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A tasty Greek pizza — with feta, mozzarella and roasted red peppers — is one of several pizzas here that stars salty Greek Kalamata olives. So it's not shocking that another Mediterranean-inspired creation, a gyro sandwich, survived the spring menu cuts. But the menu's ethnic sense — its common sense, as far as I'm concerned — hits a wall with the chicken Marsala. The bird in this classic French-Italian dish should be lightly sautéed, never plunged into a Fry Daddy-deep bath of vegetable oil. The nuances of the delicate Marsala wine sauce are completely drowned in the low-rent diner version at Chiusano's — the restaurant's biggest misstep.
"I thought that's what the customers out here would want," Borberg told me later.
He's probably right, but if I skip pizza for poultry here, I'll stick with the chicken parmesan. The moist and satisfying — and appropriately breaded and fried — chicken breast is typically encased in a thick, fried breading.
Borberg's oil also stays hot for one of the desserts: the doughnutlike zeppole, made to order. The house-made bread pudding is better, so I'm glad it has earned a place on the new menu. But I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to order another cup of the house gelato, created by Michigan-based Palazzolo's Artisan Gelato & Sorbetto. The chocolate version I tried was disappointingly gritty, and the peach-habanero was too light on the fruit and too heavy-handed with the pepper. (The company does make some terrific and more authentic Italian flavors, which Chiusano's should consider adding.)
Meanwhile, Borberg and his staff are going to keep experimenting with different dinner dishes as nightly specials, with an eye toward another menu update. Soup season is over, but I hope the hearty pasta fagioli soup becomes a year-round offering. Borberg's version is one of the most beautifully seasoned bean-and-pasta soups I've ever tasted, and its sensitivity to flavor and balance signals that his kitchen can find a strong permanent menu. Encore!