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Gaetano's in Forest Park - Chef Benedetto is back

Gaetano's in Forest Park - Chef Benedetto is back
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  • Post #91 - November 28th, 2012, 6:59 pm
    Post #91 - November 28th, 2012, 6:59 pm Post #91 - November 28th, 2012, 6:59 pm
    zoid wrote:Would Gaetano's be conducive to an LTH dinner?

    I think only for a smaller group. Personally, 6 is the biggest group I'd feel comfortable with there, though, I'm sure they have larger ones all the time. I just feel that with a larger group, the food and the experience might not be truly representative of what the restaurant does best.

    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #92 - November 28th, 2012, 7:04 pm
    Post #92 - November 28th, 2012, 7:04 pm Post #92 - November 28th, 2012, 7:04 pm
    I'll call tomorrow and ask what they recommend. Perhaps they have a back room?
  • Post #93 - November 28th, 2012, 7:10 pm
    Post #93 - November 28th, 2012, 7:10 pm Post #93 - November 28th, 2012, 7:10 pm
    You can reserve the big, private table in the front window. I'm pretty sure we've fit about 10-12 there without a problem and I've never felt the service suffered going with a larger party.
  • Post #94 - November 28th, 2012, 7:14 pm
    Post #94 - November 28th, 2012, 7:14 pm Post #94 - November 28th, 2012, 7:14 pm

    I'm thinking Saturday Dec 15 - Good? Bad? Thoughts?

    Order off the menu, or ask if they can do a pre fixe for a group?

    All suggestions welcome!!
    Last edited by zoid on November 28th, 2012, 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #95 - November 28th, 2012, 7:15 pm
    Post #95 - November 28th, 2012, 7:15 pm Post #95 - November 28th, 2012, 7:15 pm
    I'd also be interested if the date works

    Edit: whoops, didn't see the rest of the posts. I could probably do the 15th
  • Post #96 - November 28th, 2012, 8:50 pm
    Post #96 - November 28th, 2012, 8:50 pm Post #96 - November 28th, 2012, 8:50 pm
    Santander wrote:
    stevez wrote:
    Buick GS wrote:We had a fabulous dinner last night at Gaetano's. We started with a special's appetizer that I hope will make it on to their regular menu--Capesante con Crema di Poblano. Dave, our server, described it as grilled scallops on an open-face tamale.

    Did he mean polenta when he said tamale?

    I doubt it; there is often intentional Mexican (and even occasionally Asian, like the crystallized ginger and soy on one of the carpaccio versions) fusion on the main Gaetano's part of the menu.

    Santander: You are correct in your interpretation. The Crema di Poblano was definitely a sauce with heavy Mexican overtones, and, lacked any hint of cornmeal or polenta. I believe the open-face tamale description was used very openly in terms of interpretation. Having said that, there wasn't a hint of the rich, smoky crema left on the dish when we were done.
  • Post #97 - January 1st, 2013, 10:16 pm
    Post #97 - January 1st, 2013, 10:16 pm Post #97 - January 1st, 2013, 10:16 pm
    “Cenone di San Silvestro 12-31-2012"
    (New Year's Eve Menu - 2012)

    We spent our fourth consecutive New Year’s Eve at Gaetano’s to enjoy his special tasting menu. There were three seating times available and we opted for the earliest @ 5:30 PM.

    "Cannolo di Trota Affumicata e Sedano di Verona"
    Lake Ontario smoked trout dressed with harissa aioli served in cannolo & topped with celeriac remoulade

    This two bite offering really packed a punch with great textures of the silky trout mixed with the creamy aioli piped into a crunchy homemade cannoli shell. This dish served as a great prelude to what was to follow.

    "Carpaccio di Vitellina con Salsa di Tonno e Capperi"
    Slow cooked veal loin, served carpaccio style served over caper-tuna sauce topped with tuna dressing-tartar

    The veal was perfectly prepared and, the sauce pushed this dish from pedestrian to superlative. Gaetano has a true knack for matching flavors and textures that few can match.

    "Tartara di Tre Colori su Indivia con Mostarda Dolce"
    Tuna, red snapper and salmon dressed with soy-lime and sweet mustard served over belgium endive

    One of the best dishes of the night—crisp, clean flavors of the fish paired with a dressing that really accented the fish nicely. The endive leaf served as a great vessel and offered a crunchy contrast to the diced cubes of fish.

    "Polpettine con Datteri al Cocco"
    Beef and chorizo galantine wrapped in a date and pancetta, roasted served over coconut-tomato sauce

    This dish is a regular offering on Gaetano’s menu and it paired nicely with the other appetizer offerings.

    "Calamari A'Matriciana"
    Calamari stuffed with oven dried tomatoes, onions and pancetta marmallade, taleggio cheese and served over aioli, drizzled with soy-lime, crystalized garlic and shaved pecorino cheese

    One of my favorite appetizers of the night. All of the components were distinctly present and worked in harmony with one another. The crystalized garlic was comparable to an illicit candy.

    "Tortino di Granchio, Aragosta e Gamberi di Fiume al Salto"
    Rice cake stuffed with crab, crawfish and lobster, pan seared and served with arugula and tomato trapanese

    When I first viewed the menu, this dish was my most anticipated, however, it was the only dish that I would call a miss. While all of the seafood components were present, their flavors were muted by the rice cake. We did appreciate the cold contrast of the tomato and arugula salad paired with the hot sear of the rice cake.

    "Panino al Manzo Tartufato e Fonduta"
    Truffled roasted beef sandwich drizzled with truffle au jus & topped with fontina fondue and fresh shaved truffle

    Gaetano’s interpretation of our ubiquitous Italian Beef sandwich. We’ve seen this dish make the occasional appearance on the special’s menu and it was quickly dispatched with fork and knife at the ready.

    "Raviolo Liquido al Tartufo e Porcini"
    Ravioli stuffed with black truffle-porcini mushroom broth, then sauteed with brown butter, sage and Parmigiano

    The best single bite of the night. A single plump ravioli with a liquid center of perfection. The ravioli was bathed in a light coating of brown butter and sage. Our server wisely advised us to consume this offering in a single bite. The ravioli exploded with flavor. I could have consumed a few more of these!

    "Risotto ai Funghi Selvaggi"
    Carnaroli rice tossed with assorted wild mushrooms, finished with Parmigiano and drizzled with Piemontese sauce

    Gaetano knows risotto.

    "Ravioli di Carne Donna Fugata Polenta e Mascarpone"
    Ravioli stuffed with beef short ribs, polenta and mascarpone, tossed with a ragout of mushrooms, artichokes, pancetta, sweet peas and donna fugata wine reduction with cream and parmigiano

    The second ravioli offering of the night was distinctly different from the earlier offering, but no less wonderful in taste or presentation. Gaetano personally delivered this dish to the table and guided us through the recipe and preparation of same. Every component of the ravioli worked and the wine reduction paired with the fresh sweet peas made this a dish to savor. Unfortunately, after consuming this dish, my date and I were both hitting our capacity and lamented that we should have foregone the bread and chick-pea dip that first hit the table.

    "Halibut in Agrodolce alla Siciliana Apparecchiata"
    Halibut sauteed in butter and thyme, lightly marinated in a white Sicilian caponata of eggplant, celery, capers, olives, sugar and vinegar

    I only had a single bite of the two generously portioned filets of halibut. The fish was expertly prepared and seasoned, and, yet again, it was the caponata that shined. The caponata was our “just one more bite” dish of the night before being dispatched to take-home containers along with the venison offering described below.

    "Valdostana di Cervo ai Funghi Porcini - Selvaggi e Fontina su Polenta e Ratatouille"
    Venison stuffed with porcini mushrooms and fontina sauteed with white wine sauce & served over polenta and ratatouille

    "Torta di Pane con Mele e Zenzero Creme Englaise"
    Brioche bread pudding accented with caramel, served with apple and ginger, drizzled with creme englaise

    "Torta di Cioccolato due Colori"
    Layers of white chocolate mousse, milk chocolate mousse and chocolate cake, drizzled with raspberry-rum bagna

    "Panino di Mandorle e Acqua di Rose con Lamponi e Chianti al Mascarpone"
    Almond-rose water cookie sandwich with raspberry-chianti jam and whipped mascarpone

    "Creme Caramel con Tapioca e Arance al Prosecco"
    Buttermilk creme caramel with tapioca-orange prosecco salad

    Because we did not want to enter full distress mode, we were only able to dispatch three of the dessert offerings. The clear winners were the crème caramel and the complex cookie plates with a serious nod to the fresh apple chiffonade accompanied by a simple caramel sauce . The generously portioned cake was a take-away for later consumption.

    It was great to see Gaetano in action between the kitchen and front of the house working the room with an earnest energy that leaves me in awe of this man and his talents. I’m already looking forward to December 31, 2013.
  • Post #98 - November 13th, 2013, 8:28 am
    Post #98 - November 13th, 2013, 8:28 am Post #98 - November 13th, 2013, 8:28 am
    We celebrated Thing2's birthday last night with his girlfriend, and had a fantastic meal with the so-called three-course "Gaetapas" menu. Disclosure: My cousin works there in the front of house; we did not receive any particular special treatment so far as I can tell.

    I say so-called three course, because it's antipasto, pasta and dessert, but the antipasto course was a seemingly-endless array of plates, and the pasta course was only barely larger than some of the antipasti. It's a very nice progression of small plates from delicate to hearty.

    Bread service was nice: tasty onion focaccia with a hummos-like bean spread that is richer tasting than most I've had.
    I'm sure I'm going to leave some antipasti out, but let's see what I can remember:
    * Carpaccio of yellow beet with toasted goat cheese. A nice first start, the beets are light and sweet
    * Carpaccio of kobe (should I say "kobe"?) beef with crystallized garlic and pumpkinseeds -- one of the big winners
    * Bufalo Mozzarella Panna Cotta on an eggplant puree with speck, pesto and balsamic -- another big winner
    * Dates stuffed with beef and chorizo, wrapped in pancetta -- a little meat-heavy, but delicious
    * Tempura squash blossoms stuffed with cheese in spicy tomato sauce -- another big winner
    * Tuna crudo with two sauces I can't remember (one pesto, one aioli, I think) -- tasty, but cut so thin the tuna lost texture
    * Asparagus-stuffed calamari tempura-fried then sliced -- a lot of fun, a great variation on calamari

    The pasta was a short rib-filled angolotti with a tomato mole sauce. Perfect texture, flavors unusual for Italian, with an overall impression of an enchilada or tamal -- nice kick to the sauce.

    Desserts included a pannetone bread pudding, a tiramisu in a flower pot, a fantastic almond semifreddo (the best ice cream I've had this year) covered in a flaming chocolate sauce, and a spoon of panna cotta with candied citrus rind and a drizzle of olive oil, which was also wonderful.

    Tuesdays they have a discount on the wine pairing with tasting menus, which was six (seven?) generous pours, starting with prosecco and finishing with big reds. Two of those kept our table quite refreshed (not normally white drinkers, some of the dry whites were a pleasant surprise)

    Overall, fantastic food, elegant presentations, terrific service... how do the Michelin boys keep missing this place?
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #99 - April 28th, 2014, 11:58 pm
    Post #99 - April 28th, 2014, 11:58 pm Post #99 - April 28th, 2014, 11:58 pm
    First visit to Gaetano's this year yielded some beautiful ingredients and balanced, artful preparations - Chef Gaetano was in the house, and as usual, his carpaccios and other antipasti received heightened attention on the plate, and I really don't think you can beat the pizzas when he offers them. The crust we had tonight put other recent entries in the city back on the shelf. And it's actually difficult to order the pizza when the house focaccia is that consistent and addicting, with the bean puree or the coconut-curry sauce from the dates to sop.

    With this preface, the good flavors were obliterated by a service experience so bizarre it could have been scripted for a sitcom. I can't possibly recapture the full litany, but the two central highlights were:

    - the main server brashly announcing she was "really good on wines, really good on cocktails," and then having no answers to any of the questions she forced us to ask her. (Example: "ask me about our super Tuscans." Ok, what makes them super Tuscans? "They're from a region of Italy called Tuscany." pause. "I don't know why they're super. One is a blend of 80% Montepulciano and 20% something else"). She then inserted herself into every casual table conversation she caught, gave us enough personal information to steal her identity, and delivered the main courses with several "I'll be right back with yours" staggers of five minutes. The lapses were excruciatingly highlighted by her aggressive, cloying confidence.

    - a secondary server delivering a ribeye to the table on a cast iron stand, one end of the steak literally ablaze. An intense aroma of cannabis encircled the table. "What...what are we doing with this steak," the recipient asked incredulously. "We're BURNING BAY LEAVES!" replied the server, channeling Grant Achatz via c. 1999 Scott Stapp. He then removed the on-fire herbs and fat with two oversized spoons to an inconvenient location under the stand, where he was unable to extinguish them. (Exact quote, hissing: "go out, damn you!") The steak itself continued to smolder until a charred crater was left behind. We considered it a sort of hearth to the bay leaf god.

    Laughing so hard that my sides hurt is one of the reasons I enjoy communal dining, but it's usually in conversation unrelated to the food. We tipped well for the pure entertainment value.
  • Post #100 - April 29th, 2014, 5:41 am
    Post #100 - April 29th, 2014, 5:41 am Post #100 - April 29th, 2014, 5:41 am
    Was just discussing the other day how I still hadn't tried this place. Perhaps I can sell it as a combination of great food and theater! Thanks for the laugh Santander.
  • Post #101 - November 24th, 2014, 10:26 am
    Post #101 - November 24th, 2014, 10:26 am Post #101 - November 24th, 2014, 10:26 am
    Was back here on Saturday evening for the tasting menu. Could possibly be better than ever. Didn't get any server entertainment, but the cross section of dishes/tastes/textures was impeccable.
  • Post #102 - September 17th, 2018, 2:25 pm
    Post #102 - September 17th, 2018, 2:25 pm Post #102 - September 17th, 2018, 2:25 pm
    I'm bumping this thread because we ate at Gaetano's on Sunday night -- we were in the area for a lecture at Dominican University (T-Bone Burnette!) and I realized I finally had an excuse to journey across the city to go to Gaetano's!

    I had been to La Piazza just once -- but I remember it as being one of the best meal s of my life. A former boss took me and it was divine. This time around, I went with my husband, who is a notoriously unadventurous eater. I was a bit worried about him but I figured something would work.

    I started with a Gumbo Mambo Italiano, which was a Shrimp bisque than had italian sausage in it as well as a big arancini, that was coated in sausage and resolved into delicious rice and cheese that complimented the spicy broth (and it was not level one spicy -- more like level 3) and cooled down your mouth. It was amazing, that soup. And I've gotta say -- a steal, price wise.

    For mains -- my husband got one of the specials -- two filets and a salmon filet with riccotta gnudi and two sauces. He practically licked the plate and as i said - -he's picky. I got lobster tagliatelle in an agro dolce cream sauce -- it was yummy but probably a bit more than I should have handled. And a little too dolce for me -- but that was my error -- not the Chef's.

    We had to leave so we didn't get to have dessert but we will be back. This place is a joy -- and I can't wait to do it again.
  • Post #103 - June 7th, 2020, 1:01 pm
    Post #103 - June 7th, 2020, 1:01 pm Post #103 - June 7th, 2020, 1:01 pm
    In an email, Chef Gaetano wrote:

    Changing with the Times

    Hello my friends,

    I hope this finds you all well as we navigate these difficult times. I thought you would like to know what is going on here at Gaetano’s lately. To be honest, it’s been pretty crappy!

    Many of you have been very generous by ordering your dinners or market items and purchasing gift certificates and we are extremely grateful for all of your support. That generosity has helped my staff and Gaetano’s restaurant and Market survive so far, but just barely. Now that Governor Pritzker has given permission for restaurants to serve in outside areas, with the indoor spaces opening in the near future, many places have opened their patios or added tents to accommodate their customers. As much as I love the idea of making Gaetano’s feel even more like we are in Sicily, we just do not have enough space for this. That will be another dream to hold on to for another time.

    So where does that leave us now? What is going on behind our new red doors? We are making big changes and finding new ways to survive so that someday the restaurant will open again. However, that won’t happen until I feel it is completely safe to serve you. I feel that you are all my friends and family and I do not want to risk your safety and health for a bowl of pasta. That it is equally true for my staff. Since there is no way to know when that will happen, we are rearranging and rethinking Gaetano’s. This means that some things will have to go. I have had to make a very difficult and truly heartbreaking decision. Preparing meals can no longer be a part of our service if we hope to survive, so the restaurant menu has had to be eliminated. I was so hoping to keep this part of Gaetano’s alive. It is our heart and soul but I have no choice at this time. We will survive and the restaurant will return again some day. Until then, our Gourmet Market will continue and we will be adding to that menu to make it even more delicious. You will find wonderful housemade salamis and sausages as well as fresh house made pastas and appetizers and more. The other big change is that we will be making pizza! We have a beautiful new pizza oven and I have a very special recipe developed that I think you will enjoy. I can’t wait for you to try it! Many of you have had our vegan, gluten free, carb free, vegetarian pizza and loved it. Oh, not to worry, we will also continue to serve our house made bottled cocktails and wine and cellos!
    Of course all of your Gaetano’s gift certificates will be honored at the market and in the pizza kitchen.

    We will have to close for a few days for all of the construction needed for these changes, but we will be back! We will look different, but you will still find the same attention to detail and the highest quality products that you have become accustomed to. I’ll be here too...after I take a long nap!

    Please watch our Facebook page and Instagram for updates on when we will reopen.
    My sincere apology for this sudden notice. It does seem to be the way of things these days. We just don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Thank you all again for the outpouring of love and support. We could not have made it this far without you! See you at the Gourmet Market and soon when you order pizza!

    With love and gratitude,

    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #104 - October 16th, 2020, 4:06 pm
    Post #104 - October 16th, 2020, 4:06 pm Post #104 - October 16th, 2020, 4:06 pm
    Gaetano's has officially reopened as Gaetano's Artisan Foods. House-made salami, sausage, bread, pizza, pasta, sauces, arancini. I have to say that it looks very promising. I can't think of a great comparison. Perhaps a more upscale Freddy's? Eataly distilled into a 500 sqft storefront? Regardless, it's nice to see a great restaurant like Gaetano's successfully able to reconcept, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves.
  • Post #105 - October 26th, 2020, 10:55 am
    Post #105 - October 26th, 2020, 10:55 am Post #105 - October 26th, 2020, 10:55 am
    I stopped by this weekend and think the Freddie's x Eataly comparison is apt. Lots of high-end Italian brands, good looking pizza, great looking cheeses. Meats and fresh pasta for sale as well. Sad that I can now buy good burrata in the neighborhood right after tomato season ended. I did splash out for one of the Norcine fresh black truffles. Not cheap at $25/oz but you can spend a lot more. Decent black truffle flavor, perhaps a little subtle compared to the best, but fun. The place was a bit of a zoo Saturday afternoon, so I didn't really get to linger and absorb it all, but I'll be back.
  • Post #106 - November 10th, 2020, 10:04 pm
    Post #106 - November 10th, 2020, 10:04 pm Post #106 - November 10th, 2020, 10:04 pm
    To get a sense of what the new Gaetano's Market is offering, here is a link to what is available for delivery (not sure of the delivery radius).

    The pizzas are excellent. Have tried the Frutti de Mare and Al Formaggi. Great crust. Was surprised how much I liked the Frutti de Mare. Really looking forward to trying the rest of the menu.
  • Post #107 - April 24th, 2021, 6:25 pm
    Post #107 - April 24th, 2021, 6:25 pm Post #107 - April 24th, 2021, 6:25 pm
    We made our first visit to the market version of Gaetano’s recently. There’s a lot to like here. If I lived in the neighborhood I would definitely be a frequent customer. The people working here definitely “get” customer service. We were made to feel very welcome and after letting them know it was our first time in the store Gaetano himself gave us the grand tour. Got a couple of his jarred sauces, some fresh rigatoni, fresh meatballs, a heat-and-serve macaroni and cheese with peas & prosciutto, and a spectacular bag of assorted Italian butter cookies. If the weather was warmer I would have bought more and invited friends over for an outdoor feast. Will definitely keep them in mind for Summer gatherings. I think it was a smart pivot and wish him and his staff well. Hope to see him reopen a restaurant someday too...
  • Post #108 - May 13th, 2021, 2:05 pm
    Post #108 - May 13th, 2021, 2:05 pm Post #108 - May 13th, 2021, 2:05 pm
    Gaetano's Market is now selling made-to-order sandwiches and has some outdoor seating available. Tried their house sub. It was pretty great. Both the bread and salumi were made in-house. I think the salumi they use for the sub depends on what they have available on any given day. Today I believe it was mortadella and porchetta. Also includes arugula, cherry tomatoes, and Gaetano's hot giardiniera. The sandwich is $16, but it is huge. Easily big enough to serve two. Highly recommended.
  • Post #109 - May 15th, 2021, 11:22 am
    Post #109 - May 15th, 2021, 11:22 am Post #109 - May 15th, 2021, 11:22 am
    I have been several times to the new market and both times I was seriously impressed. Some of the things we have tried so far:

    - fresh rigatoni with mushroom sauce
    - fresh fettucini with wild boar ragu
    - flat bread with onion
    - margarita pizza
    - smoked turkey deli-style
    - caprese sandwich
    - homemade breads
    - canoli
    - assorted cookies

    Everything was very fresh and delicious - easily better than anything I ever tried at Eataly. The fettucini with wild boar ragu was particularly nice, with an interesting sage underlining note to it. The flat bread was ridiculously addictive, although a tad bit too salty this time at least (I will surely try it again). And the caprese sandwich is now officially my favorite sandwich of the year - the bread super crispy with the homemade prosciutto adding an amazing mouthfeel and the pesto backing it up expertly. It is $16 but huge so definitely would really feed 2 people (better split it before you eat it or your co-eater might not get a chance). I am actually not a canoli fan because 9/10 times it is done poorly, but they got it right here and I would get it again.

    If you are having people over this would be a particularly good choice since there are so many options to get and it is easy to heat up quickly (except for the lasagna-type dishes which take more like 30-40 minutes). This is now my go to spot for Italian food, at least for now, superseding Freddy's since it is closer and just something new to try.

    Highly recommended.
    "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

    -Orson Welles-
  • Post #110 - May 25th, 2021, 2:56 pm
    Post #110 - May 25th, 2021, 2:56 pm Post #110 - May 25th, 2021, 2:56 pm
    Gaetano's has been great in every form over the years, and the current one I concede is no exception. The concession comes because I visited only once not long after it had first reopened in its new configuration, and at the time I thought it a little overpriced for what we got, especially considering what we got (pizza) isn't that hard to get. Today, however, my wife got the sub sandwich she'd heard people raving about, and man, what a sandwich! $16 gets you enough food for at least two people, a giant loaf of bread with an incredible array of perfectly balanced ingredients, with just the right amount of crunch, chew, bite and everything else you'd want in a huge sandwich. While my heart remains first and foremost with Freddy's comfort food, I love having this (even) higher quality option a little closer to home, and look forward to trying more things there in the months to come. Next up: that caprese sandwich!