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Verucchi's

600 N. Greenwood, Spring Valley, IL - (815) 663-6431
Posted By Michael Stern on 3/26/2013 6:10:00 AM
The Venetian Room at Verucchi's is grotto-dark, soothing, far away from the world outside. Tablecloths are of the e-z-wipe variety, but napkins are cloth. Wall niches display scenic sepia images of Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Vatican. There are no beer signs here! Crooners on the sound system are what you'd hear in a movie that wants to set the mood for a mid 20th century heartland supper club: Frank, Dean, der Bingle, Ella, Nat King Cole. (In fact, Verucchi's has been around since 1914.)

Verucchi's offers a full menu of Italian-American standards; but I came for a meal unique to the Illinois River Valley: fried chicken and ravs. The chicken, which Verucchi's calls Italian fried chicken, sports a thick, rugged crust. It's got some Italian spice in its batter, but it is more Illinois than Italy. A breast portion is large and dense, a bit dry by the time you get to far below the crust, but that's OK, there is plenty of crust to mix with the meat as you eat. While not oily, it quickly melts into a luxurious chicken slurry on the tongue.

The custom hereabouts is to accompany fried chicken with ravs, which is short for ravioli, but in fact are tortellini. Verucchi's ravs are nicely al dente and filled with innocuous cheese. They are served as part of a half-and-half plate with spaghetti, the two pastas covered with a basic Bolognese sauce.

While the ravs are OK, the surprise side dish at Verucchi's is American fried potatoes. They are a festival of crisp edges, soft centers, crunch and chew. They glisten with sweet onions and arrive well-salted.

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Scorecard

3 - Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
American Fried Potatoes
Ravs
Italian Fried Chicken
Dinner Salad
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The crunchy crust that envelops Verucchi's Italian fried chicken hums with herbs.
"The crunchy crust that envelops Verucchi's Italian fried chicken hums with herbs."
Michael Stern





American fried potatoes are laced with limp, fragrant onions.
"American fried potatoes are laced with limp, fragrant onions."
Michael Stern


'Ravs' are a standard side dish for fried chicken in the Illinois River Valley. Verucchi's serves them in a half-and-half plate with spaghetti.
"'Ravs' are a standard side dish for fried chicken in the Illinois River Valley. Verucchi's serves them in a half-and-half plate with spaghetti."
Michael Stern


There are no windows in this Illinois Italian-American supper club. Step inside and you are in another world.
"There are no windows in this Illinois Italian-American supper club. Step inside and you are in another world."
Michael Stern


Verucchi's opened in 1914. Italian fried chicken was added to the menu in 1978 and has since become the kitchen's signature dish.
"Verucchi's opened in 1914. Italian fried chicken was added to the menu in 1978 and has since become the kitchen's signature dish."
Michael Stern


A polite dining room
"A polite dining room"
Michael Stern


Dinner salad. Yawn.
"Dinner salad. Yawn. "
Michael Stern



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