Formerly: You don't have to sacrifice cuisine for convenience, which experience has taught us to expect from mall restaurants. This Lettuce Entertain You eatery, located at The 900 Shops mall on Michigan Avenue, serves Italian fare that's more Scoozi! than Sbarro—homemade pastas and ravioli, thin-crust pizzas, chicken and seafood.
Charmingly decorated as an Italian country abode and divided into living room, sunroom, barn and patio sections, guests are playfully asked whether they want to sit indoors or outdoors. We sat "outdoors," in a seemingly real cafe patio complete with an arbor draped in faux foliage.
Use whatever restraint you can muster on the bottomless bread basket and plate of olive oil, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar before jumping into antipasti like grilled calamari with roasted peppers, basil, lemon vinaigrette and baby arugula. Lunchtime shoppers should do as we did and order a duo combo plate, two half-size portions of Tucci favorites. Mine was a Caesar salad and a deliciously crispy margherita pizza; his was a chicken caprese sandwich and tomato basil soup so good I couldn't stop dipping my bread in it. Come dinner, full portions of chopped salad, baked spaghetti tucci, Roman-style pizza and chicken marsala abound. Entrees average $8.95-$14.95, though you'll pay a bit more for seafood or veal.
We got dessert to share, and when the warm apple crostado with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce came out, we quickly learned we had made a mistake: We should have ordered two.
Reviewed By: Albrey Nuss