Fresh pastas and shareable fare in La Grange Park
Housed in an unassuming storefront in an area that is nearly devoid of other stores or restaurants, you might easily drive right by Posto 31 — located on its namesake 31st Street in La Grange Park — without realizing it’s there.
Once inside, however, you quickly realize that this restaurant is becoming a popular destination because the food is the star of the show. Amid a backdrop of coolly lit walls, open front windows and a décor that is effectively part-minimalist and part-rustic, diners focus rightfully on the thoughtful fare.
Such thoughtfulness is evident in drinks and dishes, but it’s also a declaration right on the menu and by servers, who emphasize that Posto 31 strives for fresh ingredients, makes its own pasta, and works diligently to source seasonal and sustainable products. The restaurant’s tagline, in fact, is “Passion on a Plate,” and exemplifies the guiding principles of executive chef-owner Jason Korinek and his team.
Order a cocktail to begin your experience and you can see right away the blend of passion and craftsmanship, shaken up like a good drink — say, the French 75, comprised of citron vodka, fresh lemon and prosecco; or the Smoked Old Fashioned, with rye, demerara, bitters and cherry wood smoke. That focus is also found in the wine and beer choices, which span ample varieties from craft-focused brewers and vintners, several of them locally based.
When the food arrives, the experience is savored by the eyes as much as the palate. The burrata appetizer, milky soft cheese paired with basil-and-tomato-topped bread, is something to behold. One look at the garlic bread and you know this is no ordinary garlic bread — its golden hue belies the “garlic four ways” preparation, with confit, dehydrated, raw and roasted garlic married with lemon zest atop hearty ciabatta bread. The same is true for the artful salads, which include a flavorful chopped salad and a generous grilled caesar.
Again underscoring the attention to detail, the pastas here are hand-crafted daily. You can taste that just-made freshness in the gnocchi, which can be teamed with traditional marinara, bolognese or vodka cream sauce, and is also available with short rib and mirepoix in a braised au jus. Some entrées evoke the Italian flair of the menu, such as the chicken limone and rotating risotto special. But the main dishes have a decidedly American heartland touch to them, too, as with the 21-day flat iron steak, served with compound butter and broccolini.
Doughnuts may not be the first thing that come to mind after a rib-sticking meal that includes pasta, but they’re surprisingly light and come with a refreshing strawberry coulis and shiny chocolate ganache. The brownies are made from a Korinek family recipe that dates to 1918. Don’t forget the tavern pizza, for eating on-site, pickup or delivery, from $4 to $17. In addition to basic pizzas, choose from specialty pizzas like a Peter Rabbit pizza, with artichokes, fresh tomatoes, spinach and ricotta; or a Zing pizza, with meatballs, mozzarella, red onions and Calabrian chili honey, among others.
1017 E. 31st St., La Grange Park, 708 469-7233
gnocchi, flat iron steak, doughnuts
Appetizers: $3 – $11
Sandwiches: $8 – $12
Entrées: $12 – $26
Tue – Thur, 4 – 9 p.m. ;
Fri – Sat, 4 – 10 p.m. ;
Sun, 4 – 8 p.m.
Full bar, easy parking