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Sophia’s Italian Food Overshadowed by Flash, Laments Chronicle

What became of the Bess Bistro space

Sophia’s Courtney Pierce/EATX

Chronicle's Brandon Watson found Sophia’s noteworthy dishes can be overpowered by the restaurant's club scene. The BDG Hospitality Group (Matt Deichl, Jonathan Gillespie, and James Brown) opened the modern Italian-American supper club in Bess Bistro’s former spot on West 6th Street. and tapped Mark Sparacino — chef and owner of Prosecco Ristorante in Chicago — to helm the kitchen.

The reinvented space includes a bar and lounge area, a dining room with intimate nooks, and a covered terrace upstairs. Thanks to its plush blue velvet and dark leather furniture, the space balances between traditional and contemporary. However, as the hours pass, the restaurant moves away from “supper” towards “club,” Watson shared:

Suddenly Bess' original fireplace pops out to become a DJ booth, setting the scene for a Michael Bay-directed Night at the Roxbury. And the lighting changes color, making your burrata look slightly bruised. And before you know it, you are pushing tiramisu out of a plastic cylinder in the name of fun. You would call it a conversation starter, except you can't hear a thing over the music.

Unfortunately all that glitter can steal the spotlight from the real star—the meal itself, explained Watson, which “avoids showiness altogether, sticking to honest, familiar ingredients with wide appeal.”

Watson pointed to The Meatball (a mini meatloaf), brick chicken, sea bass, and the chop as standouts. As for pasta, try the cacio e pepe, capellini al pesto, and fettuccine bolognese. Note though that Sophia's sweets can be a misstep be it saccharine cocktails or "gimmicky" desserts like the push-pop tiramisu.

The juxtaposition between the Instagram-ready glitter and gold and well-executed entrees may leave you asking “why good food isn’t good enough.”

THE BLOGS — A Taste of Koko swooned over The Factory, The Austinot stopped by rustic Italian-centric Italic downtown, and Fed Man Walking had brunch at Dai Due.


500 West 6th Street, , TX 78701 (512) 580-9990 Visit Website

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