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Sabatino's, how I miss you

Sabatino's, how I miss you
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  • Sabatino's, how I miss you

    Post #1 - June 16th, 2022, 5:11 pm
    Post #1 - June 16th, 2022, 5:11 pm Post #1 - June 16th, 2022, 5:11 pm
    Hi, everyone. Long time no type. Mrs. JiLS and I moved away from Chicago in 2018 and have been enjoying our lives in Central New York, where we are happy and Italian-American food prevails.

    When we lived in Chicago, we were quite possibly Sabatino's best customers. We sort of lived there, had dinner sometimes four or five times in a week. Twice, they gave us Christmas presents.

    Anyway, Sabatino's went away shortly after we did (we hit them for one final meal in August 2018).

    We were so pleased when we heard about Avvio, which would have all the Sabatino's recipes we missed, cooked by the chef who had cooked them for us back at Kenneth and Irving. But ... when we made our way to Avvio on a visit to Chicago, the experience was disappointing to say the least. No liquor license, just a big sparsely decorated room, no bar, no ambience, all kind of stale boring and "meh." The fact that the food was exactly the same as Sabatino's actually somehow made the experience worse. It certainly was no substitute for the overall dining experience of Sabatino's.

    So, that off my chest ... What currently available spot in Chicago might possibly meet our Sabatino's expectations or create new ones for us? We have been and will continue to be regular visitors to our long-term former home city, and would love somehow to replicate or at least come close to matching our sentimental old favorite, while acknowledging that perhaps you truly can't go home again.
    JiLS
  • Post #2 - June 16th, 2022, 5:51 pm
    Post #2 - June 16th, 2022, 5:51 pm Post #2 - June 16th, 2022, 5:51 pm
    Nice to hear from you, JiLS.

    There's no perfect simulacrum. For the cave-y windowlessness I sometimes get bursts of nostalgia at Tom's Steakhouse in Melrose Park, The Golden Steer in Forest Park, or even The Italian Village. For the particular food aromas, maybe Tufano's or Hugo's. For some of the specific salty tastes, Freddy's in Cicero, from which I regularly recreate the bresaola appetizer (with their driest capicola, the house one, haven't seen any dried beef in a while) or pastas. All places on your radar I'm sure. Gaetano's (which came back with a wonderful provisions shop) is also fork-done at this point.

    Oddly in another cuisine Casa de Samuel scratched the same itch but I haven't tried again it since The Plague began.
  • Post #3 - June 16th, 2022, 7:44 pm
    Post #3 - June 16th, 2022, 7:44 pm Post #3 - June 16th, 2022, 7:44 pm
    Yay, Jim! Glad to know you're doing well.

    This seems to be a tough, ever-dissolving category these days. Hardly matches but maybe analogs would be Bruna's or Tufano's?

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #4 - June 16th, 2022, 9:02 pm
    Post #4 - June 16th, 2022, 9:02 pm Post #4 - June 16th, 2022, 9:02 pm
    Some restaurants are not replaceable. We were huge Sabatino’s fans too and celebrated numerous occasions there.

    Agree with Ronnie that Bruno’s might be the next best thing, but it lacks the showmanship factor.

    Should you find yourself in Madison, WI, definitely check out Porta Bella. Been there since 1968 and the closest vibe (and menu) to Sabatino’s I’ve experienced.

    https://portabellapaisans.restauranteng ... n-2022.pdf
  • Post #5 - June 16th, 2022, 9:43 pm
    Post #5 - June 16th, 2022, 9:43 pm Post #5 - June 16th, 2022, 9:43 pm
    No piano in the bar, but Mirabella comes to mind. Old school vibe, solid food.
  • Post #6 - June 21st, 2022, 11:58 am
    Post #6 - June 21st, 2022, 11:58 am Post #6 - June 21st, 2022, 11:58 am
    Both Sabatino's and Mirabella for me @ least were never better than good. Never great.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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