There was a period of time where all I wanted to eat were dishes from NICO OSTERIA. I don’t mean they have one of my favorite dishes; they have many. I’ve had almost every dish from every menu they have during the day.. and everything is perfect to me.
I even tweeted this once.. and would say the same thing today.
Brunch at Nico Osteria may be on the top of the list for meals of the day, only because it presents the option of being extra leisurely, and of enjoying the sunshine on the patio during the warmer months.
This past Saturday was a perfect summer day, and I couldn’t think of a more perfect patio to enjoy a few hours with my ladies than that of Nico Osteria. So we made a quick reso, made our way over and requested a patio table if available. Because we had to wait a few extra minutes after the host told us that our table was ready. they brought over a glass of champagne to make up for it and to hold us over in the sunshine. That’s a small indication of the type of service you get here.
Once we got seated, it was easy for me to order. I knew my order the minute I suggested Nico for brunch hours earlier: RIGATONI. When I say rigatoni, don’t think of the $2 box you can get at the local grocery store to keep in your pantry for desperate days. Nico makes all of their pastas in-house, and they are all fresh and al dente.
The brunch rigatoni dish features a northern ragu and is topped with a poached egg. I know that may sound simple, but it’s far from. The ragu is rich, deep in flavor. The pasta holds up to the ragu and the poached egg on top… I mean, the soft yolk broken into the ragu creates a rich, silky sauce for the pasta. It is just a perfect dish.
One of my besties had the TAGLIOLINI with leeks, clams and chili. Again, perfect pasta, this time lighter but with a spicy kick to it.
No brunch at Nico Ostera is complete without a pastry or dessert. We had a selection of each. I went with another reason I go to Nico for brunch – the KOUGN AMANN.
Crispy and syrupy on the outside, almost creamy and flaky on the inside. Served with fior di latte and blackberry jam (not pictured). Add a cup of coffee to that, and it’s basically a perfect breakfast for everyday. For me, it’s the dessert ending I wanted.
We also had the PEACH ALMOND TART with sweet corn, olve oil and frosted almonds. Light, perfect for summer.
And lastly, the PANNA COTTA with fresh plums, lemon verbena, lime and moscato granita.
If you haven’t yet been to Nico Osteria, go. Go for any meal of the day. Of all the restaurants in Chicago, it makes my top 3 as my local pick on One Hundred Tables.
As a side note… I mentioned the service earlier. The service is not only at Nico Osteria, it’s the entire team working at the Thompson Hotel. They are the nicest people. I had a car mishap at valet (my fault) and the valet staff were so gracious and helpful… I truly appreciated their approach and concern for the situation. It’s always heart-warming to know that good people still exist. Thank you.