Review: Cielo at Four Seasons

The rooftop restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel downtown has revamped its menu to focus on ‘shared plates,’ a concept its chef says is consistent with the Italian way of eating: everyone together as a family sharing in the bounty. He has drawn on his roots in Italy and the results do not disappoint: pillowy housemade ravioli, intensely flavored Zuppa di Pesce, buttery squid-ink pasta with lobster.

I wish I could steer readers to ‘the best dishes,’ but they were all best dishes. Foccacia e Burrata ($16) is pizza dough stuffed with chopped green olives, folded over itself, and spread with truffle oil, cherry tomatoes and arugula. Plopped into the center is creamy burrata. The cold cheese contrasted with the warm crust; the salty olives with the peppery arugula.

The Crocchetta di Carciofo ($6) are fried balls with minced artichoke and cream inside, reminiscent of crab rangoon. They were excellent, with the tangy artichoke holding up well to the fried balls and their oozing cream. The Cappesante ($17) is a light and refreshing starter of three seared scallops on basil emulsion, topped with pickled bell peppers and a few grapefruit jewels.

Veal Milanese ($38), the chef’s signature dish, includes a massive veal cutlet, bone in and breaded, atop truffle mashed potatoes with roasted tomatoes and mizuna salad—tender and moist. Same for the Polipo alla Luciana ($16), baby octopus that is tender and flavorful rather than rubbery. It comes in a browned tomato sauce flavored with smoky paprika, feta, green olives and butternut squash.

Zuppa de Pesce ($25 or $38) makes other fish soups pale, with its delicate red broth of concentrated sea flavors. Slices of buttery sea bass float alongside shrimp, clams and mussels—each of them as perfectly cooked as if it was prepared individually.

Tonnarelli Neri, squid-ink pasta ($14 or $21), was the star of the show. The black noodles came coated in a layer of cream and flavored with bagna cauda, a mix of anchovies, garlic, butter and prosecco to yield a delicately flavored emulsion, in this case enhanced by lobster and dried tomatoes.

The filet ($39) is delicious, served well-seasoned with salt and pepper and a few crisped onion slivers. Every bite includes an appealing salty-and-peppery exterior. It comes with roasted veggies and a flavorful chianti reduction.

The Agnello ($38), rack of Australian lamb, consists of three juicy double-cut chops that are melt-in-your mouth good (in part, thanks to the smashed fingerling potatoes doused with duck fat underneath them!) The saffron corn puree, a creamy sauce underneath, also enhances the meat.

The Tonno ($36), two large chunks of tuna tenderloin, is in the running for ‘Best Fish I’ve Tasted,’ fresh and clean, buttery and encased in black pepper. A citrusy orange caponata accompanies it, as do artisan roasted vegetables, including pattypan squash, baby zucchini and heirloom radishes. If you’re thinking, So many tempting dishes, so little stomach space, don’t despair. There is a tasting set menu: three courses for $42, four for $48.

Desserts are the usual Italian offerings, but hardly typical. The cannoli tasted like they were just then fried up, hot, slightly oily and flaky crisp, the filling so light that it resembled whipped cream. The tiramisu also was light in texture, with a spongy base.

amuse bouche
the scene | Elegant rooftop dining
the prices | $6-$19 small plates, pizza $20, pasta $18-$25, entrees $25-$65
the chef | Gian Nicola Colucci
the favorites | Foccacia e Burrata, Veal Milanese, Squid-ink Pasta with Lobster, Zuppa di Pesce, Fritto Misto, lamb chops, Broccolini Cacio e Pepe, Cannoli

ott-cielo_colucci_4chef chat » gian nicola colucci
what inspired the new smaller plates? | The trend is for people to eat different things faster, and also, these fit in-between the starter and the main course.
which one is your favorite? | Foccacia e Burrata
which has been a diner favorite? | Salmone Bruscetta
what is your favorite fall ingredient? | Mushrooms and truffles

999 n. second st. | 314.881.5759