'Deconstructing' Cucina Paradiso

Chicago Tribune food critic breaks down the menu of an Oak Park favorite.

Esteemed Chicago Tribune food critic Phil Vettel has chosen to make Oak Park's among the latest entries in his "Deconstructing the Menu" feature, in which he explains "what a menu is really saying."

The longtime Trib writer — he originally reviewed the restaurant favorably in 1996 — calls the offerings "a modestly priced comfort-food menu" before delving into to some fun factoids about certain dishes.

Did you know, for instance, that the Rustic Salad, a medley of greens, pears, strawberries, walnuts and Gorgonzola drizzled in a balsamic reduction, outsells every other salad "3 or 4 to 1"? Or that the Veal Meatballs Polenta was inspired by co-owners Nick and Anthony Gambino's grandmother's recipe?

Take a look at some of Vettel's other insights here


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