8.1
CHI

Income Tax

Perfect For: Casual Weeknight Dinner Date Night Dining Solo Outdoor/Patio Situation Small Plates
PHOTOS: Sandy Noto

We’re always looking for the kind of restaurant that feels just right. It’s hard to find a place that’s fancy but not too fancy, laid-back but not too casual, upscale but not too expensive, cool but not too trendy. When you do find that Goldilocks spot, you want to hold onto it for dear life.

Income Tax, a small, dark restaurant and bar in Edgewater, is a great example. This place serves high-end dishes at not-so-high-end prices, and will leave you feeling pretty damn good about your choices.

Income Tax serves small plates from different regions of Europe, as well as an extensive European wine list. The food menu, which would fit in easily at a restaurant downtown, reads sort of like a list of Top Chef contestant greatest hits - it’s a hodgepodge of dishes that don’t have much in common other than the fact that they sound like they require a lot of skill to get right. While it could go terribly wrong, everything is really good. And unlike downtown, you won’t need to convince yourself that the amount of money you’re paying for teensy portions somehow makes sense. It’s all fairly reasonable here.

Sandy Noto

The dishes are divided by size, and you’re going to want a mix of them on the table. From the “Bites” section, get the strangolapreti, ridiculously tasty spinach and ricotta dumplings that manage to be rich and fluffy at the same time. Our favorite appetizer is the flammenkuchen, a German tart with bacon, onion, cheese, and a light and flaky crust. It’s small enough that it could have been cooked in an Easy Bake oven, but this little thing needs to be on the table. The entrees are excellent, too - like carrot agnolotti that are al dente and a little sweet, and topped with veal sweetbreads that add flavor instead of being an unnecessary addition to chef up the plate. As for dessert, the chocolate mousse - served with whipped cream - is what you want to go for.

The space at Income Tax is not as refined as the food. Decor is minimal, and there’s not too much in the way of ambience other than dim lighting, but it still feels perfectly pleasant. The service is also pretty casual, so don’t come expecting the kind of experience you might get at a fancy restaurant. But you’re not paying fancy-restaurant prices, and the atmosphere only adds to the charming feeling that you’re getting away with something by eating here. If only things turned out so well for Goldilocks.

Food Rundown

Stranglopreti

We didn’t know what these were going to be like when we ordered them. Turns out they’re little green balls of awesome. They remind us of gnocchi, and the creamy sauce they’re served with is delicious.

Sandy Noto
Flammenkuchen

This savory tart is both extremely small and extremely rich. The pastry is perfect, and the cheese filling is smooth and really well balanced.

Sandy Noto
Tortilla Espanola

This is basically a vegetable frittata served on a roasted red pepper sauce, and it’s one of the lighter dishes on the menu. It’s a good option if you don’t want to overdo it on the richer small plates.

Sandy Noto
Carrot Agnolotti

The carrot-filled agnolotti here have just the right amount of firmness, and are topped with fried sweetbreads. This dish is a great example of how Income Tax’s servings feel appropriate for the price. It isn’t a giant bowl of pasta, but since it’s also not outrageously expensive, you don’t have a WTF feeling when it hits the table.

Sandy Noto
Trout Meuniere

This trout is served with roasted sweet corn, and toasted breadcrumbs that give it a great texture

Scallops

These come with Spanish chorizo and sweet potato, as well as a light, garlicky sauce. We’ve had a lot of pretty “meh” scallops, but these are really good.

Sandy Noto
Chocolate Mousse

Silky mousse topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s chocolatey and not too sweet. If you get dessert here, this is what you want.

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