Andrea Frizzi, chef/owner of Il Posto, is a native of Milan, Italy, a city he describes as fast-paced and business-minded. But Italians, Milanese or otherwise, are food lovers, so when the chef decided to add lunch hours to his Larimer Street restaurant, he wanted to do things right.
"I'm not just doing a half-sandwich and a cup of soup — it's not the way we eat in Italy," he states.
Instead, Il Posto's new lunch menu, which will launch on Friday, May 3, covers a range of full-sized entrees, appetizers and salads far from the fast-casual, grab-and-go world. "My idea is to have the classic power lunch," the chef explains. "It's important for me for it to be very Italian."
Yes, there will be a sandwich, in a sense. Frizzi notes that piadini are a favorite street food in Italy sold from food trucks and carts. Il Posto makes its own flatbread for a piadina layered with mortadella, caciocavallo cheese, greens, radishes and Jerez vinaigrette. Beyond that, the brief lunch menu is laid out in traditional Italian style, with assaggini (starters), primi (pasta dishes) and secondi (entrees). You'll be able to build your own meal or opt for a two-course lunch for $22, with a choice of soup, salad or calamari, along with pasta, risotto or a piadina.
Il Posto's calamari aren't the typical breaded-and-fried rings. Here, squid are served "alla marchigiana" (in the style of Italy's Marche region); they're stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs and anchovy before being cooked and sliced into bite-sized pieces alongside broccolini and tomato sauce. Other appetizers include asparagus soup with morels, grilled octopus with black hummus, and burrata with housemade lavash crackers. If you're lunching with a group, a tagliere board with meats and cheeses is a good place to start.
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Housemade pastas include pappardelle with pork and mushroom ragu; fastidio, a bowl of tomato-flavored spaghetti with rock shrimp in a spicy sauce; and herbed orecchiette with basil and arugula pesto. Risotto comes out a vivid yellow from a generous dose of saffron. For bigger appetites, pan-seared salmon or thin-pounded chicken Milanese are available, both accompanied by seasonal produce. In fact, Frizzi is insistent on using fresh, local ingredients (including greens and herbs grown at Altius Farm just a block away), so the exact ingredients of each dish will shift with availability.
Lunch specials on wine and beer will be offered, and there are also refreshing non-alcoholic cocktails from the bar, where booze-free gin and amaro substitutes are being concocted to create surprisingly accurate versions of Negronis and Aperol spritzes that won't go to your head.
Lunch at Il Posto, at 2601 Larimer Street, will be served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The chef's counter will be open for reservations during that time for groups of up to six people interested in enjoying a four-course lunch, with half-glass wine pairings, for $45 each. The mezzanine level is also available for larger groups to reserve. Call 303-394-0100 or visit Il Posto's website for details and reservations.