Moderno: a review

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!


About trustforce

A well trained amateur chef, I have learned by taking some master classes and doing a lot of reading and experimentation. I cook and enjoy many different cuisines. The fun is getting it right, with great taste and presentation. The smells and appearance add to the pleasure of eating well. I can enjoy a great Chicago style hot dog or an Italian beef sandwich, or have equal pleasure from haut cuisine. All my recipe postings are extensively tested by me unless I state otherwise. I will sometimes post a recipe that sounds like it should be good before I actually make it myself, but I will always come back and revise the "untested" recipe after I've made it, with valid comments to keep old posts accurate and current. If I am not the originator of a recipe I will always correctly attribute the source author, even if I have modified the recipe. I will occasionally post reviews of local restaurants on the site. The big problem that I have with eating out is that I know too much about restaurants and I find it hard to ignore or forgive sloppy technique or bad ingredients. I pull no punches in my restaurant reviews!
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