DiModa Has Innovative Italian Food
Delicious dishes, attractive atmosphere and dog-friendly.
I did not expect to like DiModa. When I heard Trocadero would be replaced by a wood-burning pizza joint, my reaction was, “Just what the neighborhood doesn’t need, one more pizza-centered restaurant.” Was I wrong! I didn’t count the weeks, but noted the speedy turn-around from French-centric to Italian. In a flash, the Brady Street neighborhood, my neighborhood, gained a restaurant where pizza may be the star attraction, but there is much more to like.
I start with brunch at DiModa on a Saturday on the spacious patio where my companion and I nab a table in the shade. We sit close to a central fountain surrounded by flowers and above us, fans keep air moving, a nice touch, albeit unnecessary on this 70-degree afternoon. Grasses and flowers in pots scattered on both the patio and the sidewalk make this an inviting place to linger, while we sit in the middle of a well-tended garden.
We order from the brunch menu, only available on weekends, a list of 10 specials. Limoncello French Toast with honey ricotta and basil strawberries topped with limoncello syrup, and Belgium waffles with Nutella are hard to pass on, but I’m headed for savory. I can’t resist a good benedict, especially when there are four unique choices: Heirloom Tomato; Lobster and Prosciutto; the Traditional; and the strange Benedict Fried Meatballs. I go for the fried meatballs thinking, “Really? You must be kidding.” Thanks to my adventuresome palate, I’m rewarded with one of my all-time favorite brunch entrees. The roasted tomato hollandaise mingled with the poached eggs and the meatballs have redefined eggs benedict for me, the dish is a true tour de force.
We notice a couple with a dog. Our server explains the patio is a dog-friendly zone where treats and water are available for friendly canines.
I return a few days later for lunch with great enthusiasm. This time we’re seated on an inside patio as it has rained recently. I mention this because it’s one of many places to dine at DiModa, where European charm makes them inviting, no matter where you sit.
From Starters, we order Roasted Stuffed Cherry Peppers. We should have paid more attention to our server who says, “They’re pretty spicy.” That’s an understatement! We anticipate cherry peppers, sweet, succulent. We get succulent, fiery, jalapeno peppers, not cherry peppers. We like the stuffing, fennel sausage, onion, and bread crumbs, but those peppers, oh my god! Not only did my mouth explode, but the burn traveled down my throat until tears spilled down my face. They should either come with a warning or, they should be cherry peppers as advertised. We are in pain. My companion takes the remaining four home to her husband.
The rest of the meal is flawless. I want a Margherita Pizza, but our server says the kitchen ran out of basil. We think they should send a runner to Glorioso’s a few blocks east to resupply. We tell the server we could have brought some from our gardens.
Instead, I order the Fuggedaboutit, a kitchen sink choice with sausage, buff mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and pecorino. The chef substitutes parsley for the basil. I like everything about my pizza: the hint of smoke from the wood burning oven; the irregular shape; the crisp edges; the mix of flavors in the toppings; the crust. Normally I discard extra crust. This one is as good as the rest of the pizza, chewy, light, impossible to leave on the plate.
My companion orders the Sardinian Style Shrimp Fregola with blistered grape tomatoes, fennel sausage, and pecorino. Fregola, little balls of seminola dough that have been toasted in the oven, resemble barley. The flavor is pure Italian. The dish comes with seven juicy shrimp and a dozen or so tomatoes hiding in the pasta. My companion insists I try a bite of tomato and sausage together to experience an explosion of flavors in my mouth. This could be addictive.
DiModa also has a menu dedicated to gluten-free. People who need that special diet have many choices including six varieties of pasta, salmon, pork chops, chicken, several starters, and for dessert, Honey Roasted Figs, Italian custard, and gelato. In addition, all the pizzas are available gluten-free.
I’m sorry to lose Trocadero; I’m delighted to welcome DiModa to the neighborhood.
On the Menu
- Location: 1758 N. Water St.
- Phone: 414-331-0020
- Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sat-Sun.
- Website: http://dimodapizza.com/
- UM Rating: stars (average of Yelp, Trip Advisor and Zomato)