photo: courtesy of Trattoria Tullo
The joy of Trattoria Trullo, formerly located in Evanston for 10 years, lies in its three-places-in-one concept: It's a cafe, a deli and an upscale restaurant all in one lovely setting.
A small deli counter offers up meats, cheeses, olives, pastas, vinegars, olive oils and breads hailing from Italy (specifically the region of Puglia). The deli counter sits in the front of the building, near the bar and cafe. White walls, high grey ceilings and warm wooden floors lend an inviting feel to the spacious dining area.
Dark, wooden, high-top tables pepper the cafe, which has its own menu, featuring appetizers like tortino di granchio, crab cakes with grilled asparagus and pesto aioli or cozze ripiene, baked mussels stuffed with parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, garlic and parsley and served in a tomato sauce ($5). Entrees include gnocchi tartufo, a spinach stuffed potato gnocchi with green peas tossed in a black truffle cream sauce that literally melts in your mouth and ravioli alla vodka, cheese filled ravioli topped with a vodka mascarpone tomato cream sauce. There's also authentic pugliese thin-crust pizza.
The main dining room feels open and airy, with a more sophisticated vibe than the cafe. White linens dress the tables and large paintings of Italian villages hang on the walls. A banquet area, with black-and-white photographs of the owner's family, occupies one half of the main space. The whole restaurant nods to nostalgia but is also decidedly modern. For the main menu, choose from appetizers like bruschetta, calamari and prosciutto, soups like classic minestrone and salads. Entrees include cappellini con polpa di granchio, angel hair pasta with crab meat, green peas and plum tomato sauce and vitello alla trullo, veal scallopine sauteed with Italian sausage, capers and mushrooms. Most dishes cost $16-$20.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Christy Bonstell