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Giacomo's -- No more Olive Garden for me

Giacomo's -- No more Olive Garden for me
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  • Giacomo's -- No more Olive Garden for me

    Post #1 - August 27th, 2004, 9:47 pm
    Post #1 - August 27th, 2004, 9:47 pm Post #1 - August 27th, 2004, 9:47 pm
    Tonight, I wend to Giacomo's. There were lots of reasons:
    1) The recommendation here of their braciole
    2) My recent defense of Olive Garden made me feel guilty
    3) They're close by
    4) My sons went to the same middle school as the owner's daughters (and we'd met at some school functions), we really should go more often
    5) It's been close to two years since we've been there

    So with Thing 1 off to a friend's birthday, and Thing 2 on a rare day off from football accompanying us, we were off to dinner.

    None of us were starving, so we skipped ordering starters, but we were sent out some bruschetta -- tomatoes aren't as good as those from my garden, but nicely dressed on crunchy bread.

    I ordered Spinach Gnocchi with Sauce Bolognese (next time the Braciole, I just wasn't up for a big meat dish), Mrs. F ordered Lemon Chicken, Thing 2 ordered Fettucine Alfredo. Salads with creamy garlic were good, although the creamy garlic doesn't top my gold standard of Dave's Italian Kitchen.

    Spinach Gnocchi: tender, chewy green lumps, I've been dreaming of starches like this in our current carb-deprived household. The Bolognese was rich in flavor and modestly dressed the gnocchi. I brought home a bit of leftovers.

    Fettucine Alfredo: A huge bowl of wide, fresh pasta, with a sauce that tastes of butter, cream and cheese -- it doesn't need garlic, it's a classic. Thing 2 only ate about half.

    Lemon Chicken: Lightly breaded, in a rich butter lemon sauce. The chicken had a good poultry flavor missing from too many restaurants. Accompanied by a few mixed vegetables and a side of linguine marinara.

    Service was very friendly (doesn't hurt knowing the owners), the bill was no more than we'd spend at Olive Garden, and it certainly was a better meal than I've ever had there. The menu is deeper by far in both pasta and 'main' courses. They could use a risotto, I imagine, but you have a choice of salad dressings.

    Giacomo's Ristorante (847) 390-7330
    740 N. Wolf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016
    Last edited by JoelF on August 28th, 2004, 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - August 28th, 2004, 8:08 am
    Post #2 - August 28th, 2004, 8:08 am Post #2 - August 28th, 2004, 8:08 am
    Joel:

    Mo të si magnat 'e maccarunë.*


    A

    *A Neapolitan expression meaning literally: 'Now you've eaten the maccheroni' but used in the sense of 'now you get it!'
    Last edited by Antonius on January 28th, 2013, 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #3 - August 29th, 2004, 9:00 am
    Post #3 - August 29th, 2004, 9:00 am Post #3 - August 29th, 2004, 9:00 am
    I'm glad to see someone besides me has gone to Giacomo's recently. I can't recommend it highly enough for red sauce Italian, although judging from Joel's report, the non-red sauce items are equally appealing.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - January 19th, 2019, 10:20 am
    Post #4 - January 19th, 2019, 10:20 am Post #4 - January 19th, 2019, 10:20 am
    I met Panther at Giacomo's Friday for lunch. I think it makes more sense to post details here and (if I can figure out how to) a link there. Panther may post his pictures there, he always orders for take-home with his wife (like 3 meals worth). It was the last day of their 20th anniversary celebration, so everything was 20% off, and I got seafood instead of the eggplant I had been planning on. Please excuse my post, I am far below the sophistication level of others on this website, especially so for Italian. By the time we were through, the restaurant was full (not counting the banquet room), and while waiting, I heard them cut off dinner reservations, and worry they should have done so earlier.

    When I asked for olive oil for the bread, they also brought a special cheese mix, completely new to me...as I said, unsophisticated and never got beyond the shaker of cheese with bread before. They said a blend of cheeses (parmessan and romano?) and seasonings including pepper and I think oregano.
    DSCN0317.JPG olive oil & cheese with bread

    I chose the salad instead of soup, clearly a mistake when you see Panther's soup picture. So thick I'd call it a slurry instead of a soup. Salad was nice, and fewer carbs...
    DSCN0315.JPG dinner salad


    My entree was Grigliata di Pesci: Grilled calamari, octopus and shrimp in a Sicilian marinade. Luckily squid is my favorite and shrimp my least favorite, as I would guess by weight it was 60% squid, 30% octopus and 10% shrimp. Like the fabled rabbit stew that was cut fifty/fifty with horse-meat (one rabbit, one horse). I think equal numbers of each, large squid, standard baby octopus, and shrimpy shrimp. Flavor was good, squid slightly rubbery (but still better than I make at home, and so difficult to avoid).
    DSCN0321.JPG Grigliata di Pesci

    I'd probably get complaints about my taste if I posted a picture of the side of pasta, since I doused it in grated cheese, but you can see it un-doused when Pather posts his picture of his chicken parmigianna sandwich. Question: could I have asked for it without red sauce, then just mixed it with the cheese and some olive oil, which is kind of how I would eat it at home?
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #5 - January 19th, 2019, 10:33 am
    Post #5 - January 19th, 2019, 10:33 am Post #5 - January 19th, 2019, 10:33 am
    Just looked online, trying to remember if I was "taught" to mix the olive oil and cheese first, or dip in olive oil then cheese, and the first reference didn't mention cheese, but talked long and in detail about having some balsamic vinegar in the olive oil. Now I think that would have been wonderful...
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #6 - January 19th, 2019, 11:16 am
    Post #6 - January 19th, 2019, 11:16 am Post #6 - January 19th, 2019, 11:16 am
    diversedancer wrote:Just looked online, trying to remember if I was "taught" to mix the olive oil and cheese first, or dip in olive oil then cheese, and the first reference didn't mention cheese, but talked long and in detail about having some balsamic vinegar in the olive oil. Now I think that would have been wonderful...
    I always mix the cheese and oil first to where it becomes a paste. I use quite a bit of cheese with the oil - I could eat a whole meal of bread with this stuff. I'll also add black pepper and some other aromatic if possible.
  • Post #7 - January 19th, 2019, 1:06 pm
    Post #7 - January 19th, 2019, 1:06 pm Post #7 - January 19th, 2019, 1:06 pm
    I think you may be overestimating the snobbishness of your typical LTH poster — grated cheese on pasta not likely to result in public shaming in my experience here.

    Semi-related point on Olive Garden and LTH-induced snobbishness prompted by JoelF circa 2004: I occasionally go to OG, telling myself that it will be good, because in my memory of going there with my mom and dad for my 13th birthday, it was. When it never is any good, I attribute it to declining corporate quality standards and indifferent employees. But almost two decades later, I’m led to the obvious conclusion that it’s me that’s changed, not the Olive Garden. Optima dies prima fugit.

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