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Sabatino's, Strolling Musicians and BBQ [Pictures]

Sabatino's, Strolling Musicians and BBQ [Pictures]
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  • Post #91 - September 17th, 2011, 8:59 am
    Post #91 - September 17th, 2011, 8:59 am Post #91 - September 17th, 2011, 8:59 am
    aschie30 wrote:You either get Sabatino's or you don't.

    I don't think that's quite it--and agree with those who post that the place hits a home run on some dishes while striking out on others they have absolutely no business striking out on.

    I get, and love, Sabatino's for everything that it is, and have felt that way for 30 years. The Zuppa di Mare on a visit about a year ago was among the best I've had--shellfish, sauce and pasta all standout. But the Veal Marsala on a subsequent visit was ordinary-to-worse; veal lacking in flavor, swimming in a brown, gloppy, oversweet mess of a sauce. Hence, I don't think the blame is on RAB for "not getting" the place or for ordering the wrong things (as JeffB suggested). If Veal Marsala at a place like Sabatino's is "the wrong thing," there's a problem.
  • Post #92 - September 17th, 2011, 1:37 pm
    Post #92 - September 17th, 2011, 1:37 pm Post #92 - September 17th, 2011, 1:37 pm
    I've always wanted to try Sabatino's, but now I'm afraid I might not "get it".

    Just to clarify: I should only consider visiting between Sunday - Wednesday, I should avoid items that are obviously "off-course" in an Italian American joint (such as minestrone and veal parm), I should dismiss my views on what I like in a salad; and, if I don't like it, I've done something wrong? Now I'm kinda nervous. WWPBD?

    I kid, I kid. This discussion has actually been entertaining and helpful.
  • Post #93 - September 17th, 2011, 3:36 pm
    Post #93 - September 17th, 2011, 3:36 pm Post #93 - September 17th, 2011, 3:36 pm
    Enzo and Angelo are born and raised Toscani from Pisa. Some of the misunderstanding about what "should" be good versus what is can be explained by folks' common notion coming in that it's a Southern/Sicilian-American "red sauce joint." It is not.

    They shine in some unexpected places, as documented above. The grouper, for example, is a subtle, complex prep of a very good piece of fish, for example.
  • Post #94 - September 17th, 2011, 3:53 pm
    Post #94 - September 17th, 2011, 3:53 pm Post #94 - September 17th, 2011, 3:53 pm
    Jeff,

    As I said, I was kidding around, but I guess I'm not that funny.

    As Italian as Enzo and Angelo are, Sabatino's could surely be classified as an Italian American restaurant and there's nothing at all wrong with that. Chicken Vesuvio, Baked Alaska, the salad, etc. have all been lauded as strengths, but I'm quite certain these are not Pisani specialties.

    I honestly want to go there even more after this discussion. I will try to refrain from being a smart alec.
  • Post #95 - September 17th, 2011, 4:51 pm
    Post #95 - September 17th, 2011, 4:51 pm Post #95 - September 17th, 2011, 4:51 pm
    I didn't mean to be too serious myself. Sorry. Sabatino's is a very old fashioned place in most ways. I just meant to point out that typical red sauce stuff isn't the focus.
  • Post #96 - September 17th, 2011, 5:38 pm
    Post #96 - September 17th, 2011, 5:38 pm Post #96 - September 17th, 2011, 5:38 pm
    All in good fun. Just perused the menu. Looking forward to my first visit!! Thanks for the tips.
  • Post #97 - September 17th, 2011, 7:12 pm
    Post #97 - September 17th, 2011, 7:12 pm Post #97 - September 17th, 2011, 7:12 pm
    My wife and I really enjoy Sabatino's, perhaps in a semi-ironic kind of way, e.g. the floppy blue cheese dressing, the ginormous portions, the old school servers (and patrons), the stereotypically cheesy decor. That said, the food itself is good (if not great), Italian-American food. On an objective basis, you can get better food of this ilk elsewhere around Chicago (and in the suburbs) - Rose Angelis (a place that might not get as much love as Sabatino's on this board) is a good example; however, at these other restaurants, you don't get the same "experience" that makes an evening at Sabatino's so much fun.

    I am reminded of "Check, Please" where many episodes feature "red sauce" Italian-American joints (including Sabatino's itself) that are beloved by the guests who choose them. I've been to several of these places shown on the program and found them to be OK but not much different from other such establishments - which is actually a testament to the general high quality of Italian-American food in Chicagoland. Sabatino's food may not be "outstanding", but the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
  • Post #98 - September 18th, 2011, 7:15 am
    Post #98 - September 18th, 2011, 7:15 am Post #98 - September 18th, 2011, 7:15 am
    ld111134 wrote: On an objective basis, you can get better food of this ilk elsewhere around Chicago (and in the suburbs) - Rose Angelis (a place that might not get as much love as Sabatino's on this board) is a good example.


    I haven't been to Sabatino's in a couple of years because my wife hates it and I think the food is OK at best. But I am participating in this thread anyway because I can't pass up an opportunity to say that Rose Angelis is the absolute worst restaurant in the history of earth, and every time its name is invoked my whole body shudders with the thought that I might someday have to set foot in there again.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #99 - September 18th, 2011, 9:19 am
    Post #99 - September 18th, 2011, 9:19 am Post #99 - September 18th, 2011, 9:19 am
    Rose Angelis is the absolute worst restaurant in the history of earth, and every time its name is invoked my whole body shudders with the thought that I might someday have to set foot in there again.


    Seconded, with less fervor.
    It isn't that I'm not full...
  • Post #100 - September 18th, 2011, 9:45 am
    Post #100 - September 18th, 2011, 9:45 am Post #100 - September 18th, 2011, 9:45 am
    Like true love, a great mystery novel and looking in the mirror in the morning Sabatino's requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief to truly appreciate. If ever you glimpsed my morning mirror you'd know s-d is a strength.

    Sabitinos, count me a fan.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #101 - September 18th, 2011, 10:34 am
    Post #101 - September 18th, 2011, 10:34 am Post #101 - September 18th, 2011, 10:34 am
    [flickrvid][/flickrvid]
    Kennyz wrote:
    ld111134 wrote: On an objective basis, you can get better food of this ilk elsewhere around Chicago (and in the suburbs) - Rose Angelis (a place that might not get as much love as Sabatino's on this board) is a good example.


    Rose Angelis is the absolute worst restaurant in the history of earth, and every time its name is invoked my whole body shudders with the thought that I might someday have to set foot in there again.


    Wow, I went back in the archives and saw your loathing of Rose Angelis. All I can say is that my wife and I had a good meal there back in July. Was is great or especially memorable? No , but it was fine.

    I agree with Gary - you need to suspend disbelief when visiting Sabatino's and appreciate it for the time-warp that it is, kind of like going to a Wisconsin supper club.
  • Post #102 - December 5th, 2011, 9:20 am
    Post #102 - December 5th, 2011, 9:20 am Post #102 - December 5th, 2011, 9:20 am
    JimInLoganSquare wrote:Seriously, it sounds like maybe you were there on a very off night for what is really one of the finest kitchens in the city. Try going back on a Sunday through Wednesday night, and you will likely have a much better experience.


    When this came up a few months back, I was tempted to reply. Not having had been to Sabatino's in a while, I felt not fully qualified to address this statement, even though my feeling at the time was, "are you sure that's what you mean...finest...kitchen..." I always liked Sabatino's, but finest?

    Well, now I've been to Sabatino's recently. We went for a festive occasion, and really, I had no expectation I would make my reply. When the choice came up of Sabatino's for the affair, I thought great, maybe not finest of kitchens, but great choice. I mean, I "get it."

    I also get it. I need to reply.

    It seems that, perhaps, probably, that whatever was fine in the Sabatino's kitchen has departed. Obviously, my wife and I asked ourselves that age old question when disappointed by an old friend: us or them.

    I think my wife right, when she put the blame on them. Of course our devotion to local foods and such has made us highly intolerant of crappy ingredients, but we maintain soft spots for places like this. My wife and I both like Tom's AND Golden Steer. This was much worse. My wife's argument, was the McDonald's syndrome.

    Where as once a meal at Sabatino's was a bit of a treat, not horribly expensive but a stretch, it is now darn right cheap. And cheap demands something be cut. There are just too many short cuts here to make up for the prices. The main culprits being food kept around way to long. Rich mentioned up-thread the minestrone and its thickness, and that was one example. Much worse, embarrassingly worse (especially as I told my daughter it would be a safe choice) was the lasagna*. Not worth a lot of details telling you it was bad, just believe me, it was as bad as a bunch of noodles sitting around for days can be.

    I can go on with the details on how nothing on our table was very good; not the pizza bread, not the bread bread, certainly not the flaming baked alaska, but, again it's not worth it, although I do like the comment my other daughter made of the pasta sauce tasting like coney sauce. One has to experience this place to see how it has fallen. But don't.

    *Am I not mistaken but is not lasagna a Northern Italian dish? :twisted:
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #103 - December 5th, 2011, 9:52 am
    Post #103 - December 5th, 2011, 9:52 am Post #103 - December 5th, 2011, 9:52 am
    Vital Information wrote:It seems that, perhaps, probably, that whatever was fine in the Sabatino's kitchen has departed.


    There's no such thing as bad press!

    Now I have to go again soon to see if it sucks compared to my last visit about 6 months ago, which was a fine and dandy meal.
  • Post #104 - December 5th, 2011, 10:08 am
    Post #104 - December 5th, 2011, 10:08 am Post #104 - December 5th, 2011, 10:08 am
    Sounds like a very off night. Sure, getting something like lasagna (indeed describing it as the safe choice) at Sabatino's can only be called misguided after the collective wisdom of this years-long thread was laid out; but your qualms about the bread and soup are alarming. Talk about things that have always been a sure thing, free though they are. A place with that kind of turnover and usually hight quality bread (D'Amato's, I believe) should not be putting out bad bread. Hope it's not a financial problem, as opposed to a kitchen problem. I trust fratelli Enzo ed Angelo to fix the food.
  • Post #105 - December 5th, 2011, 10:34 am
    Post #105 - December 5th, 2011, 10:34 am Post #105 - December 5th, 2011, 10:34 am
    I'm not so sure it was an off night. Sabatino's has been steadily going downhill for a couple of years now, IMO. We have completely stopped going in favor of places that serve more consistently good food.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #106 - December 5th, 2011, 10:56 am
    Post #106 - December 5th, 2011, 10:56 am Post #106 - December 5th, 2011, 10:56 am
    Man that's depressing.
    Sabatino's is one place I just reccently learned about here and was excited to try.
  • Post #107 - December 5th, 2011, 11:01 am
    Post #107 - December 5th, 2011, 11:01 am Post #107 - December 5th, 2011, 11:01 am
    No need for a panic. I don't think there's a downhill alert with Sabatino's or anything that needs be "fixed" by Enzo. I've been going to Sabatino's regularly for 15 years, and occasionally there are meals that are not-so-well executed. Sabatino's is a very busy restaurant; on weekends, they're doing a lot of banquet style meals for large parties. Like most very busy restaurants, there are times when the kitchen is taxed. Meals are definitely more consistent during the week. Anyway, the check is cheap enough that during the occasional off-times, I mostly shrug it off -- nothing has been so bad that it's abominable -- just not as good as it has been during previous visits.
  • Post #108 - December 5th, 2011, 1:20 pm
    Post #108 - December 5th, 2011, 1:20 pm Post #108 - December 5th, 2011, 1:20 pm
    This sounds right. By far the best Sabatino's meal I've ever had was very early (between lunch and dinner hours) on a Wednesday when we had the place and Enzo's attention to ourselves (ourselves being a small group of business associates). On that day, I'd agree with Jim that it was a great restaurant with great food. By far the worst was on a crowded Friday night when my large group (unfortunately including assorted Itlaian matriarchs and great home cooks from that side of the JeffB family) was jammed into a too small table. That time, Sab's sucked and it was embarassing. But most nights, it's as mostly described in most of this thread.
  • Post #109 - December 5th, 2011, 2:00 pm
    Post #109 - December 5th, 2011, 2:00 pm Post #109 - December 5th, 2011, 2:00 pm
    Just went Saturday. Food was fine: pizza bread, Stracciatella (quite good), salad w/homemade(I believe) garlic dressing(also quite good). Veal Braciole and Shrimp Scampi as entries...again, fine, not mind blowing, but well executed. Strong drinks, great energy, good service. Well work the price tag in my opinion....
    Reading is a right. Censorship is not.
  • Post #110 - May 8th, 2013, 12:42 pm
    Post #110 - May 8th, 2013, 12:42 pm Post #110 - May 8th, 2013, 12:42 pm
    Very uneven meal here last pm. Old school apps (escargot and shrimp d'jonghe) were very good. Minestrone was excellent and the salad decent. The entree's were deplorable and left 1/2 eaten. I'd have complained had anyone cared enough to check the table and ask. The bracole was overcooked and dry to the point of creeking. I believe I saw tumbleweeds blowing across the plate. Pales in comparrison to Volare, where they do a hell of a job w/it. The farfalle boscaiola had an pungent aftertaste, as if sour tomatoes or raw red wine were used, plus not a porcini in site. Plenty of button mushrooms though. An inedible vision in brown, we maybe had 3 bites. A pasta special of black fett w/c-food was al dente-less and could have been called Fett ala Dickens for its mushy gruel like texture, except for the c-food which was equally overcooked but in turn, rubbery. Pencil erasers come to mind.

    The "B" team was on in all capacities. Service was close to non existent w/long waits between courses w/our table left un-bussed and un-crumbed. By the time I stood up to wave a busboy down to clean it up, he needed a vacuum.

    I like this place and will still continue to go on ocassion but last nights meal was not close to what I've come to expect here, @ the very least solid Ital-Amer food. Basta.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #111 - May 8th, 2013, 12:56 pm
    Post #111 - May 8th, 2013, 12:56 pm Post #111 - May 8th, 2013, 12:56 pm
    That sucks. Were the brothers around? Enzo or Angelo would make good. I famously hate braciole and its arid Spanish cousin, boliche, because it's almost always as you say. But boiling pasta and cooking seafood are tasks this place typically does well.
  • Post #112 - May 8th, 2013, 1:03 pm
    Post #112 - May 8th, 2013, 1:03 pm Post #112 - May 8th, 2013, 1:03 pm
    Perhaps. I don't know them. Judging by how much was left on our plates you'd think someone would have asked.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #113 - October 30th, 2013, 6:00 pm
    Post #113 - October 30th, 2013, 6:00 pm Post #113 - October 30th, 2013, 6:00 pm
    Sigh. A GNR through a fire shutdown and a health code blip, but not under the new LTH. Better than ever, doing the same old thing, and definitively a great neighborhood restaurant, lower case.*







    *Not a criticism of the GNRs, the board, or the new format. Just melancholy observation that things change, sometimes the thing being measured, sometimes the thing measuring. A certain amount of magical thinking, suspension of critical attention and other salves were required for Sab's to get and keep the GNR, of course. The Italian Ginza, but one that I think will be fine (they are their own landlord ;)).
  • Post #114 - November 5th, 2013, 12:06 am
    Post #114 - November 5th, 2013, 12:06 am Post #114 - November 5th, 2013, 12:06 am
    JeffB wrote:Sigh. A GNR through a fire shutdown and a health code blip, but not under the new LTH. Better than ever, doing the same old thing, and definitively a great neighborhood restaurant, lower case.*







    *Not a criticism of the GNRs, the board, or the new format. Just melancholy observation that things change, sometimes the thing being measured, sometimes the thing measuring. A certain amount of magical thinking, suspension of critical attention and other salves were required for Sab's to get and keep the GNR, of course. The Italian Ginza, but one that I think will be fine (they are their own landlord ;)).

    There just weren't the posts there needed to support it. :(

    =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

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #115 - January 13th, 2016, 10:33 am
    Post #115 - January 13th, 2016, 10:33 am Post #115 - January 13th, 2016, 10:33 am
    A friend requested Sabatino's for their birthday this last Monday, I've always loved them for their old school charm and good food, but I was a bit worried at the lack of posts lately, I needn't have because they were hitting on all cylinders.

    Well made martini with blue cheese olives check, cheesy pizza bread check, good chianti recommendation check. My friend ordered the veal special, three cutlets prepared three different ways and raved about it, I was allowed a taste and second her opinion. I had the shrimp DeJonghe which was buttery and garlicy, the breadcrumbs were the weak point, but it was still very good. We both skipped the soup, but the salads were really excellent, gone was the iceberg lettuce from my last visit, this was romaine lettuce with shredded carrots, red onion, the house vinaigrette and chunks of blue cheese, we didn't leave a leaf. We also both had the angle hair with marinara as our side, the pasta was perfectly cooked and the sauce tasted fresh and bright, again we both finished every bite.

    It was more than half full for most of the evening which I was glad to see. In a sea of changing concepts and restaurants I'm glad to see one of my old school places still going strong.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #116 - August 21st, 2016, 5:19 pm
    Post #116 - August 21st, 2016, 5:19 pm Post #116 - August 21st, 2016, 5:19 pm
    Vey nice lunch at Sabatino's after church today. I do wish I had read this thread before running over there on a whim because as noted the braciole is not the best dish and I should have avoided it. One thing that was very odd is that we were not told the specials and I would have ordered one as they sounded very good. The table next to us was given the run-down but only after asking. Is this standard at Sabs?
  • Post #117 - July 16th, 2017, 7:35 am
    Post #117 - July 16th, 2017, 7:35 am Post #117 - July 16th, 2017, 7:35 am
    Mrs Willie & I went to Sabatino's this past Friday night. It is an easy walk west from Irving Park Blue Line stop (or Metra NW line).
    zoid wrote:One thing that was very odd is that we were not told the specials and I would have ordered one as they sounded very good. The table next to us was given the run-down but only after asking. Is this standard at Sabs?
    for our experience, we were informed of the specials by our waitress Maria prior to taking our order. We ordered two of the specials.

    The complementary pizza bread was ok, as was the huge loaf of bread served. I personally like a crustier bread.

    Straciatella - we both enjoyed this soup, just a good soup.

    Salad w/blue cheese - reminded me of the northwoods supper club presentation, basically loaded with blue cheese crumbles & a creamy dressing. I was very pleased with this as for some reason I never make this at home.

    One of the specials was goat cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms. The blossoms were fried perfectly, nice amount of cheese filling. The only drawback was the tomato sauce wasn't "bright" I'd agree with the following statement:
    Antonius wrote: I don't remember being struck by any odd quality to the tomatoes themselves but I do remember the 'marinara' sauce used on the pasta side dishes striking me as being extremely bland. Undersalted, no trace of herb, no pepper, no aromatics...
    With our red sauce experience, I'd likely not order a red sauce prep on our next visit.
    JimInLoganSquare wrote:However, one theory I do not espouse is that people trend away from Sabatino's pasta dishes because the pasta dishes aren't good.
    we had two pasta dishes and they both were terrific

    Off the menu I had the Pappardelle con Funghi di Bosco - Homemade Wide Noodles in a Variety of Wild Mushrooms in a Light Cream Sauce. This was decadent as hell, rich mushroom taste with a lush velvety cream sauce.

    Mrs Willie had a special offered that night: Squid Ink black pasta with scallops & shrimp. Seafood, especially the scallops, were on point as was the rich tasting pasta. Another great dish.

    We enjoyed and will be back.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #118 - August 23rd, 2018, 9:04 pm
    Post #118 - August 23rd, 2018, 9:04 pm Post #118 - August 23rd, 2018, 9:04 pm
    Per their Facebook page...
    ~~ Our Days Are Numbered ~~

    sabatinosrestaurantchicago.com

    Sabatino's Restaurant in Chicago is planned to close by the end of this year 2018, tentatively late in December. Please keep an eye on our website and social media pages for more details in the coming weeks. ~ Thank you

    -Sabatino's Restaurant Chicago Staff

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 5286710834
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #119 - August 24th, 2018, 9:26 am
    Post #119 - August 24th, 2018, 9:26 am Post #119 - August 24th, 2018, 9:26 am
    Here's the Tribune's take on the closing . . .
    Sabatino's, the Italian-American restaurant known for veal parmigiana, flaming steak Diane and strolling musicians, will close after 49 years of serving generations of families, celebrating countless milestones, in the Northwest Side neighborhood of Old Irving Park.

    “Our last day will be Dec. 23,” said Angelo Pagni, 68, co-owner, with brother Enzo, 64.

    Sabatino's closing after 49 years of serving Chicago families

    =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

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #120 - August 24th, 2018, 12:13 pm
    Post #120 - August 24th, 2018, 12:13 pm Post #120 - August 24th, 2018, 12:13 pm
    Disregard this old article from a few years ago...

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/re ... story.html
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat

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