After taking over for Christian Fantoni, Filini's opening executive chef, Will Johnson is getting an opportunity to showcase his own creativity. Johnson opened the restaurant as sous chef and previously cooked at Sportello in Boston. Menu changes aren't as simple as slapping a special up on the chalkboard when your restaurant is attached to the Radisson Blu, but chef Johnson's spring menu is very different from his predecessor's.
"I definitely take a more conscious approach to the seasons and what's available," Johnson says. "We try to source as locally as possible whenever we can. The hallmark of Italian cuisine is fresh and simple. I want to put an Italian spin on what goes on in Chicago."
Spicy housemade Duroc pork sausage with vegetable moustarda is one of Johnson's favorite dishes on his new menu. "It's kind of like an open-faced Italian sub," he says.
Johnson is also looking forward to hosting more events at Filini, including a special prix-fixe menu for Earth Day featuring all locally and sustainably sourced food, and a Kentucky Derby viewing party. "Bring the biggest hat you can possibly find," he says.
Tasting menus are already available on Fridays and Saturdays, although they haven't been advertised. Generally, there are seven courses for $75, with another $20 for wine pairings, but that varies depending on the ingredients available and dishes served.
Later this year, Johnson even has dreams of starting a speakeasy-esque midnight supper club.
Braised Stuffed Calamari
Lamb Sausage, White Bean Ragu, Saffron 16.00
Crispy Soft Poached Egg
Truffle Emulsion, Root Vegetables, Frisee 14.00
Buffalo Milk Burrata, Tomato, Basil 15.00
Baby Beet Salad
Goat Cheese, Pistachio, Baby Greens 13.00
Exotic Mushroom Ragu, Truffle Vinaigrette, Grana Padano 16.00
Capers, Herb Salad, Carrot 15.00
White Beans, Pancetta, Tomato 9.00
Chefs Selection of Five Meats, House Pickles, Violet Mustard, Country Bread 19.00
Chefs Selection of Four Cheeses, Jam, Mieli Thun Honey, Country Bread 18.00
Poached Calamari, Calabrian Chili Dressing, Marcona Almonds 13.00
Cucumber, Tuscan Herbs, Tomato, Goat Cheese Crostini 12.00
Kale, Garlic Croutons, Anchovy 13.00
Fennel, Lemon, Grana Padano 12.00
Grand Reserve Carnaroli Rice, Braised Rabbit Ragu, Cerignola Olives 21.00
Beet Greens, Chickpeas, Grana Padano 16.00
Shrimp, Clam, Mussel, Calamari, Tomato, Chili Flake 23.00
Prosciutto, Peas, Cream, Truffle Oil, Chives 17.00
Bolognese Sauce, Grana Padano, Fried Sage 18.00
Amish Chicken and Sweet Onion Filled, Garlic, Cream 18.00
Saffron Potato Dumpling, Lamb Sausage, Saffron Dressing 19.00
Sage and Prosciutto Crusted, Eggplant Puree, Puttanesca 29.00
Peperonata, Citrus Oil, Sea Salt 27.00
Broccolini, Citrus, Olives 25.00
Truffled Walnut Stuffing, Roasted Vegetables, Parsnip Puree 28.00
Spicy Italian Sausage
Duroc Pork, Vegetable Moustarda, Bread 26.00
Fingerling Potato, Artichoke, Soppressata 28.00
Kale, Carrots, Dates, Chicken Jus 26.00
Porcini Crema, Asparagus, Porcini 38.00
Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes 6.00
Grilled Polenta Cakes, Mint Vinaigrette 6.00
Mixed Green Salad 5.00
Hazelnut, Coffee, Pistachio, or Vanilla Bean 8.00
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt 8.00
Coconut, Passion Fruit, Lemon or Peach 8.00
Beignets - Rhubarb, Salted Caramel, Strawberry 8.00
Mascarpone Crema, Marsala Wine, Espresso 8.00
Ice Cream Sandwich
Chef's Preparation 8.00