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Eataly's fine-dining restaurant; in addition to the a la carte menu, a five-course tasting menu is available.

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Our Review

The fine-dining restaurant on the ground floor of Eataly Chicago has some dozen dishes imported directly from Babbo, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's New York flagship, and Baffo's certainly commensurate with its east-coast counterpart when it comes to cost. I haven't eaten at Babbo, so can't compare the two on other counts, but I can tell you that one of the more expensive pastas at both—little ravioli stuffed with grainy foie gras and chicken liver with all the texture and flavor of cat food—was one of the most repugnant things I've eaten in recent memory. (In fairness, the three other pasta courses I tried—pappardelle with ragu, a beef cheek ravioli with black truffle, and garganelli with mushrooms—were excellent, consistent with the less rarefied pasta options upstairs.) Entrees were no more consistent than the pasta. A bowl of Sicilian lifeguard-style calamari—a Batali signature dish that should come with a thick red sauce brimming with chiles, currants, and capers—arrived swimming in bland red water vaguely evocative of tomato. On the other hand, lamb chops with sunchoke chips and chanterelles was about as uncomplicated and pleasing as you could want; ditto a forcemeat-stuffed pork jowl sliced and served with charred rapini and roasted tomatoes. The most dramatic dish we tried, a whole roasted branzino, needed nothing but a shaved-fennel salad and a grilled half lemon to showcase its beauty and deliciousness. That's the kind of straightforward treatment of quality ingredients that all Italian food, ever, should receive. Baffo is far too pricey to justify high jinks. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$$$
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