Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SAVOR REVIEW Prosecco; LGBTQ+-owned Marina's Bistro
by Andrew Davis
2024-01-26

This article shared 10164 times since Fri Jan 26, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The last time I visited the Italian restaurant Prosecco (710 N. Wells St.; proseccochicago.com ), it looked quite different.

Way back in 2017, the restaurant definitely had more of an old-school Italian feel (a la Gene & Georgetti), with white cloths covering tables nestled close to each other. However, a few years ago, Prosecco underwent a massive renovation, resulting in a spot with a very contemporary feel, down to those tables being replaced by sleek contemporary items and the wine display behind the bar. Even Mark Sparacino has altered his look; the always sleek chef/co-owner now sports longer hair and more facial hair.

Fortunately, the quality of the cuisine has not changed. Regarding the appetizers, the delightful burrata was accompanied by port-poached pears (say that three times fast), while my dining companion and I also loved the ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms. Regarding entrees, my friend had a customized norcina (having the rigatoni and light cream without meat); it was perfectly cooked. I opted for the wild-boar ragu with pappardelle—a delicious item that provided leftovers for a couple days. And the desserts (fruit tart and butter cake) were heavenly, with the latter just melting into our mouths.

Prosecco's menu selection is substantial but not overwhelming. Items on the main menu are divided into hot and cold antipasti, salads (note: Go for that bread service), pasta and risottos, "mare" (seafood) and "terra" (land creatures). Some of the more intriguing options include dattero (bacon-wrapped, Italian sausage-stuffed dates), agnello (balsamic- and rosemary-marinated rack of lamb, with charred green beans) and even lumache (jumbo snails with Prosciutto di Parma, brandy and garlic cream, accompanied by crostini).

I heartily recommend Prosecco (and it has a separate menu—with regular and premier dinner options—for Chicago Restaurant Week, which runs through Feb. 4).

Marina's Bistro

At first, I thought I was being misled.

When checking out Google Maps to chart my course to the Puerto Rican restaurant Marina's Bistro & Rum Bar (4554 N. Magnolia Ave.; www.marinasbistrochicago.com ), the map took me past Magnolia Avenue. However, it turns out that the eatery is in a strip mall, just down the street from Truman College.

But once you find it, you'll be glad you got there.

Owner Eric Roldan (a member of the LGBTQ+ community) launched Marina's Aug. 19, 2023 after starting what turned out to be a very successful ghost kitchen during the COVID pandemic, using recipes from his mother (who the restaurant is named after) and grandmother. Roldan chose Uptown because he had lived here and noticed that there's a diverse community—but a lack of restaurants that reflects the various demographics.

"No one has ever asked me that question," Roldan replied when asked what distinguishes Puerto Rican cuisine from others. "We use plantains, meats and a Caribbean influence to make dishes that are flavorful." (At Marina's, meat-filled dishes can be customized to accommodate vegetarians and vegans. When I asked how his mother and grandmother would react to those changes, Roldan simply smiled and shook his head.)

And, regarding flavor, Marina's certainly succeeds on several fronts. The large croqueta was delightful while the other app that I tried, plantain chips with hummus de gandules (pigeon peas, garlic and roasted red pepper), made for an addictive dish. Regarding the mains, my dining companion sampled the fried pork chop that came with Puerto Rican rice while I had a yucca/plantain mofongo with chicken, and they were solid dishes. However, the dessert—budin de pan with homemade ice cream—was absolutely outstanding. (Note: Marina's is only serving its Chicago Restaurant Week items through Feb. 4—and, interestingly, Roldan said his spot is the first Puerto Rican restaurant to take part in the annual event. Marina's will offer its regular menu after that.)

The drinks also deserve mentioning. I initially had an El Charlie Brown as a cocktail. (Normally, it's a shot.) The combination of white rum, anisette, honey, pineapple and fresh lemon juice was refreshing and very enjoyable, even with the slight licorice kick at the end. (I'm not the biggest fan of licorice.)

By the way, Roldan said that brunch is slated to start in March. I'm looking forward to it.

The offerings at Marina's will make you a believer in Puerto Rican cuisine—and maybe in strip malls.

Note: These visits were arranged.


This article shared 10164 times since Fri Jan 26, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SAVOR A new Sushi By Bou, a seafood boil class and James Beard scholarships 2024-02-18
- Pop life: Don't forget my other Substack: "Pop-Eds: My takes on pop culture." Thank you so much to the people who've already subscribed. The latest entry (Feb. 17) features Beyonce, Zendaya and my Oscar predictions. Subscribe ...


Gay News

SAVOR At Willies 'n Waffles, sexuality is on the menu 2024-02-12
- Having written about Chicago's culinary scene for at least 15 years, this writer has covered all sorts of spotsā€”from Michelin-starred upscale establishments to those so-called "holes in the wall" that can serve some of the best ...


Gay News

SAVOR 'The Bear,' new pizza lounge, Chicago Black Restaurant Week 2024-02-11
- "Bear" necessities: The third season of the Chicago-set series The Bear will debut in June, per Variety. FX chairman John Landgraf made the announcement during the network's presentation at the Television Critics Association's winter 2024 press ...


Gay News

SAVOR Taylor's Tacos' Chef Taylor Mason on being part of the Vegas event 'Pepsi Dig In' 2024-02-08
- On Feb. 8-10 (Super Bowl weekend), Taylor's Tacos Chef Taylor Mason and wife/co-owner Maya Mason will be showcasing two exclusive dishes at the Pepsi Dig In: Brunch with the Best takeover at Delano Las Vegas, giving ...


Gay News

SAVOR Jean Banchet Awards, new Black-owned spots and free pizza 2024-02-04
- Congrats!: The winners of the Jean Banchet Awards—which honor Chicago cuisine—were recently announced at Venue Six10. Longtime Chicago Tribune critic Phil Vettel was (justifiably) honored with the Culinary Excellence of ...


Gay News

SAVOR Chocolatier Uzma Sharif on being part of World of Chocolate 2024-02-03
- AIDS Foundation Chicago will hold its annual World of Chocolate event on Friday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. at Union Station, 500 W. Jackson Blvd. Attendees will embark on a global tour of chocolate—but there will ...


Gay News

SAVOR Valentine's/Galentine's Day offerings for 2024 2024-02-01
- Love is in the air—until it isn't. While some couples will be getting ready to celebrate their closeness (and all that other mushy stuff) on Valentine's Day, others will get together to celebrate Galentine's Day (celebrating ...


Gay News

New Survey: Unstable housing most cited reason for food insecurity among LGBTQ+ youth 2024-01-30
--From a Williams Institute press release - A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that 85% of LGBTQ+ youth programs surveyed said unstable housing was the main reason LGBTQ+ youth had inadequate access to food. The programs ...


Gay News

SAVOR Going 'Underground,' change at Skylark and Mango Pickle closing 2024-01-29
- Pop(-up) life: Chef Mariya Moore-Russell—who guided the local spot Kikko to a Michelin star, becoming the first Black woman to helm a kitchen with one of the food world's highest honors—is returning to Chicago to lead ...


Gay News

SAVOR TriBecca's hiccup, CRW deals, Beam Suntory dinner and more 2024-01-21
- The Avondale spot TriBecca's Sandwich Shop had to temporarily close because of flooding caused by a burst water pipe. However, it ...


Gay News

SAVOR Italian restaurant recommendation and a 'Barbie/Maestro' giveaway 2024-01-14
- Restaurant recommendation: My recommendation is a spot that is the epitome of old-school Italian cuisine: Tuscany on Taylor, 1500 W. Taylor St. Antipasti include spicy grilled octopus (polpi), calamari fritti and even wagyu meatballs. There are ...


Gay News

SAVOR REVIEW The Hyde Park spot Mesler Kitchen 2024-01-11
- When it comes to Chicago's North Side restaurants, there are many restaurants that deserve to be revisited. However, other areas of the city also have spots that warrant repeated visits. For example, in Hyde Park alone ...


Gay News

SAVOR REVIEW Jook Sing provides Asian street food with a twist 2024-01-06
- The term "jook sing" refers to individuals of Asian descent who were born in Western countries—and it's a term that connotes a sense of fusion. Jook Sing restaurant (1329 W. Chicago Ave.) brings that fusion to ...


Gay News

SAVOR World of Chocolate, Jaleo and 'Superhot' 2023-12-31
- World of wonder: I am excited to announce that I will be a judge at AIDS Foundation Chicago's World of Chocolate fundraiser! Join me in sampling delicious chocolate from local chefs and help support a great ...


Gay News

SAVOR New Year's Eve/Day offerings 2023-12-26
- Can that really be 2024 peeking around the corner? (Hint: If you celebrate Christmas, the shredded paper under the tree means "yes.") Well, before it gets here, there are so many options in Chicago for people ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.