Dining Chicago

Sweet of the Week: Strawberry Shortcake at Bar Toma

I like a little pomp and circumstance with my shortcake. For such an innately humble dessert as strawberry shortcake, one rooted in the classics and preconceived expectations, it's an impressive accomplishment to infuse a little razzle-dazzle. That's just what happens at Bar Toma, Tony Mantuano's Mag Mile restaurant that recently reopened following a brief remodel and menu recharge. Now, the restaurant is more casual, upbeat, and fun. The menu is noticeably more playful, featuring things like garlic monkey bread and pasta nachos. That quirky sentiment extends to the dessert program as well, in the form of a stunningly exuberant shortcake. 


Bar Toma
Shortcake with style at Bar Toma

Presented in a jumbo mason jar, the strawberry shortcake at Bar Toma is anything but subtle. It arrives looking like the Fourth of July fireworks, erupting from the serving vessel radiant with colors and textures. The jar features a dangling name tag proclaiming itself as shortcake, in case that wasn't clear by the surfeit of strawberries and cake chunks exploding all over the plate. The complex layering of various ingredients makes for one of the more dynamic shortcakes I've had; the upper patina is crowned with a couple ladyfingers nestled inside a mound of vanilla mousse. That silken mousse weaves its way through the entire jar, serving as foundation for fresh and preserved strawberries and morsels of poundcake. And that's not all; surrounding the jar is a smattering of shortcake pieces and some dainty cookies that look and taste like tender gingersnaps, minus the crackly crunch. 

Points for shortcake ingenuity. 

- Matt Kirouac

Tags: dessertcakeshortcakeBar TomaGold Coaststrawberry
Neighborhoods: Streeterville

Spiaggia Executive Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano takes over the space formerly home to French-focused Bistro 110. Now with a playful Italian spin, Bar Toma offers pizzas, lasagna, sandwiches, salads, and quirky...

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