An Evening at Filini

Saturday, August 10, 2013 - 6:43pm

I was invited to bring a friend to Filini, the modern Italian restaurant at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, for an evening of food and drink.

The evening began at Blu Bar, a small bar in the hotel’s lobby.  The featured drink was the Gioia di Vivere, a double-strained cocktail of vodka, lemon, raspberry, and rosemary.  Not too sweet, and quite refreshing.  The shaken-not-muddled rosemary gave my dining companion some ideas for making cocktails of his own.  While we enjoyed our cocktails we had Spiedino di Pesce Spada – swordfish with prosciutto, sage, and tomato – single bites that assured the cocktails didn’t hit too hard.

Then it was time for dinner.  We were sat at a long table in the upstairs restaurant portion of Filini.  The restaurant features very large, plush booths, an open kitchen, and illuminated wine cabinets for a chic, modern feel.

The antipasto was Capesante, seared sea scallops, exotic mushroom ragout, truffle vinaigrette, and, interestingly for an Italian seafood dish, grana padano cheese.  Filini’s Italian food is über modern Italian; no salumi and olives for antipasto here.  The scallops were cooked perfectly and the pairing with the mushroom ragout was interesting.

The insalata was Insalata di Barbabietole, or, if your Italian is rusty, baby beet salad with goat cheese, pistachio, and micro greens.  Seems that every restaurant has a beet salad on its menu now, but Filini’s was unique because some of the beet greens were still attached to the baby beets, and the salad was plated with an underpinning of bleu cheese puree.  

Each course was paired with a different wine.  The antipasto with prosecco, and the insalata with a white wine that even my white wine-hating dining companion enjoyed for its dryness.

The primo piatto was the pasta dish, Garganelli with prosciutto, the tiniest of peas, mascarpone cream, truffle oil, and chives.  This was paired with a light red wine.  The pasta was hand-rolled and cooked to a proper toothsomeness.  This was my favorite dish of the night, but I didn’t know yet since there were two more courses to go.

The secondo piatto was Filetto, beef filet with porcini crema, asparagus, and porcini.  The meat was a tender medium rare.  Well, proper for everyone who actually enjoys the taste of beef; one person actually sent the dish back to be cooked to a flavorless grey puck of well done.

Finally, dolce was Latte e Miele, a panna cotta layered with honey and topped with a cookie crumble.  The panna cotta was delicate and just barely sweet; very nice.  Dessert was accompanied by house-made limoncello.

Overall, it was a very satisfying meal that I would be happy to repeat.

221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 477-0234
Filini is a contemporary Italian restaurant located in the Aqua Tower. The restaurant will serve unpretentious, yet exquisitely prepared Italian fare with a uniquely modern twist.

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