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Photograph: Martha WilliamsOmbra

“I gave Ombra a measly two stars.”


When I gave Ombra a middling, two-star review earlier this year, I did it because I had approached the restaurant the same way I do every other restaurant: for dinner. I went twice, ate two meals of Venetian-style snacks, and each time left unsatisfied.

That review had a couple ramifications for me. (1) It, coupled with a review of Premise a few weeks later, somehow led people to think that I live in Andersonville (I don’t, and never have), and that because I live there (again, I don’t) I am somehow harsher on restaurants in that neighborhood. (2) Because I didn’t love Ombra, I caught the attention of the daughter of one of Ombra’s owners, whom I know only as her Twitter persona, @JLovexoxox. One day I logged on to Twitter to find several hate-tweets from her.

“It baffles me that @timeoutchicago would hire someone with such a rudementary palat [sic] as @DavidTamarkin,” she wrote.

To which I responded: “Girl, please.”

“And based on @davidtamarkin’s photo, looks like Lady Gregory is just his speed. Deep fried, high fat! Welp, to each his own!” she continued.

To which I responded: “I’m skinny as hell.”

But that’s not why I regret the review. As the year has progressed, my feelings about Ombra have evolved. When I’m peckish and thirsty in Andersonville (because, fine, I guess I don’t live that far away), I find myself at Ombra’s bar, chasing cicchetti with white wine. Sometimes, in the summer, I even do this in Ombra’s outdoor space, which is rustic, cabana-like and among the liveliest alfresco spaces on the North Side. If I weren’t so nervous I was going to run into @JLovexoxox, I’d hang out there even more.

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