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Chicago is hands down one of our favorite foodie cities. We visit several times each year searching for the next best thing in the Black Food and Drink Ecosystem. Well, I am happy to report, that we have found one of the best new restaurants in the city!
Provare Chicago located at 1421 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 has the city’s best pasta. I’m making that claim despite not having eaten at all Chicago’s pasta restaurants because of their dynamically delicious Shrimp Hennessy Scampi. I had this formidable pasta with chicken instead of shrimp with the cherry tomatoes, shallots, and Fresno chilis.
The fresh, house made Rotelle large spiral corkscrew pasta was a happy deviation from the ubiquitous fettucine and spaghetti found at most spots. The space does a mash up of Creole cuisine and Italian cooking for an absolute block party of flavors in your mouth! The sauce was out of this world amazing. It came with a beautiful tomato dairy base while folding in the holy trinity (onions, bell peppers, celery). Then they enveloped all that deliciousness with cream that set the stage for the onions and shallots to provide a delicate and sweet essence that finished up with a hint of sharpness and heat from the chili. Amazing flavor.
The well seared, tender chicken paired well with the truly unforgettable pasta. It was so good, I’ll probably get both shrimp and chicken on my next visit. Our appetizer was the Spinach and Artichoke Dip served with crawfish, shrimp, artichoke hearts, and pepper jack cheese. The accompanying garlic toast allows you to create profoundly delectable mini sandwiches with the rich, creamy, tangy and cheesy dip.
I enjoyed the food so much that we returned for more of it, as well as the generous portions and friendly service. The chefs expertly fused classic Black American Creole cuisine with the cooking of an Italian Grandmother. Typical Black creativity, because when Black American cooks aren’t churning out ancestral or diasporic cuisines from the various cultures of Black folk, they dabble deliciously in one of our favorites, Italian and Asian.
Y’all are all intimately familiar with our Black aunties or mothers making a big pot of “Black People Spaghetti,” complete with garlic bread and maybe a tossed salad or corn on the side. Of course, nowadays, alfredo pasta with shrimp, chicken or salmon kicked up a soulful notch with jerk seasoning or pepper can be found at just about every Black owned restaurant, giving a nod to our Italian cousins. (Yeah. They might not want to admit it, but Southern Italians got soul in that blood thanks to Hannibal).
Admittedly, I’m actually tired of the jerk pasta, so Chicago’s delectable and innovative merger of Black cooking traditions with Italian flavor was an extremely welcomed surprise. We give this spot a glaring 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to seeing them on Chicago’s Top Ten Black Owned Restaurants of 2022! You can reach them at (312) 988-0943 or online at www.provarechicago.com.