Flame-kissed octopus with red-wine caper vinaigrette, burrata showered with herbs, and vegetables with nutty romesco are three dishes we never expected to find in Berwyn.
But at the western suburb's new Autre Monde Café, smart, citified food is in abundance, thanks to a quartet of industry veterans who met while working for Tony Mantuano at Spiaggia.
The menu jumps around the Mediterranean, from a generous mound of creamy burrata ($9)--made at nearby Caputo and topped with Croatian olive oil and basil, chives, parsley and tarragon from the restaurant's greenhouse--to za'atar-dusted flatbread ($12) and Manchego cheese croquettes ($8).
The octopus dish (pictured; $11) is exemplary, with tender baby octopus and tomatoes lightly blackened by the kitchen's hardwood charcoal grill and dressed in a loose vinaigrette. Fennel, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini and small, sweet onions are charred on the plancha before meeting hazelnut-walnut romesco sauce on the plate ($9).
The wine list is an equally eclectic and reasonably priced survey of Mediterranean styles (try a medium-bodied Malvasia from Istria; $30). For dessert, a taste of the Old World and New: honey-lavender cheesecake, a rich and satisfying combination of mascarpone and cream cheese.
Autre Monde Café, 6727 W. Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn; 708-775-8122 or autremondecafe.net