For the past year Raduno on South Main has made steady progression to become one of the strongest all around restuarants in town. It is a far cry from their early days when they struggled to find a real identity.
The latest menu update, while one of their smallests, is the strongest yet. It helps that executive chef Liv Thompson has managed to grow a strong kitchen crew who are now all contribute to each dish.
“Thanks to the last few updates we had a strong menu going in. It allowed us to focus on making a handful of dishes really great and playing around with new ways to introduce our favorites,” Thompson says. “This was a solid team effort from the crew, everyone helped refine the dishes in ways that we have never had the opportunity to do.”
One of my favorite examples of reinventing new ways of presenting items takes a page from their brunch offerings. Their take on Lox at brunch has become my go-to Sunday lunch meal. It uses a dill cream cheese base and capers along with the smoked salmon. Now the Raduno crew has turned it into a pizza making a sauce version of the cream cheese base while bringing all the other elements over. It is a great change of pace pizza that is different from anything else you will find in town.
Speaking of pizzas, the new Chicken Puttanesca is easily the best pizza Raduno has produced so far. It starts with roasted chicken, garlic, olives, and a blend of cheese. It is also the best example of the crew coming together on a dish.
“We did a first run of the pizza, and it was just ok. We were topping it with anchovies, which provided the right flavor balance, but the whole anchovies were too much,” Thompson says. “One of the kitchen crew members decided to try it with the anchovies blended into the sauce, and it turned out perfect.”
Raduno is also taking a heavy focus on quick lunch items this time around to get people in and out quick. There are several new sandwiches including the chicken salad sandwich on the menu. They are also bringing in a pizza bread option which allows you to take any pizza and put it on sourdough bread slices which is then roasted in the oven. The outcome is a unique open faced sandwich that is the same size as their lunch pizzas and takes less than half the time when you are needing a quick option.
On the lighter side, they have a new garlic shrimp appetizer. No surprise here, it clocks in as one of the best apps on the menu. They are also introducing seasonal salads, this time up is a unique take on a caprese that uses large heirloom tomato slices, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil but is then served on a bed of fresh mixed greens for a bit more substance and traditional salad flair.
The crew is also looking to start pasta specials soon and possibly bringing over a few brunch favorites to be available at lunch. Keep an eye on their Facebook for more there.
Overall it is the type of well-refined menu that Raduno needed to set itself up to continue to grow as a strong restaurant.