Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar is much more than a place to get a piece of pie. This Lakeview restaurant boasts a well-rounded Italian menu. That’s a good thing. I was there last week for a media dinner and I, being the brilliant person that I am, invited my friend Karl to accompany me. Karl’s allergic to gluten. No bread, no pasta, no pizza. Oops. Fortunately, Frasca started the dinner with a plate of cheeses and Italian meats. You can never go wrong with a good cheese and a good prosciutto, I say.

The next course was a quartet of bruschettas. I was already starting to feel sorry for my friend. The various toppings included asparagus and shrimp, goat cheese, mushrooms, and a caprese-style. He was, however, able to enjoy the salad they served next: wild arugula topped with pancetta, shaved apples, and gorgonzola cheese. It was a great blend of spicy, salty, sweet, and creamy.

Then came the pizza. Out of the wood-burning oven came a traditional margherita, a pepperoni with provolone and mozzarella, and shrimp and pancetta. I really wish they offered delivery because that shrimp and pancetta was so good I’m getting cravings for it. I’d also like to try their Rustico, with prosciutto, provolone, and pesto. The main course was a braised veal ravioli, surrounded by root vegetables, and topped with a slice of speck ham. Since this was another dish my friend couldn’t enjoy, Chef Javier Gomez specially prepared mahi mahi served over asparagus with a creamy basil sauce. I loved the way the ravioli evoked fall, but the mahi was so good it was my turn to be jealous!

That only lasted until dessert, which was a carrot cake tiramisu drizzled with espresso. For each course, co-owner Doug Dunlay (of Dunlay’s On Clark, DOC Wine Bar, Smoke Daddy, and Dunlays On The Square) poured a wine he selected to accompany the various flavors. Since he’s had some experience putting food and wine together his choices were excellent. The list is heavily Italian, as you’d expect, with varietals beyond pinot grigio and chianti, including tocai friulano, prosecco, nebbiolo, and valpolicella (the Masi is fantastic). Ask your server for recommendations or try a white or red Italian wine flight.

The service was also great. Even though it was a media dinner and that’s somewhat expected, there were at least twenty of us lined along the banquette trying six courses, each paired with a different wine, and that could have gotten a little crazy. I honestly wasn’t too surprised though; one of the servers is a former colleague of mine at another restaurant. When I saw Rana I knew we would be well taken care of. The restaurant’s interior has a comfortable, casual feel with hardwood floors, red-leather topped chair cushions, an open kitchen and a wrap-around bar lined with river rock.

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