One might compare Il Sogno to an Italian sports car: when hitting on all cylinders, it is easily the best Italian restaurant in town. But like all things stylishly Italian, when the Maserati non va we feel more than disappointment— we feel betrayal.
Perhaps that is why this modern, yet cozy, restaurant elicits such extreme opinions, ranging from adulation to complaints about spotty service, uneven food, and high prices. The recent departure of the chef de cuisine might have presaged another mechanical breakdown, but owner/chef Andrew Weissman immediately had his head under the hood, and the engine is purring once again—if with fuel a touch more high-test. Among the constantly changing antipasti, the octopus and potato salad is outstanding—but don’t neglect the ethereal shaved fennel with apple and star anise, or the beautiful beets with basil.
A primo course (split it) is a must; virtually all the outstanding pasta is made in-house. Risky risotto is typified here by the risotto ai gamberi: just creamy enough and stunningly flavorful. There is always a fish special such as pesce bianco with fennel, peppers, and saffron-poached potato. And rabbit braised in red wine is the ultimate comfort food—unless wild boar ragù with supernal, soft polenta is available. Yes, the pizza crust once tended to overcook in the wood-fired oven, but the timing has been recalibrated. The regionally organized, tutto-italiano wine list is full of bottles to be discovered; use the sommelier as a road map.
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