Nuccio's is a three-miler. That's about as far as I would travel to eat there. That's not terribly disparaging because in that distance I would probably pass three other trattorias. I would usually go to Nuccio's for the pizza. It serves five combination pies and offers 16 toppings (nothing strange: 'roni, sausage, olives, onions, etc.) with which to build your own. It's the omnipresent "New York Style" which usually means thin crust, sweet sauce and long slices of vegetables. If you build your own, a 10-inch runs $4.50 plus 50 cents per topping; 14-inch is $7.50 plus $1.25 per; 16-inch is $9 plus $1.50 per. Combinations run between $6.50 and $16.50. They toss the dough up front. It's pretty darned good crust. The sauce is a tad too sweet for my taste, but it tastes like they make it. Points for that. The toppings are run-of-the-mill both in selection and quality. Overall, it's pretty good strip-mall trattoria pizza.
The entrees didn't move me and neither did the service. We had the Grilled Portobello in garlic and wine ($5.50). The sauce was a little top-heavy on the Marsala. The hide of the portobello hadn't been removed, so it was leathery. I had the Saltimbocca Romana ($14.25) and my girl had the Eggplant Parmigiana ($11). The Romana simply wasn't what was described on the menu (fresh veal sauteed with prosciutto and sage, served on a bed of spinach and topped with fontina cheese). No prociutto or sage, and it was topped with square slices of mozzarella and finished off in a microwave or a salamander (sort of a big, superhot toaster). The spinach was wilted to little more than stems. The eggplant was fine.
Our waiter barely spoke English and knocked over my glass of wine. Nobody apologized and later he tried to charge me for the spilled glass. I love to hear Italian accents in a trattoria. It's comforting. But if you can't speak to your guests or understand what they say to you, you shouldn't be waiting tables. You can curse me if you like, but if it happened to you, you'd feel the same way.
If you live on the South Side and you want something considerably better than Pizza Hut, I'd recommend Nuccio's. If you want veal picata, I'd keep driving. If you work in the area, Nuccio's lunches are affordable and filling. If you don't live on the South Side, there's probably a trattoria somewhere near you. It's just a matter of miles. S
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