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In keeping with my New Year's resolution to try a different restaurant every month, last night Jim and I took the bus up to Caro Mio in Ravenswood (which we found by just throwing a virtual dart at the Reader's restaurant search engine). Other online reviews said the place was "cozy" and "friendly" and "low-key" and praised the food. Great, we thought.

I think we caught them on a bad night, unfortunately. The place was about half-full when we sat down (about 6:30), but within 20 minutes, the room was packed with a line out the door. Generally, this is a good sign that the food is worth the wait, but the staff seemed overwhelmed by the crowd. After our server dropped off out meals, we didn't see her again for almost half an hour.

The food was pretty good. Jim liked his ziti with meatballs and pancetta. My tri-colored pasta rotollo (stuffed with spinach and ricotta, then smothered in marinara and a blanket of mozzarella) was tasty but a little heavy. Oh, and it was cold in the center. Like straight-outta-the-fridge cold. With the line snaking around our table, we decided not to wait for dessert.

So, kind of a mixed bag on Caro Mio. Maybe we'll try it again at a less busy time, but with approximately 18,000 Italian restaurants in Chicago (including the always-tasty Piazza Bella just down the block), we may not.

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