As a frequent travelor to Chicago I am always looking for nice neighborhood restaurants. A friend from Lincoln Park suggested Merlo's on North Lincoln Ave. The restaurant is not located in the nicer, upscale area of LP but the location is not terrible. We were seated promptly in the front room, the waiter and his assistant were efficient and pleasant. Two of us ordered the "house minestrone" soup. It was marginally edible. Filled with what looked like frozen vegetables it was absolutely without flavor and a terrible waste of time and money. Cambells' minestrone is better. I had the house bolognese and again was very disappointed. Essentially it is hamburger with lots of olive oil. Where was the prosciutto and cream sauce? For $22 it was a bust. Maybe it was just an off night for the cook but he/she won't get another chance from us. One interesting factor was someone (I presume the owner) would repeatedly walk into the room...stop and glare around the room...then leave. Not really a welcoming gesture. The host working the front room is cordial and clearly wants the place to survive but at $100 for three of us (with just a glass of wine) he needs to spend some time working with the chef. Be aware that there are (I think) 3 locations in Chicago for the restaurant...I hope the other two are better.
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