Siena TavernRiver North
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Top Chef restauranteur Fabio Viviani's latest project--thanks to a partnership with Luke Stoioff and David Rekhson of newly christened Dineamic Group (the guys that brought you self-serve beer at Bull & Bear and Public House)--this Florence-raised, California-based chef is sharing his family recipes with Chicago in a 10,000-square-foot rustic Italian joint with a menu of homemade pastas and Neapolitan pizzas baked in a wood-stone oven. Raw seafood plates from the crudo bar such as balsamic-drizzled hamachi with jalapeno slices and crispy shallots ($12) are flavor-packed but still light. And combos such as hearts of palm with avocado and marcona almonds ($11) or farro with shrimp, calamari, roasted peppers and green beans ($14) sounded downright tempting. In the pasta department, praise for Viviani's gnocchi on "Top Chef" definitely set the bar high for his version served here with a rich truffle cream sauce flecked with fried sage and pancetta ($16). The best gnocchi is feather-light and velvety soft, while the worst is gummy and chalky—and Fabio's unquestionably is the former.