—It can be good.
—It’s easier when Negronis are present.
Here’s a case study: Cocello, a new nest of cocktails and Italian delights from Brendan Sodikoff, soft-open now in River North.
Yes, you’re right. This space was the relatively short-lived experiment in matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwiches known as Dillman’s. And you’re also right: when you walk in, you’ll get a general sense that it’s the same place. A giant crystal chandelier in the dining room. A velvet-and-wood-paneled air of gravitas. A sudden desire to canoodle in a red leather booth.
Yet there is change afoot.
Let’s start at the bar. They still have that big beautiful red espresso machine, but... that’s for later. Now, you’ll probably be more interested in starting with one of the four kinds of Negronis or the bold claim of the Improved Whiskey Cocktail.
When you’re nestled in for dinner, your urge for whitefish will be replaced with one for chilled seafood fregola. Your desire for roast chicken becomes a desire for chicken cacciatore. Your yen for a little espresso becomes a yen for espresso... poured over gelato in the form of an affogato.
Amazing what a little gelato can do.