Food & Drink

An Italian hideaway on (and in!) Chicago

Leonardo da Vinci famously said simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, though clearly just as an elaborate ruse to throw people off the trail of his crazy-complex, harder-than-Contra codes. Nonetheless, his advice was taken to heart by the fellow Italian behind Trattoria Ultimo, a streamlined storefront hideaway outfitted with a few oversize mirrors, a handful of communal tables snagged from an old slaughterhouse, and a chalkboard touting the daily-changing market menu.The owner (who also just opened Alimentari in the West Loop), plans to run a tight ship with a dozen or so dishes all priced at $12 or under, with offerings like garlicky polpetta w/ onion jam-smeared crostini, and burrata w/ grilled squash and capers, which's potentially what the squash is being grilled about in the first place. Obviously there'll also be pasta, like a rotating selection of risottos (arugula/ taleggio; shrimp/ broccoli/ saffron), or you can get meaty with a plate of 2.5hr-braised short ribs, of which Spud Webb has had quite enough, thank you.For dessert, nab a bowl of homemade basil-lemon sorbet, and for booze line up your finest sixer of Zima as they're BYOB, which, counter to Leo's line of thinking, will make you both unsophisticated and terribly simple.