TYPE OF RESTAURANT
Best Menu Items
1015 N Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Nico Osteria is situated inside the new Thompson Chicago in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. From Executive Chef Paul Kahan and the One Off Hospitality Group, they sought to create a rustic and casual Italian Seafood restaurant which they have well achieved except in pricing of their entrees.
The lounge brings a great atmosphere and a bevy of creative craft cocktails. The dining room is simplistic with no frills, even the chefs in the open kitchen wear uniform baseball caps. Our server was excellent, attentive and very knowledgeable without being intrusive. He made wonderful suggestions on both menu items and the wine list.
The menu has an extensive crudo section of which we selected three. The Hama Hama Oysters were done with cucumber, meyer lemon, and basil making for a light, refreshing shooter. The Razor Clams were chopped and placed back in the shell and topped with fermented chile, green almond, and lava salt. The Wild King Salmon was served with grilled ramps, lime gremolata, and charred jalapeno and drizzled in olive oil.
We selected one of the toasts as a starter. A thick cut slice of white, grilled Italian bread topped with Dungeness crab, celery, and radish which added a peppery finish to the sweet crab. For the pastas, we selected the Garganelli and Saffron Gemelli. The Garganelli was done with rock shrimp, an arugula pesto, and orange. It was light and flavorful, a perfect summer pasta. The Saffron Gemelli was rich and savory, a thick, tubular noodle that held the sauce very well tossed with squid, tripe, and tomato conserva. For "Pesce del Mercato" we chose the Salt Crusted Branzino. A whole fish prepared with forest mushrooms and zante currants. The fish was fresh, tender, and flaked right off the bone. The light sauce let the flavor of the fish stand out beautifully. As an accompaniment, we had the pickled artichokes. They were breaded in panko and light fried and served with a fennel aioli. This was a truly wonderful dining experience.