IL DESCO | Modern Italian Arrives in Jax

3/26/2016



Interior shot of IL DESCO

Recently my husband and I were invited to be the guests of one of Jacksonville's newest culinary gems, a restaurant by the name of IL DESCO. Situated in a prime location in one of the River City's most historic and trendy neighborhoods, IL DESCO is poised for success as it aims to please the palates of local connoisseurs, girls night gatherers, and romantic liaisons. Jacksonville's Riverside  area has become well known for it's upscale foodie finds. My review at IL DESCO would reveal if the newest member of the foodie scene was on the same playing field.  




trendy restaurant IL DESCO

The atmosphere at IL DESCO is contemporary and inviting. The open dining area houses large semi private booths, and public dining tables, as well as a long family style dining table made with wood salvaged from another upcoming Forking Amazing Restaurant (The Cowford Chophouse in construction now). I appreciated the tie in as every noteworthy foodie destination usually comes with a story. These little Easter Eggs can be found in many destinations, you just have to know where to look, and who to ask. 

Family table created from reclaimed wood

the menu at IL DESCO


The menu is driven by Italian classics including fresh pasta, wood fired pizza, and a raw bar with the freshest local catch. Look for the use of more rustic classics like rabbit, and (one of my absolute favorites) the tastiest polenta you will order in Jax. If you are feeling adventurous go for the Spaghetti Tacos complete with braised short ribs. Tacos are a pretty big deal in Jax, so any creative display is worth a taste.
Oysters from IL DESCO
On the Menu:
Oysters


The Cocktail menu is full of classic and seasonal selections. Look for whiskey, and scotch to make strong appearances, and be open to a few twists on every day favorites. These guys are pros though so you can order pretty much anything and they will deliver, or get creative and let them make something just for you. 
Dark and Ginger

On the menu:
The Dark and Ginger

After ordering our cocktails we started with bread. I have to say IL DESCO impressed taking their bread game to the next level. This hearty loaf was sourced locally and packed with a full robust flavor. The dipping oil was just as complex and made the bread more than a nibbler, it was pure bliss and truly one of the highlights of the meal. (YOU DO NOT WANT TO SKIP THE BREAD HERE)
local bread served at IL DESCO
I could make a meal of this locally sourced bread

Salmon Crudo makes for a great starter at IL DESCO
On the Menu:
Salmon Crudo Di Mercado
Our first selection was a Salmon Crudo DI Mercado off of the Raw Bar menu, and it was marvelous! Perfectly executed and full of well balanced flavor. 

Polenta in a Jar and grilled Ciabatta
On the menu:
Community Board
Congaree & Penn “Italian” grits, Pecorino Romano, braised rabbit ragu, micro greens, grilled ciabatta
My next choice was the Community Board. Creamy and delightful, the grilled ciabatta provided a contrast of crunch to the smooth texture of the grits. I'm pretty sure my husband had to hold me back from licking the jar. 

Branzino done right
On the Menu:
Wood-Fired Branzino
For our main course my husband choose a mouth watering steak, and I chose the special of the day a Lobster Ravioli with just the right amount of spicy kick. The light wasn't quite right for the ravioli, so pictured here you will see their popular Wood-Fired Branzino. The menu at IL DESCO is certainly on  point, however, I will say I always love choosing the special when I can because it's where the chefs get extra creative and I enjoy seeing what their imagination contrives. 
New York Strip at IL DESCO
On Special:
New York Strip
The dessert menu was full of great choices you would come to expect of an Italian hot spot, like Tiramisu, Gelato, and Cheesecake. The Apple Jack Whiskey Bread Pudding stuck out as a more creative option (on my list for next time). For this dinner's finale, we opted for the Bombolini aka fancy donuts which are very on trend right now in the food scene. We were not disappointed. Fresh crispy dough, rolled in powdered sugar, dipped in one of your choice of three sauces. A delightful ending to a fantastic evening tasting elevated Italian dishes in one of Jacksonville's trendiest neighborhoods. 
Bomboloni at IL DESCO aka fancy donuts
On the Menu:
Bomboloni
aka fancy donuts

IL DESCO is a refreshing addition to Jacksonville's foodie scene, which is generally dominated by more Southern and regional fare. Modern Italian shines on the pedestal Forking Amazing Restaurants have created for this new player on the Bold City's culinary stage. 

Have you tried IL DESCO yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Until then...

Enjoy the Journey!

xo- Amy West


Old Fashioned at IL DESCO

A Classic - Old Fashioned 

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