What to Eat

What To Eat at Al Dente, Open Now

Photo: Courtesy Al Dente

The name Javier Perez may not immediately suggest Italian food, but the names on his resume— Tuttaposto, Spiaggia, Cibo Matto— certainly do. Arriving from Mexico City in 1990, Perez promptly landed a job washing dishes and, later, cooking on the line for Tony Mantuano at Tuttoposto. He worked under Michael Kornick at Marché and followed him to help open MK, then rejoined Mantuano at Spiaggia before helping Todd Stein open Cibo Matto as sous chef.

Now Perez, a longtime resident with his family of the Old Irving Park neighborhood, has opened Al Dente near Pulaski and Irving (or, in foodie-speak, just around the corner from Smoque). Here’s what’s on the menu, which is BYO for now:


grilled blue mussels, fire roasted tomato sauce, parsley, evoo

wild roasted mushrooms, fresh corn polenta, cotija cheese, sherry vinaigrette

Mac & Cheese.
wisconsin white cheddar cheese, truffle butter, garlic crumbs

Summer Salad.
heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil pesto, red onion, evoo, malden sea salt

Grilled Calamari.
fresh herb and guajillo marinated calamari steak, black trumpet mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, habanera aioli frisse salad

heirloom tomato gazpacho, avocado mousse, crispy tortilla

purple potato gnocchi, wild boar ragout, truffle sauce, sarvecchio cheese

House Salad.
mixed greens, jicama, avocado, pickled red onion, red radish, cumin vinaigrette

Fennel Salad.
shaved fennel, marcona almonds, asian pear, cucumber, tomato, dubarton blue cheese, mustard vinaigrette


crushed purple and new potatoes, grilled vidalia onion, crispy apple smoked bacon, chicken sauce

adobo crusted grilled atlantic salmon, house made chorizo, rapini, lima bean, oaxaca style adobo negro sauce

pan seared chipotle marinated escolar, thyme scented potato cake, horseradish crema, cured cherry tomatoes, micro herbs

White Fish.
pan roasted lake superior white fish, clam chowder remolade, heirloom carrots, saffron aioli

crispy pork torch on, mexico city mole verde, radish, tortilla gnocci, spring onion, fresh herb salad

8 oz filet mignon, purple mashed potatoes, hanchog mushrooms, haricot vert, natural jus

lamb two ways: grilled chop, braised lamb stuffed eggplant, spinach, fingerling potatoes, lamb sauce

bucatini, house made chorizo, shrimp, orange saffron sauce, cilantro

Al Dente, 3939 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois, 773-942-7771. aldentechicago.com

What To Eat at Al Dente, Open Now