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May 18, 2010 12:53 PM

Is Busacco 'fun'?

I know the definition of 'fun' is a complicated one, but I am looking for a high-energy place that is not too serious but that has excelent food for a double date with some raucous friends, so I don't want something too serious and quiet. Would Busacco fit that bill?

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  1. We were in James in Prospect Heights the other night and thought the food was creative and quite excellent, from salads (including a very nice spin on spinach salad) to meat (some nice porky bits, delicious sweetbreads and a lamb burger appreciated by the recipient) and tasty fish and vegetable dishes - it attracts a lhip and lively crowds from families to couples the room is half filled by a big bar (mixed drinks are very good but almost too big and strong). Stylish serving crew, did a good job.

    Gripes? we were a party of 6 and couldnt hear from one end of the table to another. 4 would be just about right in that room given the music and liveliness of the crowd. Some of the dishes were pretty salty - and we are pro-salt. Since the dishes generally didnt have starch accompaniments, we sent back several times for their delicious grilled bread to sop up the sauces. Sharing was awkward given the huge plate/bowls they serve everyting in, even when the dishes were order for sharing. And the crust on the otherwise delicious pork belly should have been scored or a steak knife offered - it was too hard to cut.

    Notwithstanding these quibbles I think james could work for you - note, no res for small parties - and they are pretty busy.

    Busacco has a stylish mellow atmosphere, tables well spaced. Havent been there since Christmas eve, when the chef was different so I cant comment on the food or how it feels now but while it wasnt serious and staid it didnt have a major energy vibe either on that occasion. Id love to hear a report on how it is now.

    1. You might consider the Vanderbilt, as it's definitely a fun atmosphere and plates are meant for sampling and sharing.

      What about Kaz Au Nou? It's a little less upscale but different and definitely fun, welcoming and friendly.

      I've definitely been to James on super mellow nights, and it's a place that I'd sometimes call "serious" and "romantic." I guess it would depend on the crowd on the given night.