Sunday, December 07, 2008


With the arrival of the holidays, I had the chance to visit Medici in Normal for a gathering with friends.
Arriving at 120 North Street, we stepped inside and were greeted by a hostess. We had reservations, but were early and had planned to sit at the bar and enjoy a drink.
The floors in the restaurant are a blue tinted concrete, and I also noticed an upstairs, where from the sounds, there may have been a large group party in full swing.
Another interesting feature is the large knarled tree standing proudly in the dining room.
We found several open stools at the bar and took our seats while I was taking in the atmosphere.
Medici is filled with lots of wood, from the rustic table tops made from small soda bottle sized log slices cut and embedded under varnish, which I found myself admiring from time to time during our visit, counting the rings to see how old the trees might have been.
The booths were wooden as well, handmade, low and attractive, and the restaurant was scattered with artwork. One piece, a painting of a filled gumball machine, was most notable to me.
The lighting throughout the restaurant was interesting, and there were several stained glass pieces on display with a prairie style theme, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, with perhaps more of a contemporary twist.
We ordered glasses of wine and waited a few minutes for those, and by the time we had paid, our hostess had appeared and said our table was ready, so we headed over.
The menu was not extensive but had some nice appetizer selections including tortilla chips with guacamole and pico di gallo, which my friend ordered. The pico tasted fresh and crisp and the chips were dosed here and there with seasoned salt. The guacamole was fine (I'm no guac aficionado).
For dinner, strangely, we all selected pasta. Three of us went with the Mediterranean pasta with varying accompaniments and I selected the penne with a tomato cream sauce, topped with chicken.
I also ordered a house salad, thinking I could get some veggies in and try the creamy parmesan dressing. I was well into my pasta dish before I realized that I had never received my salad, but I had plenty to eat, and it was not on the bill.
I really enjoyed the penne dish, which was much too large for me to finish. Despite this, I did try (and succeed) to choke down a slice of the pecan pie, homemade in Medici's bakery next door. The pie was said to take 15 minutes to warm in an oven, foregoing the microwave. It took much closer to 30 minutes on this night, but we were having a good time and did not mind too terribly.
I found the saltiness of the homemade crust to be an excellent compliment to the sweet pie.
Our waiter was personable and efficient.
My tab pre-tip (minus a drink paid for at the bar) was about $22.
The menu also features sandwiches, salads, a handful of entrées and a few seafood selections.
There is also a Medici in Hyde Park, IL.

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