At 1pm on a very recent Thursday, the very new Tasty & Alder was slammed. We took a spot on the waiting list, were carefully minded, and twenty minutes later wedged into a two-top in the middle of the room. Staff handled the capacity crowd with ease; dishes were checked up on, water always filled, payment ran quickly. In both vibe and menu it was basically like walking into a larger, more well-lit room off of Tasty & Sons. John Gorham and company clearly didn't miss a beat with this place (the man himself was raptly surveying the scene while we ate), which was born with a first-class ticket in its pocket less than two weeks ago.
Via Chicago has finally gone truck-to-table (is this the term we're going with?) up on NE Alberta, and a quick slice one rainy afternoon last week revealed a strikingly new space that has a lot of filling in to do, but already feels ready to host lunch or dinner. One slice for a respectable snack, two for a meal. The roll-up doors will provide welcome outdoor seating this spring, and there is no finer food match for a cone next door at Salt & Straw.
Ciao Vito's new Barcelonian chef Jose Chesa, who took over for chef Vito DiLullo in July, is filling out Vito's Italian classics with a good assortment of tapas. I stop in regularly to build a dinner off their happy hour menu, which features the above beautiful tortilla (only $4), potatoes bravas, croquetas, and at least a dozen other excellent snacks. While a July changeover isn't exactly "new" news, this quiet, dark, comfortable neighborhood place doesn't get as much buzz as it deserves, so I'm doing what I can to make sure I can't get in any more.