Tavolo V

Tavolo V is the latest addition to Michael Del Pietro’s stable of eateries, which includes Sugo’s Spaghetteria and Via Vino, among others. The restaurant’s name is Italian for ‘table of five,’ a reference to Del Pietro, his wife and their three children. We’d heard Tavolo, located in U. City, was serving up fresh Italian cuisine in a fun and unique space, so we popped in recently to see— and taste—for ourselves.

Housed in an old commercial building on Delmar Boulevard, east of Skinker Boulevard, Tavolo had a decidedly funky, industrial vibe. The space featured exposed brick and duct work and concrete floors, along with a functioning overhead garage door. The staff raised the door while we were there, and it really opened up the space, giving us the best of both indoor and al fresco dining worlds. The ultra-high ceilings helped with the airy feel as well. The restaurant also had one of our favorite features, an open kitchen, so we felt like we were in on the action.

The menu featured a plethora of starters, divided up between Hot Antipasti and Cold Antipasti. We sampled from both, noshing on the Zucchini Carpaccio ($6) and the Tomato Salad Of The Day (market price; $8 for ours). As the name indicates, the carpaccio subbed thin strips of zucchini for the usual meat or fish, which were dressed sparingly with lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil and topped with greens and shaved parmesan. The tomato salad consisted of a colorful stack of red and gold tomato slices augmented with gorgonzola, sweet onions, balsamic and basil. Both apps were fantastic summer starters—light, fresh and tasty.

Tavolo’s main menu events were divided up between a selection of Pizzas Neopolitan, Pasta and Entrees. We chose one of our go-to pies, the Margherita ($12), from the pizza offerings, and the Fra Diavolo ($16) from the pastas. The pizza had a crispy thin crust topped with fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes and olive oil. This is one of our favorite pizzas because of its simplicity, which allows all of the flavors to shine through, and the Tavolo version was a classic example of the style. It also was sizable, about 14 inches around, which was a nice surprise considering the modest price tag. The pasta was a seafood lover’s delight, with generous portions of shrimp and calamari spiced up with capers and swimming in a tangy tomato sauce.

We finished up our meal with the Mascarpone Cheesecake ($7) from the dessert selections, all of which were off the menu. It proved to be the only downer of the meal. It had a nice creamy texture but flavor-wise, it was bland and unremarkable, even with strawberries and whipped cream added.

We found Tavolo V to be a fine combination of quality, affordable fare and a fantastic space. The restaurant also had plenty of outdoor seating, as well as its own parking lot—always a plus in our book. We hope Tavolo helps spur on more restaurateurs, and other business folks, to invest in the eastern part of the Loop.

Tavolo V, 6118 Delmar Blvd., 721-4333, tavolov.com.

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