John des Rosiers’ new restaurant in the former Rosebud space in Renaissance Place in Highland Park has opened, and the interior has been completely redone, with wood tables well spaced in 4 separated partitions, with a small private dining room as well. The décor is white walls with splashes of red, a red neon sign of “revolution” spelled backwards on one wall. One partition is wood and glass, one of vertical metal rods in a bed of rocks. There are high top tables along the window walls and the bar area, with square bare wood tops on all the tables. Some of the regular tables have low back chairs mixed with normal back chairs, and the low backs are not as comfortable.
The food is modern Italian with other influences. We had the roasted beet salad with 2 different beet types, plus raspberries and pistachio, with a streak of mascarpone flavored with grenache vinegar. This was a generous portion easily shared and quite delicious. I had the coconut milk broth roasted mussels, cooked just right and flavored with a hint of lemoncello and basil, with thinly shaved garlic, the broth a delight. We had a flatbread type crust pizza with spiced lamb, yogurt, goat cheese, and arrugla, again a portion to be shared by 2. Given that I had expected the small plate concept of Inovasi to be carried over to Moderno, the portion sizes of the appetizers, pizza and salad were bigger than what I had expected. We had one of the “big” plates, specified to serve 2 to 3 people. A large portion of the walleyed pike garnished with very thin slices of raw artichoke, and served with a spicy tomato “ragu” with green olives, plus small flattened balls of potato with a crispy crust was one of the best Italian fish dishes that I have ever had.
Everything was well conceived, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. The staff is very knowledgeable and professional, and there is an extensive list of choices of wines by the glass and craft beers. We did not have enough room left to try any dessert, but I look forward to coming back and tasting more of this restaurant’s offerings.
What a different experience than the one I had with the restaurant across the street!