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Dillman’s, Done Over

June 06, 2014
Cocello

A mere eight months after opening in River North, prolific chef and restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff shuttered the bafflingly controversial Dillman’s Deli (diners were expecting a traditional Jewish deli, which it wasn’t, and was never supposed to be) in order to overhaul and relaunch the space as a boutique Italian bistro, Cocello. New to the venue is a summer-ready 50-seat patio, as well as a vintage fitout of plush red velvet tub chairs, classic bentwoods, rustic walls and table settings, and an Italian kitchen-style checkered floor which all render the space inviting, relaxed and intimate.

Traditional plates span light citrus salad with grapefruit, chicory and dates, and truffle polenta fritta with a poached egg, to heartier entrées of porchetta stuffed with rosemary and garlic. There’s also a solid selection of modern pastas such as egg and ricotta cheese-stuffed ravioli in a brown butter sauce, and the simple but popular gnocchi with peas and ham. In fact, candour and simplicity seem to be the theme here, which is hardly surprising after Sodikoff’s exasperation over people missing the point of Dillman’s. Drinks have been divvied up into ‘light’ (think Aperol Spritz with Stiegl Radler Grapefruit) and ‘strong’ (Black Manhattan with rye, abano and bitters) categories – but there’s nothing faffy or fancy, just clean flavours. Semplice!

354 W Hubbard St / River North / +1 312 888 9195 / dinner daily / cocello.com
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