Forget about getting those calzones and deep-dish pizzas at 1212 N. Dearborn St.Edwardo's Natural Pizzas has been reborn as Eduardo's Enoteca.
Last year, the eatery closed for renovationsand, boy, has it changed. The bright, family-friendly atmosphere now has a more intimate one. There is a more sophisticated setting, complete with features such as drop ceilings.
In addition, the menu now has antipasti such as zucchini carpaccio, salads like spinach pancetta and black ink linguini among its pasta dishes. There is still pizza, but these rustic items are varieties such as potato gorgonzola and prosciutto arugula. (However, all of the items are moderately priced, with just about all the items costing $15 or less.)
When asked what led to the overhaul, proprietor/Executive Chef Noah Himmel said, "This is a family business. ... Edwardo's has been around for about 30 years, and we hadn't done much to change the concept. I wanted to do something that stuck with an Italian theme, but I wanted to freshen it up and make items that are much lighter."
Himmel wants to make the restaurant an alternative to the frat-boy nightlife on nearby Division Street. "We don't have baseline liquors. We make our own juices and our own syrups for our cocktails. It's an intimate space that's great for a first date," he said. [Note: I have to disagree with this statement. Coffeehouses are great for first dates nowadays. People would have to earn their privilege to eat here.] "We don't want people coming in here drunk at 2 a.m."
Speaking of eating, the food and extensive wine list are definitely above the cut. My dining partner and I really liked the wild mushroom crostini. What's more impressive is that my friend was totally converted by the Brussels sprouts (which may not be at the restaurant now, as it's out of season)she absolutely hated them before trying them at Eduardo's. The aforementioned proscuitto arugula pizza is heavenly, by the way. Also, you can't leave without trying dessert; in the case of the ricotta cheesecake, the restaurant definitely saved the best for last. (However, you might have to arrive early for the flourless chocolate cake, as the eatery was out of it at 7:45 p.m.)
Oh, by the way, when you're there, say hello to manager Jonathan Selfone of the friendliest guys you'll ever meet (actually hugging me on my way out). On the night I went there, he was actually helping to shovel snow off the sidewalk.
See www.eduardosenoteca.com .