River North makes room for much anticipated new Italian trattoria Il Porcellino.
“What I’ve learned is to keep it as honest as possible,” says chef de cuisine Aaron Martinez of Il Porcellino, the new Hubbard Street trattoria from Lettuce Entertain You, “staying true to what the product is, using great vegetables and leaving them alone.” Set in the former Paris Club space, the restaurant boasts a casual, communal atmosphere, drawing Florentine inspirations with both its moniker (which refers to a 17th-century bronze statue of a wild boar that’s said to promise good luck) and its menu.
Featured dishes include the signature Il Porcellino—a porchetta-style braised Berkshire pork belly served with wild cicerchia beans from Umbria—and daily-crafted seasonal plates like gnocchi Bolognese, rigatoni alla vodka, and baked mushroom rotolo, each showcasing house-made pastas crafted from dough by Martinez with chef/partner Doug Psaltis. (“It’s not just something you get from a Barilla box,” Martinez quips.) In this city of over-the-top dining, Martinez is eager to embrace simplicity. “We want to keep everything really simple,” he says. “[The food] will speak for itself.” 59 W. Hubbard St., 312-595-0800