The rules of family dining dictate that no one discuss politics or religion at the table, leaving actuarial science and the declining quality of paper stock as the only topics of conversation. Avoid chatter by chowing down with today’s Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of authentic Italian cuisine at Mattone Restaurant and Bar, in La Grange Park.
Mattone rounds up all levels of Italian diners, from bruschetta experts to gnocchi neophytes, offering them an impressive array of classic and modern Italian cuisine. Mattone's pizzas, such as the prosciutto arugula ($13.95), are freshly seasoned, dotted with quality ingredients, and licked by the demon-free flames of the wood oven. Bucking the trends popular among chain Italian spots, such as marinara served in an edible breaded bucket, Mattone offers modern twists on classic dishes. Pasta dishes include the rigatoni a la contadina with artichokes, onions, sausage, and mushrooms in a light tomato sauce ($14.95). Savor the eggplant parmigiana ($12.95), which pairs delightfully with a beer or vino from the bar. The classy, chic atmosphere calls for dressy casual wear, so leave dining Hammer pants at home and head to Mattone for near-Mediterranean edible bliss.
Mattone Restaurant and Bar
Head chef and Chicagoland native Jason Korinek dedicates his kitchen to crafting contemporary versions of familiar Italian dishes with seasonal ingredients. A wood-fired oven bakes sandwiches and Neapolitan pizzas to a golden crisp, and the chefs add homestyle flavors to the menu by making italian sausage, pesto, and ricotta gnocchi in-house. Aside from these traditional approaches to Italian cuisine, the chefs also adopt a more modern stance by grilling salmon on cedar planks and creating fiber-optic strands of linguini.
The rustic and contemporary influences extend to the bold decor, which echoes the ambience of a faux cottage. A wrought-iron chandelier dangles from the vaulted ceiling and eclectic patches of exposed brickwork poke through the walls.