When you walk into Bar Forza you might be impressed by the warm decor, a space made comfortable with dark woods and bronze accents. You might similarly be stirred by the beautiful bar with its mirrored backing and its center stand of draft beers. You might, I say, but ah, when you eat, when you dine, you will say “Oh, Bar Forza, where you have been all my life?”
This Italian gem opened recently in Lincoln Park. Chef Mario Giuseppe Mentesana boasts two five star restaurants in Florence, Italy, on his resume, and his expertise and passion for authentic Italian dining is evident. Bar Forza hosted our May Chef’s Table and it was a true Italian feast. In fact, one of our guests was Italian and had just returned from a trip to Italy, and she was raving that this is how it’s done.
We began with truffle fries served with an Italian white truffle aioli dipping sauce:
These were followed by Arancine alla Siciliana: Sicilian saffron rice balls with a melted fontina cheese center accompanied with a San Marzano tomato dipping sauce:
Followed by Polpette Campofelicese: Sicilian meatballs braised in a luscious San Marzano tomato sauce:
That was the antipasti course! By that time we will almost full and we still had four more courses to go! Our next one was a bit lighter. Their Mozzarella de Capri is fresh local mozzarella with organic cherry tomatoes, house made basil oil, and aged balsamic reduction:
Our next dish was my personal favorite. I’d never before understood how serving pasta al dente could make a difference – until I tried the first bite. The just-right texture of the pasta was a perfect pairing with the housemade spicy sausage, and the sweet ricotta was the icing on a delicious, savory cake:
That is ONE serving. One.
But wait, there’s more! Even though the entire group was full at this point we still had pizza! I overheard a guest saying that she was going to pass until she saw the crust. Topped with more of that wonderful spicy Italian sausage and caramelized vidalia onions it was as delightful as it looks:
The final course finished this amazing experience on a high note, even though everyone was so sated and thrilled with the dinner that we didn’t think it could get better. It could, and it did. This crustless cheesecake was one of the creamiest and most luscious desserts I’ve ever had. During the dinner we had our choice of Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough or Earthworks Shiraz from South Australia, but with this course they served Bricco Riella Moscado d’ Asti, and I can’t imagine a better pairing.
This was truly a phenomenal experience. Next time I want to impress guests I’ll be bringing them to Bar Forza. Next time I want to impress myself I’ll be going to Bar Forza!
Bar Forza, 2476 N Lincoln Ave, 773-248-7888 is open daily from 5pm until late (including the kitchen)