Last night I tried to get Missy Robbins to say nice things about Chicago, but I couldn’t do it.
Missy was the chef at Spiaggia in the Windy City for five years or so, working under chef-owner Tony Mantuano. But she’s from the New York area and is clearly very happy to be back.
She has a good job. She’s been the chef at the critically acclaimed A Voce for about the past six months, replacing Andrew Carmellini, who left late last spring.
I ate there last night with one of her publicists, young John Weiss from the Susan Magrino Agency. I don't think John would like me to call him young, as he is a five-year veteran of the New York PR world, where five years is a lifetime. And he’s spent it all at the same agency. But I mean, come on: He’s 27.
Nice guy, though. Good dining companion.
I have always found Chicago to be a great restaurant city and I told Missy so, but she neither agreed nor disagreed with me. I asked if she missed it, and she said she thought Spiaggia was a great place to work and that Tony Mantuano was still a good friend of hers.
Well, all-righty then.
I imagine New York’s as glad to have her back as she is to be here.
What we ate (after I took the day's edge off with a Negroni):
Ricotta di bufala with extra virgin olive oil, mint, thyme, chiles and thick crusty bread.
Pugliese burrata with grilled broccoli raab and basil
Roasted trumpet royal mushrooms with fonduta, truffle and hazelnuts
Chestnut pappardelle with pork sausage and treviso
Pecorino and ricotta filled pasta with Savoy cabbage, bacon and black pepper
One other pasta; I believe Tagliatelle with oxtail ragù and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Roasted monkfish with purple artichokes, baby fennel and sweet green olives
Grilled lamb chops, braised lamb neck, borlotti beans and root vegetable sofrito
Chocolate Zuppa Inglesa with hazelnut brittle
Vanilla panna cotta with Meyer lemon and thyme