Subway: Green, Pink to Clinton(312) 207-1900 trattoriaisabellachicago.com41.886291 -87.642616 217 N Jefferson St (at Fulton St) West Loop, Chicago
Lunch (MonFri), dinnerAverage main course: $20
The suave greetings from slicksters in suits, the sly handshakes with well-heeled fiftysomethings, the nose-thumbing move of ashtrays in the bar area...so many signs scream old-school Italian joint that you’d never guess this place was only a few weeks old. The menu of Italian-American specialties (chicken Vesuvio, veal Marsala) doesn’t excite much, but a handful of standards are done surprisingly well. Crispy calamari is incredibly tender and greaseless, and we could have made a meal out of the fantastic Big Night salad topped with perfectly grilled, big fat shrimp and bright artichokes. In fact, maybe we should have: Four-cheese ravioli’s sage butter sauce was incredibly salty, and a chicken breast’s goat cheese and spinach stuffing didn’t save it from drying out.