Anyone been to Gioco Italian or Crofton's on Wells?
Interested in opinions on these two places. What to order?
Crofton on Wells is just incompetent, with ambitions far outstripping the kitchen's modest abilities. I have never had anything approaching a decent meal there. Gioco, in comparison, is only unmemorable, except for its weird location, the weirder pizza with egg and mushrooms, and a cute, postmodern twist on chicken Vesuvio.
I had just the opposite experience. The food at Crofton's was really good. Gioco on the other hand was my worst restauant experience to date. First, it was impossible to have a conversation because the noise level is almost unbearable. When we asked the manager if the music could be turned down he told us that we were eating in a "hot new" place. Next, our waiter was so "cool" that he never wrote anything down which resulted in every dish coming out wrong and my dish was never ordered. The food was ordinary except for the ceasar salad with fried capers which was very good. The chef actually took over from our waiter and was very upset that my dish (the postmodern chicken which was boring) had not been ordered. He apologized a good deal. In Chicago, does "hot" mean ordinary food at high prices and poor service? On the way out I whispered to the manager, keep the chef but lose the waiter.
Gioco is really a cool space. My fav appetizer is the grilled calamari and octopus salad with fennel and watercress in a citrus vinaigrette. It's so fresh but the charred seafood gives it body. Main course wise, the aqua pazza is a delectable fish dish (translates to "crazy water") swimming in a seafood-tomato broth that's awesome. He also has a few great pasta dishes--can't remember the name but one is odd shaped pasta, actually the scraps from other pasta, done in a veal reduction. Bon Appetit! As for Crofton's, one of our writers just went last week and felt like the place isn't as up to par these days-- he enjoyed the guinnea hen but wasn't as taken by the fish dishes. The oyster shots are still good.