Category: Written Articles
Whether you’re sampling our Weekend Special or ordering from our traditional menu, we can’t wait to serve you! Click here to make a reservation.
For this Weekend Special, Luisa Silvia focused on a wonderful sweetener whose origins date back even further than that of sugar. Her one-of-a-kind menu is centered around honey!
From the days of ancient Rome to the 21st century, honey has been involved in refined recipes thanks to its versatility. Because bees take pollen from many different flowers, many different fragrances of honey are produced. These fragrances have the power to complement or contrast the flavor in the structure of the recipe.
ASSAGGIO DI ANTIPASTI (appetizer tasting)
Fichi freschi con miele piccante e formaggio di capra
(Fresh mission figs, spicy honey and goat cheese)
Pecorino sardo stagionato , fichi caramellati al piccante e pan di segala.
(Aged sardinian pecorino, caramelized figs, strawberry … Read More »
Chef Silvia’s Weekend Special from June 7 to June 9, 2013 is for all the seafood lovers out there. Her goal when making this special was to use the sea’s freshness and tranquility to create a menu that satisfies and rejuvenates. We’ve sampled her courses for the special, and trust us when we say that Silvia has another Weekend Special to be proud of!
A wonderful tasting menu (listed below) will be available, and you will have the option of ordering every single item separately. But if you were sold simply when you read “Seafood Lovers,” click here to make your reservation at Merlo on Maple.
Seafood Appetizer Tasting; Assaggio di Antipasti di Mare
Crab Salad; Misticanza e granchio tiepido
Bruschetta with smoked caviar; Crostino al caviale affumicato
Sardinian bottarga on carasau bread with oil and lemon – Pane carasau con con bottarga olio e … Read More »
Umbria, a landlocked region in the center of Italy, is a fascinating place because of its mountains, woods, and tiny villages that have been standing for over one thousand years. Since the beginning of the 11th century, wonderful meat and game recipes have been a staple of Umbrian living. Top local ingredients like olive oil, black truffle, white truffle, and mushrooms also impacted not just Umbria, but Italian culture as a whole.
You might be able to tell that Chef Silvia drew inspiration from the Umbria region for the weekend special at Merlo on Maple. Her exact inspiration came from Federico da Montefeltro, a 15th century Italian Renaissance man who made his name by being one of the century’s greatest warlords. He was a big scary man.
Montefeltro’s favorite dish was Anatra in Porchetta (goose filled with various meats and herbs) … Read More »
Like the beautiful medieval architecture in Bologna, a good cheese must be artfully crafted. Making perfect ricotta requires patience and the freshest of ingredients. Chef Silvia knows this, and it’d be a challenge to find a fresher rictotta than hers. She was kind enough to let us into her kitchen to see how she artfully crafts the creamiest ricotta this side of the Mediterranean.
First, the freshest ingredients must be gathered. Ricotta literally means ‘recooked’ in Italian, because industrially, ricotta cheese is made from the leftover milk used to create other cheeses. Chef Silvia, however, uses only milk, heavy whipping cream, salt and fresh lemon juice to create her version of the authentic cheese.
The ingredients are combined and put atop a flame until they come to a boil. When Chef Silvia decides the mixture is at its prime density, color, aroma … Read More »
For this Weekend Special, Chef Silvia drew inspiration from the agro-pastoral culture present on the island of Sardinia (if you’re looking on a map, it looks sort of like the football the boot of Italy just kicked). Sardinia’s culture was made richer thanks to the vast diversity of Mediterranean area, and Silvia is bringing those flavors to Merlo on Maple.
Roasted meats, breads, cheeses, game, fish and a collection of wild herbs will all be featured, and it’s precisely the type of food that sums up the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. And as UNESCO says, the diet is healthy not just because of its food, but the culture that surrounds it.
“The Mediterranean diet (from the Greek diaita, or way of life) encompasses more than just food. It promotes social interaction, since communal meals are the cornerstone of social customs and festive … Read More »
We’re constantly reminded how lucky we are to have the staff we have, and the latest praise to reach us comes from Karen, a recent Merlo on Maple diner. Here’s the letter she left for Jesse:
Thank you for excellent service on Monday night. Everyone was talking about the dinner throughout the meeting yesterday and there was nothing but high compliments for the restaurant, food, service and overall experience. This is an annual meeting with our client and there were remarks that the evening at Merlo was the best one ever! Hopefully that means we will be back with this group and that my coworkers will bring other their clients to Merlo in the future. Thank you to you and the rest of the staff for a great experience (of course I didn’t expect anything less!).
Thank you also for the info … Read More »
To welcome the tens of thousands of National Restaurant Association Show attendees, the Weekend Special at Merlo on Maple will follow a similar menu degustazione (menu tasting) concept we used for our Mother’s Day special. This is the ideal way to get a taste of what makes Chef Silvia’s authentic Bolognese food so appealing.
As inspiration for this weekend’s menu tasting, Silvia looked to Piedmont (a northwest region of Italy known for its wine production) and put together an incredible combination of flavors. Specifially, she drew inspiration from the hills of Langhe, famous for the wine, cheeses, and truffles it produces. Using authentic ingredients applied to old recipes, Silvia has recreated the tastes and feelings present in the best food one can find in Piedmont.
We present to you our very special 9-course menu! If you’re ready to dine with us, click … Read More »
When we think of mothers, the one thing that immediately comes to mind is the best comfort food we can imagine. What can we say? We have food on the brain.
We’re celebrating mothers this weekend, so instead of a traditional weekend special, Merlo on Maple will feature some of the best comfort food Italy has to offer.
We will have a special tasting menu inspired by the typical cuisine from the south of Italy. It differs slightly from our typical Northern Italian cuisine, but it remains Italian, authentic, and delicious.
For the Mother’s Day tasting menu, Chef Silvia will offer 5 courses.
First Course: Fave Fresche, Pecorino Sardo e Cipollotti
Fresh fava beans, pecorino from Sardinio, and spring onions
Second Course: Fiori di Zucca in Pastella
Zucchini flowers, buffalo mozzarella, and anchovies in tempura
Third Course: Pasta Imbottita (pictured)
Pastry dough filled with homemade semola macaroni in … Read More »
Guineafowl is a bird you may not know much about as its native continent is Africa. But over time it’s been domesticated in other places, so more and more people now know about its taste. The flavor of guineafowl lies somewhere between chicken and turkey, and when prepared correctly it’s like pheasant, only juicier.
The Mistress of the Inn
La Locandiera (The Mistress of the Inn) is a classic three-act play that was penned by Carlo Goldoni in 1753. A playwright who was beloved for his mixture of wit and honesty, Goldoni wrote some of Italy’s favorite plays. And of those, La Locandiera is often regarded as his masterpiece.
The play’s protagonist, a coquettish heroine, prepared special dishes and sauces for her guests. Among those dishes was the Veal and Guineafowl meal that will be this weekend’s special at Merlo on Maple. … Read More »
Michele Savonarola was a 15th-century Italian physician and scientist who lived in the Veneto region of Italy. A prolific author who wrote many important medical texts, Savonarola was also professor at the University of Padova and the University of Ferrara.
Chef Luisa Silvia found the recipe for Savonarola’s favorite dish that was prepared for him during a gala in his honor: Storione in Acqua Fervente con Capperi e Uvette (translated: Sturgeon with capers and raisins).
Silvia will interpret the recipe using her world-class experience, instinct, and sensitivity. The sturgeon is a fresh 21-pounder, and it will be accompanied by white asparagus that’s currently in season in the Veneto region. This dish is quite popular in Italy, and we’re excited to bring it to Chicago.
Pondering a visit to Merlo on Maple this weekend? We can’t wait to see you! Make your reservation here.