Cibo Matto | Restaurant review
Checking in on theWit Hotel’s new chefs.
First, a note about State & Lake: It’s time to give up on the place. It was a disaster when it opened and—though hopes abounded—a disaster it remains. A recent meal there proved that even under the new tutelage of chef Evan Percoco (who replaced Todd Stein as theWit’s executive chef in January), the ship cannot be saved—there are too many slabs of stiff, chewy ribs, too many prison cafeteria–grade “filets” weighing the thing down. Upstairs at Cibo Matto, however, it’s a different story. There, Percoco plates crunchy calamari over a bed of briny squid-ink risotto, finishing it all with a canny sprinkle of lime zest. His pastas are accomplished, his porchetta is juicy—he even elevates cotton candy above gimmickry by infusing the stuff with cinnamon. But folks shouldn’t go too crazy with the cotton candy; they should, instead, go insane with Toni Roberts’s pastries. No flavor is masked in this woman’s desserts—a blueberry-buttermilk gelato actually delivers the tang of buttermilk, offsetting the nutty, candylike sweetness of a slice of maple–pine nut crostata, and copious amounts of chocolate are no match for the anise notes of Sambuca in a budino. It’s Roberts’s zeppole that bring it home, though: Fried until golden, stuffed with ricotta, and paired with blackberry gelato, these are doughnuts that will ride the wave of Chicago’s current fried-dough obsession—and live on long after it’s over. 201 N State St (312-239-9500).