noodles are made in house.) Wow! It was another skillfully prepared dish, this time presented in an artsy, wide-rimmed bowl.
Since the servings tended to be medium in size, I allowed myself dessert, finishing off with the Roasted Pear enhanced with an amaretti crumble and vanilla gelato. Perfecto!
Randolfi’s was a bit on the noisy side, but I can forgive that when the food is this good. By the end of the meal, I wanted to go back to the kitchen and kiss the chef, but the place was crowded and my eating companions heading for the car. But I’ll be back.
Randolfi’s Italian Kitchen, 6665 Delmar Loop, U City. Open: Tue-Sun: 5p-10p.