First Look: Sophia's
Old school meets new in old Bess Bistro space
By Lauren Jones,
1:15PM, Wed. Aug. 31, 2016
From its tufted sapphire chairs to custom Tom Dixon lighting to romantic dining alcoves, Sophia's strives for cool sophistication. Inspired by Italian film icon Sophia Loren, it harkens back to Hollywood's Golden Age in its refined color palette and rich modern decor.
The latest concept from Chicago-based BDG Hospitality, Sophia’s was inspired by the midcentury supper club. Upon entering, patrons are greeted with a black-and-white gallery wall, sultry lighting, and an antique European pewter bar. The space, formerly home to Sandra Bullock’s Bess Bistro, features an open-concept dining room and a covered terrace. On the weekends, Sophia’s adds live entertainment to the mix. A DJ booth emerges from the fireplace as the music grows louder and the lights grow dimmer.
Sophia’s menu mostly features revamped renditions of classic Italian dishes. Executive Chef Mark Sparacino uses simple ingredients and family recipes, but integrates contemporary techniques. The menu features some housemade and imported pastas, plus a few shareable plates divided into "hot" and "cold" categories. Favorites include the arugula salad, delicately dressed in a basil citranette, and the fusilli calabrese with sautéed shrimp, calabrese peppers, and garlic and chile-infused olive oil. Heavier appetites can choose from serious entrees like an 18-oz. steak or a half brick chicken.
Ending an evening at Sophia’s without a cocktail and dessert would be sinful. With barrel-aged Manhattans and negronis, Italian liquors, and an extensive wine list, Sophia’s beverage program is thorough. Highlights include La Rosa with Ketel One, pink grapefruit liqueur, citrus, strawberry, and Prosecco, and The American with Cocchi Rosa, white and rose vermouth, and lemon. The desserts are designed to be fun, like the tiramisu served as a push-up pop or the playfully named Birthday Suit Cake. With true Italian hospitality, the dining experience at Sophia’s invites guests to stay a while, have a drink, and enjoy.Sophia’s
500 W. Sixth, 512/580-9990
Thu.–Sat., 5pm-2am; Sun., 4-9pm
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