Page 3 of 3
As a child, chef Vaccaro used to make homemade cannoli in his grandmother's basement in St. Louis. ("It wasn't on The Hill," he said; everyone asks.) Now he fills the traditional chocolate-and-pistachio-covered pastry shells with chilled ricotta and Chianti-marinated cherries. He also offers a dense, flourless torta di cioccolata and the ubiquitous tiramisu. The wildest creation is a meringue-covered scoop of lemon gelato, doused with limoncello liqueur and perched on a citrus-olive-oil cake. It's the kind of dolci one might order in Rome or this restaurant's namesake city. But Kansas City diners prefer the familiar, such as cheesecake or crème brûlée, to anything too exotic, let alone booze-filled. There's the occasional request for spumoni, but Vaccaro doesn't serve it.
When Milano's most recent makeover took shape earlier this year, the old bar was moved out of its claustrophobic corner to the front of the restaurant. It has never looked better, and manager Gretchen Keaton says bar business has increased dramatically. And by adding Dominic Vaccaro's culinary style, this snazzy-looking Milano is finally establishing an identity of its own. So go ahead, give Milano some respect.