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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 #61 - March 26th, 2011, 2:45 pm
    Post #61 - March 26th, 2011, 2:45 pm Post #61 - March 26th, 2011, 2:45 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:in addition to the usual menu you get a supplementary menu of fresh fish dishes and food preparation native to the chef's home town.


    I was and am glad for this, since it will hasten my return to Gaetano's; the standard menu is so rich, creative, and replete with fusion at this point it is somewhat overwhelming, especially with any frequency. The opportunity to go back for a simple Sicilian table soon actually heightens my appreciation for the meal we had last night, which was effervescent on the edge of giddy.

    We started with the Mediterranean salad, which was bitter and wonderful with a sharp balsamic, tender hearts of palm, generous ripe avocado, and a caprice of dry mango powder. Gaetano does carpaccii as good as they come no matter what the meat or vegetable, so I went for the carpaccio di kobe, which was a riot of flavors including crystallized garlic and ginger, pumpkin oil and seeds, dark soy, and citrus. The beef was remarkable (atavistic Kobe or not, DH will have to investigate) and perfectly prepared.

    There is a reason the $8 pizza margherita is an undescribed afterthought in the contorni section - if it was the menu lead, nobody would get past it, and their wood-fired oven would need to be exclusively devoted to it. Ours was an ideal Neapolitan pizza, elementally pure and cooked full distance. It was puffier and doughier throughout (though still extremely thin on the edges, a full "dome" effect) than my other favorites here in Chicago. I don't think Gaetano would be happy if I ducked in only to order this out (or at the counter starting into the oven) every week for the rest of the year.

    Pastas were over the top - excellently cut and cooked gnocchi and pappardelle in larger portions than I remember, and oddly rimmed with anthills of powdered spice mixes, whether intended for dredging or bouquet I'm not sure. My wife's squash gnocchi in a short rib and mushroom ragout had little mounds of very piquant cayenne, and was successful if meaty. My wild boar pappardelle featured beans, chunky mirepoix, and piles of fivespice. It smelled like Asian cinnamon toast and ate like chili mac, and if I can't make that sound remotely appealing, you'll have to trust that it was still entertainingly edible, if not quite in the given quantity.

    I love these Fuji-Etna pyrotechnics from time to time, but will be back again sooner for the traditional fare the new menu offers (plus a pizza). Service was friendly as usual and the place was packed and loud, so Gaetano seems to be on the right wavelength with his visitors these days.
  • Post #62 - September 7th, 2011, 7:05 pm
    Post #62 - September 7th, 2011, 7:05 pm Post #62 - September 7th, 2011, 7:05 pm
    I don't do a lot of "fine dining" but my wife Rachel and I have tried several new places over the past couple of years mostly due to Groupon.

    Crofton's on Wells was my number 1 dining experience for a long time. Brunch at Signature Room was great for the all you can eat seafood and the view. Bistro 110 was a good experience. Last night may have edged them all out.

    I took Rache to Gaetano's at the suggestion of our neighbor. Our neighbors know Gaetano from cooking classes they've taken from him and just from going to his restaurants over the years.

    We opted for the "Chef's Choice." I told them I'm lactose intollerant so they worked around that for me.

    They started with Carpaccio di bresaola - Bresaola della Valtellina carpaccio topped with arugula, shaved parmigiano and roasted blue oyster mushrooms, drizzled with citronette.

    They made me a seperate plate of this so I could enjoy it without the cheese. The carpaccio was at the bottom and seemed sort of like a prosciutto but I think it might have been beef not ham. The most interesting thing about this dish was the oyster mushrooms. It took me a while to figure out the nutty flavor I was getting and realized it was sunflower seeds. I asked the waiter, Dave, if they used sunflower oil in the dressing but he said that was just the mushrooms flavor. Good start.

    Next was Carpaccio di barbabietole - Yellow & red beets roasted in the wood-burning oven, sliced carpaccio style and drizzled with champagne vinaigrette, paired with mache greens, topped with fried goat cheese

    They put the goat cheese on the side for others to use. I've never had a beet before that I liked. Even at Crofton's she served us some beet appetizer that I took one bite of and gave the rest to Rachel. This one surprised me. It was sweet and the beets were mild and it was actually pretty damn tasty. This would be my least favorite dish of the night and I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

    Next up Carpaccio di kobe con salsa piccante - Pan-seared kobe beef served with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, crystallized garlic, pumpkin oil and Calabrian pepper paste and soy-lime vinaigrette served with garlic crostini

    This beef was sooo tender and was a perfect rare. The crostini bread that came with it was tasty as well. It had cheese on it but I had some anyway. This dish was just fantastic.

    They strayed a bit from their regular menu items at this point bringing out pan seared scallops dusted with cocoa with a sardine on top. There was more to it than that I think but the sweet from the cocoa and salty from the sardine just worked so well with this. I don't typically like sardines but I dove into this. It was by far the most tender scallop I've ever eaten. It practically melted in your mouth. Best scallop I've eaten by quite a large margin. The sardine and cocoa complemented each other really well.

    Then came the Foie Gras - I've never eaten Foie Gras before and have never been inclined to try it. But, since they put it down in front of us I figured what the heck? This was surprisingly good to me! It was like little balls of fat that just melted on your tongue. They were served with halved figs mixed in and the combination of flavors was out of this world. I want to try foie gras again somewhere just to see how it compares. This was amazing.

    Dave told us "this will be the last appetizer" as he served us Calamari ripieni al Porto Rosa -Tempura-fried calamari rolled with asparagus, topped with sun-dried tomato spicy shrimp sauce, served with soy-lime citronette and borlotti aioli.

    I couldn't believe this was calamari when I bit into it. Much like the scallop it was the tenderest I've ever had. The tempura batter was thin and crunchy and came across almost like bacon. Holy yum!

    At this point our neighbor, Doug asked us which dish was our favorite so far. I really couldn't decide, the beef, the foie gras, the scallop, the tempura...I just couldn't pick a favorite out of those, still can't.

    Dave asked me if I could tolerate a bit of butter and heavy cream in the next dish. He said the chef wanted to make this for us and he didn't want to deprive the others. I said "lets do this thing" He came back with a mostacholi type of noodle dish tossed in butter and heavy cream. Dave shaved a black truffel over the top of this. That truffel really set this dish off. Really really good stuff.

    Along with that came
    Ai frutti di mare rossa - Assortment of: calamari, scallops, mussels and shrimp sauteed with garlic, E.V.O.OIL, white wine, herbs and tomato sauce

    They used squid instead of shrimp in this dish and the mussels were still in the shells giving it a great presentation (like everything else.)

    Again the mussels and the squid were the most tender I've ever eaten. Usually there's at least a bit of rubberiness to them. Not the case here, they just melted in your mouth. I was really stunned when I realized I was eating squid and couldn't tell that at first because the texture was so smooth. The rissoto they served this over had a great texture as well.

    Next came a Tilapia dish served with some kind of sauce over it with capers mixed in. The capers really set this dish off. Definitely the best tilapia I've ever eaten. He took that fish to new heights imo.

    Along with that came a plate of braised beef short ribs. These had a pumpkin type paste/sauce over the top of them. I literally had to laugh to myself when they put this down in front of us. I smoked short ribs on Monday and had them for dinner that night. At the same time I was smoking I braised a batch as well and we're having those tonight. So, short ribs 3 nights in a row I guess. :lol: These were tasty. I'd like to know how to make their paste/sauce but the rib itself was a bit fattier than the ones I made Monday. Still a really good portion.

    Next up came dessert. First they brought a lemony custardy kind of thing on individual spoons. It was a single bite and very tasty.

    Next they brought a platter with 3 items;

    Torta di Cioccolato con Gelato al burro di Noccioline - Chocolate flourless cake with gianduia semifreddo & raspberry coulis. This looked like it would be dry but was very moist and delicious.

    Tiramisu - Layers of cookies dipped in coffee, flavored with Kahlua and Amaretto with marscapone cream and cocoa. This is served in a small flower pot with a fake flower sticking out. I can't eat much of this but what I had was fantastic.

    Last was a strawberry sorbet which was delicious.

    Rache and my neighbors stuck to wine all night and I had a couple of chocolate cherry martinis that complemented the meal really well. Everything we ate was nothing short of fantastic. The service was amazing and personable.

    Once we paid the bill (actually my neighbors picked up the tab) Dave came back over with a bottle of limoncello (which I've never had before) that they make in house with grain alcohol. He put down 5 small flute shot glasses and poured a shot for each of us and himself. We all toasted a great night together and chatted a bit about Forest Park as we're all locals. Dave poured us another shot and excused himslef to the kitchen.

    We lingered a bit to let the food digest and called it a night. The whole meal lasted over 3 hours and thinking about it more I believe it was the best dining experience I've ever had. Just fantastic from top to bottom.

    Sorry this is long and sort of comes across as gushing but man I just had a great meal and experience there last night. My wife said it was her best birthday ever. I told her "Now you know where I want to go for MY birthday." :lol:
  • Post #63 - September 8th, 2011, 10:03 am
    Post #63 - September 8th, 2011, 10:03 am Post #63 - September 8th, 2011, 10:03 am
    gorack wrote:Dave asked me if I could tolerate a bit of butter and heavy cream in the next dish. He said the chef wanted to make this for us and he didn't want to deprive the others. I said "lets do this thing" He came back with a mostacholi type of noodle dish tossed in butter and heavy cream. Dave shaved a black truffel over the top of this. That truffel really set this dish off. Really really good stuff.


    FYI, that is the "Chef's Delight" pasta, and is supposedly Gaetano's favorite pasta preparation.

    Sounds like you had the full run through of the place. I'm jealous. Gaetano's, for my money, is the top Italian restaurant in Chicago.
  • Post #64 - September 8th, 2011, 11:35 am
    Post #64 - September 8th, 2011, 11:35 am Post #64 - September 8th, 2011, 11:35 am
    Just curious if you were eating in Gaetano's or Ristorantino Meditarraneo (which is in the back).
  • Post #65 - September 8th, 2011, 11:54 am
    Post #65 - September 8th, 2011, 11:54 am Post #65 - September 8th, 2011, 11:54 am
    Gaetano's. We're going to check out the back place some other time.
  • Post #66 - September 8th, 2011, 12:42 pm
    Post #66 - September 8th, 2011, 12:42 pm Post #66 - September 8th, 2011, 12:42 pm
    Pretty sure he's simply incorporated Ristorantino Meditarraneo into the regular menu. That is, there is only one menu, just a bigger one.
  • Post #67 - February 19th, 2012, 8:37 am
    Post #67 - February 19th, 2012, 8:37 am Post #67 - February 19th, 2012, 8:37 am
    We had an excellent dinner at Gaetano's last night.

    I started with the Calamari Fritti which has not changed from the photo above. This was perfectly done - expertly fried. Jonathan had the Crabcakes, which have changed a bit from Ronnie's photo above. They were on the daily specials menu, served on polenta and had a nice spicy kick.

    We shared an arugula salad with hearts of palm, avocado, aged balsamic, and shaved Parmesan. Very fresh and a nice precursor to the mains.

    Entrees were the Risotto al Limone e Spinaci con Capesante for me and a special of house-made ravioli stuffed with seafood mousseline and served with roasted cherry tomatoes for Jonathan. The lemon sauce drizzled on the risotto was in perfect harmony with the spinach and scallops. Portion was so generous I have enough for lunch today. We both thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful presentation of the dishes, the obvious care that was put into their preparation, and the freshness and flavor that shined through.

    Foccacia and garbanzo dip - still wonderful.

    We finished by sharing the Apple Pie Gelato - a generous scoop of house-made apple-spice gelato with crumbled cinnamon-sugar cookies atop.

    We didn't see the Chef, but our server was very knowlegeable of the menu, attentive, and friendly. All & all, well worth the trip to Forest Park!
  • Post #68 - April 30th, 2012, 11:10 pm
    Post #68 - April 30th, 2012, 11:10 pm Post #68 - April 30th, 2012, 11:10 pm
    A remarkable meal at Gaetano's this weekend consisted of a salumi offering, the tuna carpaccio (with searingly hot peppers, wonderful), salmon in mama's tomato sauce (her international phone number is on the menu if you're disappointed), and a paella pan-sized portion of impossibly light breaded veal cutlets over salsa crudo.

    But let me tell you about that piatto del salumiere, on the current specials menu. Any lament that last year's Neapolitan pizza is currently absent is instantly erased by the bomba, a gently deflating dome of delicious dough straight from the stone, and served next to a romaine rack laden with some of the best speck I've had, intensely earthy and porcine. A separate divided plate contains artichokes, wonderful olives, confit tomatoes with small burrata pillows, and two slabs of perfectly savory foie gras terrine. Everything in this paragraph together was $14, and almost substantial enough for a meal for two along with the house focaccia. I can imagine the offering varies by night, but it's in keeping with the best tradition of generosity of Chef Gaetano, who was in house and smiling.
  • Post #69 - April 30th, 2012, 11:40 pm
    Post #69 - April 30th, 2012, 11:40 pm Post #69 - April 30th, 2012, 11:40 pm
    We went for the full tasting menu at the chef's counter a few weeks ago. Our first tasting menu experience here.

    After encountering a small but annoying problem on our previous visit (Gaetano was not there that night), we returned when he was in-house and had a wonderful time.

    We mentioned we loved seafood and fish and he really focused on those elements. His carpaccios are a lot of fun and it's interesting to see him just whip some up on a whim. Three hours, several glasses of wine and 15 dishes later and we were just barely able to stumble out.

    I think next time we will try the Gaetapas and stick to the eight apps plus pasta and dessert to get the job done.

    As an aside, I absolutely love Gaetano's wine buyer (I always forget her name!) and she's really something special. She wasn't even our server that night but she kept stopping by and talking to us because we have had her previously. She even surprised us with a fantastic (and out of no where) prosecco to go with our fried asparagus course about halfway through.
  • Post #70 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:50 pm
    Post #70 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:50 pm Post #70 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:50 pm
    Had the Cinco de Mayo tasting tonight.
    just amazing!!!!
    Geatano is an artist.
  • Post #71 - May 4th, 2012, 11:09 am
    Post #71 - May 4th, 2012, 11:09 am Post #71 - May 4th, 2012, 11:09 am
    DITTO!
  • Post #72 - May 4th, 2012, 11:38 am
    Post #72 - May 4th, 2012, 11:38 am Post #72 - May 4th, 2012, 11:38 am
    What, pray tell, is on the Cinco de Mayo menu? Share a highlight.
  • Post #73 - May 4th, 2012, 11:56 am
    Post #73 - May 4th, 2012, 11:56 am Post #73 - May 4th, 2012, 11:56 am
    For someone who is such a big fan, you really should get on their mailing list :D

    This was from the email they sent this week and last... and now that I check the email again, they are offering this menu again tomorrow:

    "Taco con carnitas alla maniera di Gaetano"
    Carnitas of fresh pork served over a taco with mango, tomatoes, Serrano peppers, soy-lime, squacquerone cheese and polled sweet red onions

    "Pozole"
    Traditional Mexican pork and chili soup with white corn but Gaetano is using Indian technique to enhance the flavor, served with cabbage, onion, tortilla chips and spicy sauce

    "Taco di pesce"
    Tilapia marinated in chili brine and roasted served over a corn taco with roasted pineapple, vanilla-chipotle sauce, lettuce, onions, cilantro and marinated tomato relish

    "Pizza Don Jose"
    Flour tortilla topped with beef and chorizo braised with chili, drizzled with mole, squacquerone cheese, romaine, jalapeño, chihuahua cheese

    "Ravioli alla Paco"
    Ravioli stuffed with polenta, beans and beef confit served with tomato mole topped with guacamole and squacquerone cheese

    "Tostadas con carpaccio di salmone al chipotle"
    Tostada topped with salmon carpaccio dressed with chipotle-soy lime, romaine, sour cream and home smoked cumin powder

    "Dulce de leche"
    Traditional but with our own twist

    Mexican-Italian Margaritas to Accompany as Well!
  • Post #74 - May 4th, 2012, 12:03 pm
    Post #74 - May 4th, 2012, 12:03 pm Post #74 - May 4th, 2012, 12:03 pm
    TCK wrote:For someone who is such a big fan, you really should get on their mailing list :D


    Thanks for the details! They don't need me on their mailing list to get me to go, but my hope is that this may entice some others here who might only otherwise hear it from me. :wink:
  • Post #75 - May 4th, 2012, 12:17 pm
    Post #75 - May 4th, 2012, 12:17 pm Post #75 - May 4th, 2012, 12:17 pm
    You're welcome :D

    They did a French fusion a couple weeks ago I think, but I can't remember... sounds like both were wildly successful and there may be more in store for the future. They seem to be on Thursday when Gaetapas is $40 a person instead of $50.

    I really need a separate email for all of my mailing list/groupon/living social emails I get every day/week...
  • Post #76 - May 16th, 2012, 9:02 pm
    Post #76 - May 16th, 2012, 9:02 pm Post #76 - May 16th, 2012, 9:02 pm
    I'm embarrassed to admit that I've lived around the corner since Gaetano's opened, but didn't get there until last weekend. What a mistake. I went to La Scarola a few days afterwards and kept thinking how the food and wine (not to mention the restrooms :D )were both roughly a thousand times better at Gaetano's.

    Everything was terrific, but the highlights were the carpaccio di kobe from the regular menu and this scallop with short ribs. Image
    Even better than it looks. We brought the bone home for the dog and he was so happy I couldn't even get him to leave it long enough for his evening walk.

    What a treasure! What a Great Neighborhood Restaurant!
  • Post #77 - May 29th, 2012, 10:49 am
    Post #77 - May 29th, 2012, 10:49 am Post #77 - May 29th, 2012, 10:49 am
    Ann Fisher wrote: scallop with short ribs.


    If you ask nicely, he'll replace the toast with his amazing risotto. :D

    Love the restaurant. Amazing chef and food, phenomenal service and staff.
  • Post #78 - June 30th, 2012, 1:00 pm
    Post #78 - June 30th, 2012, 1:00 pm Post #78 - June 30th, 2012, 1:00 pm
    Last night (too late!) but also tonight:

    Dear Friends,

    Happy 4th of July! We will be closed for some remodeling July 1st through July 8th......

    Stay cool and dine inside....and treat yourself to Gaetano's today and tomorrow! Chef's Choice Only $57 Per Person! Today, June 29th and tomorrow, June 30th, Gaetano is offering Chef's Choice for only $57.00 (normally $70.00)! Chef's Choice is a 4 course meal, comprised of 6 appetizers, risotto and pasta, meat and fish and an assorted dessert tray. As always, Gaetano will accomodate all dietary restrictions and our normal menu will be offered.


    Also, Next-fans:

    Stay tuned for a summer Sicilian Menu, coming soon at Gaetano's! As many of you know, Gaetano was born in the lush coastal town of Bagheria Sicily. Join our mailing list to find out when the Sicilian Menu will be offered....
  • Post #79 - July 14th, 2012, 9:56 pm
    Post #79 - July 14th, 2012, 9:56 pm Post #79 - July 14th, 2012, 9:56 pm
    Tonight I ate my first meal at Gaetano's. I have been here in Chicago since '83 and I think I've pretty much eaten everywhere I was told I should eat--the Zagat's, LTH Forum and Eater 38 lists, for example, plus the usual suspects like--Charlie Trotter's, the Everest Room and Tru, all the big-name steakhouses, etc.--and as I drove home from dinner I thought, wow!, this is one of the best meals I've ever had in Chicago, and it really was, and certainly, if hindsight's a little fuzzy or at least the wrong way to do something like this, at least it is among the three best meals I can recall, the other two being my first meal at anteprima and a balls-out anniversary dinner at Boka. We did the tasting menu tonight, and I'm still trying to figure out how we got so much for the fixed price. It had to be a loss for the restaurant. We had plate after plate of the most tantalizing dishes. None of them were even slightly hum-drum, they were all out of the park. Anyway, I had seen this place on the LTH Forum award list, I was a skeptic (I wasn't even sure where Forest Park was), and I am a skeptic no more. Highly, highly recommended!!
  • Post #80 - August 20th, 2012, 6:03 pm
    Post #80 - August 20th, 2012, 6:03 pm Post #80 - August 20th, 2012, 6:03 pm
    After reading many of the reviews here, and seeing that Gaetano's was a GNR winner, I was excited that an opportunity arose to trek to Forest Park and try the place over the weekend.

    Most of the menu items featured multiple proteins. Thoughts of the short rib and scallop from Spring started to float through my head and I was eager to see how they composed the dishes.

    Appetizer described as scallops and shredded duck was a let down. The dish was a mound of polenta topped with shredded duck and mushrooms. The scallops appeared to be sliced thin and mixed in with the duck and mushrooms, rendering them invisible to the eye and to the palette. They might as well not have been there. Decent as polenta with duck mushroom ragu, but the scallops left me scratching my head.

    My wife's main was the stuffed salmon with crabcake. The dish that appeared was a piece of salmon, covered with a 1/2 inch crabcake, and topped with a scallop. The salmon was also stuffed with spinach. (The standard prep also included goat cheese, which they omitted at the wife's request.) The result was a disjointed dish that felt more like someone went nuts at a buffet than something that was composed by a chef. Again, tasted ok, but nothing special.

    My main was the skirt steak and duck breast. Both proteins were perfectly cooked, but again, it was more like two entrees got put on the plate than an intentional combination.

    A final note on the food before I digress. We spent the rest of the evening chugging water to quench our unending thirst brought on by serious salting of all the food.

    After tasting the food, I didn't think the experience could get stranger. Oh, how wrong I was.

    As I was working my way through the steak and duck entree, I suddenly sensed a burning in my eyes and saw a very odd look come over my wife's face. I looked down to see my plate covered (yes, covered, I'm not taking any literary license here) with dirt, my wine glass filled with dirt, and a moderately sized cactus just to the left of my plate. A wall fixture containing a plant had fallen and landed on my head, a la getting slimed on an old Nickelodeon TV show. I wasn't hurt, and since it was a cactus, the dirt was dry, so no enduring physical harm done to me or my clothes.

    After figuring out what happened, I made my way to the bathroom to try to remove the dirt from my hair and clothes, while the clean up crew started removing any evidence of the landslide. A replacement glass of wine was waiting when I returned. About 10 minutes later, a new entree was brought out by the chef, who made sure to let me know that he left the dirt off to the side on this one, apparently his idea of a joke. After dinner, the waiter appeared with limoncello in another attempt to make nice. Had he asked, he would have learned that none of us drink liquor.

    It seems to me that it was dumb luck (for me and for the restaurant) that there was no serious injury or other damage. I can also easily see where any number of people would have had a meltdown over having a potted plant dumped on their head, and perhaps a smaller number who would see the opportunity for a payday through an actual or threatened lawsuit. Luckily for the restaurant, I had a (limited) sense of humor about it.

    I get that this was a rather bizarre one-off event, but its exactly those events that present opportunities for businesses not only recover, but create raving fans. It also seems to me that if there ever was a good time for a restaurant to comp anything, this situation was probably it. Instead, we got a a bad joke from the chef and a glass of limoncello than no one asked for or wanted. The staff here failed completely in their recovery.

    Mediocre food, way too much salt, questionable judgement among the staff. Great Neighborhood Restaurant - I don't see it and won't be back.
  • Post #81 - September 19th, 2012, 3:16 pm
    Post #81 - September 19th, 2012, 3:16 pm Post #81 - September 19th, 2012, 3:16 pm
    It had been a while (aka way too long) since my last visit to Gaetano's but dinner there last Friday was as good as ever. It's still as true as ever that Gaetano can really cook. The occasion was more social than anything else, so I didn't bring my camera or take many notes but 4 of us had the Chef ’s Choice Tasting menu, which is billed as 4 courses. Counting dessert, we were actually served 5 courses and each course consisted of at least 2 dishes, served family-style. There wasn't a clunker in the bunch. Highlights included Scallops and White Beans, Risotto with Shrimp, Rigatoni with Sausage, Mushrooms and Tomato Cream Sauce, Skate Wing stuffed with Crab and wrapped in Salmon Carpaccio served with Mango Salsa and Braised Short Ribs. The food here is always delicious, inventive and distinctive. Everything was cooked so perfectly, especially the fish and seafood, which too often suffer from overcooking. That's not the case at Gaetano's where bold flavors and a delicate hand coexist harmoniously.

    Service, provided by Dave, was intuitive and stellar. The 4 of us started with a round of cocktails and while we sipped them and chatted, he kept his eye on us, but never intruded. As our glasses reached bottom, he came by right on time and offered us another round. When that round was about half-gone -- about 30 or so minutes after we were initially seated -- he came by again and asked us if we were ready to order. His timing and his manner could not have been more polished. He enhanced our dining experience tremendously and helped ease us from Friday afternoon clusterf*ck into easy-going weekend mode.

    All in all, it was another great dining experience and one that drove home the point that I need to make Gaetano's a much more regular stop.

    =R=
    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 #82 - September 20th, 2012, 1:00 pm
    Post #82 - September 20th, 2012, 1:00 pm Post #82 - September 20th, 2012, 1:00 pm
    I was really glad that Dave was our server on our first visit to Gaetano's last year. He really does help enhance an already fantastic dining experience.
  • Post #83 - September 23rd, 2012, 9:33 pm
    Post #83 - September 23rd, 2012, 9:33 pm Post #83 - September 23rd, 2012, 9:33 pm
    We were there again recently for a family birthday. Everything was delicious, though we over-ordered so that by the time our main courses came all we could do was take a taste and ask to have it wrapped up. But two data points. One: we ordered a gluten-free pasta. I don't know what they're using, but it was as good as any pasta I've ever had. Two: one of the dessert specials was an almond semifreddo with a chocolate rum sauce that was flamed at the table. If it's on the menu when you're there, order it!
  • Post #84 - October 14th, 2012, 12:52 am
    Post #84 - October 14th, 2012, 12:52 am Post #84 - October 14th, 2012, 12:52 am
    My bride and I spent two weeks in Italy sampling foods from some of the best restaurants we could find. We soon realized that the best authentic Italian food we have ever eaten is in Forest Park, IL at Gaetanos.
  • Post #85 - November 28th, 2012, 2:21 pm
    Post #85 - November 28th, 2012, 2:21 pm Post #85 - November 28th, 2012, 2:21 pm
    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. Whenever I have doubts about descriptions of Gaetano's offerings, I am almost always rewarded in a great way, and, this dish was no exception. Two hefty scallops, grilled to perfection atop a Poblano crema that looked like a sheet of pasta served with sliced slivers of pear and micro-greens. It was heaven on a plate. We also enjoyed a Carpaccio of Kobe Beef with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds which was very good.

    For mains we shared a venison scallopine and a ravioli stuffed with beef short rib, mascarpone and polenta which was lathered in a foie gras butter. The pasta and stuffing were incredibly flavorful and while I enjoyed the foie gras butter, it offered a richness which prevented me from finishing the plate. I left with three generously sized ravioli which made a very rich dessert offering prior to bed. We enjoyed a bottle of Tola Nero d'Avao with dinner.

    We also were able to enjoy the last remaining dessert special of the day--an apple crumble which was served with fresh blackberries and a very nice caramel gelato. A very nice rendition of a traditional seasonal dessert.

    Gaetano's will continue to be my go-to restaurant when I want to indulge in great food, service and ambiance.
  • Post #86 - November 28th, 2012, 4:21 pm
    Post #86 - November 28th, 2012, 4:21 pm Post #86 - November 28th, 2012, 4:21 pm
    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?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #87 - November 28th, 2012, 6:11 pm
    Post #87 - November 28th, 2012, 6:11 pm Post #87 - November 28th, 2012, 6:11 pm
    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.
  • Post #88 - November 28th, 2012, 6:20 pm
    Post #88 - November 28th, 2012, 6:20 pm Post #88 - November 28th, 2012, 6:20 pm
    Would Gaetano's be conducive to an LTH dinner?
    I've never been and unfortunately no one in my family would be interested in going. I'd love to set up an event if there was any interest.
  • Post #89 - November 28th, 2012, 6:23 pm
    Post #89 - November 28th, 2012, 6:23 pm Post #89 - November 28th, 2012, 6:23 pm
    zoid wrote:Would Gaetano's be conducive to an LTH dinner?
    I've never been and unfortunately no one in my family would be interested in going. I'd love to set up an event if there was any interest.

    I'm in a bit of the same boat, so if you set up an LTH dinner, I would love to attend (assuming a workable date).
  • Post #90 - November 28th, 2012, 6:51 pm
    Post #90 - November 28th, 2012, 6:51 pm Post #90 - November 28th, 2012, 6:51 pm
    I'd also be interested. I've only been once and it was less than great because the chef was not in the house that night. I'd love to go again to expeience it at its best.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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