Chef Sarah Grueneberg and partner Meg Sahs unleashed their pasta empire on the world yesterday, quietly opening Monteverde in the West Loop. The 90-seat restaurant centers around a pastificio — an open kitchen where Grueneberg and her team of chefs will prepare fresh pasta, hung on drying racks that double as tastebud-tempting decor, and plates of modern Italian cooking.
Grueneberg, whose resume includes Spiaggia and Top Chef, will combine her Italian pedigree with her experience traveling around the world for a menu of classic — or pasta tipica — and contemporary — or pasta atipica — dishes. The former is dedicated to dishes such as gnocchetti with Vesuvio cherry tomatoes, basil and housemade ricotta as well as ragu alla napoletana with wild boar sausage. The latter includes wok-fried arrabiata and cannelloni saltimbocca with prosciutto and lamb. Meals can be completed with an assortment of stuzzichini (snacks), prima (before pasta), dopo (after pasta) and dolci (dessert).
To complement the pristine pastas, which are also available alongside pasta accessories at the host stand, wine consultant Robert Mosher assembled a wine list that is offered by the bottle or glass. Cocktails take the form of Italian takes on classics, such as a Mezcal Negroni and Monte Mule (vodka, Montenegro, lime, mint and ginger beer). The bar, which surrounds the pastificio, also serves five beers on draft, from Moody Tongue’s Steeped Emperor Lemon Saison to Deschutes’ Jubelale on nitro. An equal emphasis is put on the restaurant's coffee and tea programs, which offer Sparrow Coffee and Rare Tea Cellar teas.
The restaurant occupies a prime piece of corner real estate on Madison and Carpenter streets, with floor-to-ceiling windows covered in sheer drapery. Karen Herold of Studio K designed a welcoming and warm space inspired by the rustic Italian home. Walls are covered in plasterwork from Northern Italy, designed and mixed by artisan Antonio Pinto, and handmade wood shelving. Herold opted for custom tables with armchairs, offering a more comfortable environment in which to enjoy Grueneberg’s thoughtful but no doubt satisfying cuisine.
1020 W. Madison St.; 312-888-3041