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Nieto's - Highland Park

Nieto's - Highland Park
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  • Nieto's - Highland Park

    Post #1 - April 24th, 2012, 11:46 am
    Post #1 - April 24th, 2012, 11:46 am Post #1 - April 24th, 2012, 11:46 am
    Nieto's opened in the former Carlos space on Temple, technically in Highland Park but adjacent to downtown Highwood.

    Mrs. EdB60035 and I brought the kids last Friday night for Highland Park's Restaurant Week (going on through the 29th). I admit I was skeptical of the Nietos' redo of Carlos', but I think they may have done well as a starting point. We arrived at 5:45 and it was busy, by 6:45 departure every table was full. As a family, though, we were among the youngest diners in the room, most seemed to be older couples (by older I mean 55+). I suppose there is a niche here that isn't being fulfilled in the area.

    The food was good. There were lots of little nice details on each plate, even for the dishes from the kids menu (which came with both fruit and french fries). The bar seems to have a decent amount of variety as well; I opted for a "bacon bloody mary" which was crammed full of celery, olives, lime, cucumber, and a nice slice of bacon. Debbie Nieto bragged to several tables about her "mix master" (did she mean mixologist?), but both my wife and I were happy with our cocktails regardless of what label is used.

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    For starters my wife had the small side Caesar salad, which she enjoyed. When it first came out, we were surprised by a dark line in the middle of the romaine; it turns out that Nieto's lightly grills the lettuce to add flavor. It worked, actually, we both liked the salad.

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    I had a corn soup which was flavorful but nothing out of the ordinary.

    As a main, my wife had the Nieto's BLT. The addition of pancetta and pesto gave this open-faced sandwich a lot of flavor, and the caprese-like cheese and tomato was a nice twist. The cauliflower was fine. The visual presentation was very nice.

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    I had the night's special, a halibut in lemongrass broth. It was prepared well, but the lemongrass flavor was almost nonexistent. Perhaps a nod to suburban palates. The artichoke bottoms appeared to be canned. I was also surprised the waiter had not mentioned the price, which at $29.95 was much more than I anticipated; no side came with this (though I had plenty of the kids' french fries).

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    The kids meals were $6.95 which included a beverage. The kids ran out of patience so we were unable to check out dessert.

    Service was pretty good; the waiter was very attentive and as the Nietos seem to always do, Debbie was working the room without being obtrusive. Clearing plates didn't quite happen as fast as I would have liked, but I think they were struggling to see what the kids were or were not eating.

    Mrs. EdB had already been to the restaurant once, and indicated she really liked what she had then as well. So, I'm not sure where it fits in our local dining options, but it is a place that is worth returning to. I also think they will refine it a bit over time and things will improve.

    FWIW, the Highland Park restaurant week special for the restaurant is $33.33 for either the shortribs or the whitefish (not on the website menu, but it was on our printed menu)..comes with a side salad or soup and a dessert. So, it really isn't much of a deal, though I did read today that they are also giving those who opt for the restaurant week special a glass of wine. We were not informed about restaurant week per se, but the staff all had stickers on announcing it.

    Nieto's Restaurant
    429 Temple
    Highland Park, IL 60035
    847-432-0770
    http://nietosrestaurant.com/

    (Hat tip to milz50 for first mentioning in openings/closings thread)
  • Post #2 - April 24th, 2012, 12:17 pm
    Post #2 - April 24th, 2012, 12:17 pm Post #2 - April 24th, 2012, 12:17 pm
    Thanks for the helpful review of a place I'll have to keep an eye on...
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #3 - January 15th, 2016, 8:38 am
    Post #3 - January 15th, 2016, 8:38 am Post #3 - January 15th, 2016, 8:38 am
    Okay, so the "eye" slipped a bit...it's time to pull the trigger and I am having a little trouble deciding between the menu here and that at Ballaro's, an Italian place in Highwood. Any recent comments on Nieto's?
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #4 - January 16th, 2016, 5:31 pm
    Post #4 - January 16th, 2016, 5:31 pm Post #4 - January 16th, 2016, 5:31 pm
    We go about twice a year but not for the contemporary menu.
    Nieto's has Carlos style Pri Fixe for December lunch and thier special events and wine tastings emulate past Carlos dishes.
    Same Chef, Same wait staff(mostly), same excellence.
    Wine tasting dinners are excellent. bring a designated driver!
    We had a lunch for 10 last December, excellent value with wines.
    I had an excellent scallop and 1/2 roast duck that was the best roasted duck I have had.
    I wouldn;t worry about quality but stick to Carlos type dishes.-Richard
  • Post #5 - May 3rd, 2016, 1:13 pm
    Post #5 - May 3rd, 2016, 1:13 pm Post #5 - May 3rd, 2016, 1:13 pm
    They are two entirely different concepts. As you point out, Ballaro is Italian. But forget everything you may think about spaghetti and meatball Italian restaurants. Ballaro showcases a very contemporary twist on Italian food, largely inspired by Chef Mark Newman's studies and work in Italy a few years ago. You can find the menu at http://www.ballarohw.com.

    Nieto's is a reinvention of the Carlos space with Carlos and Debbie still very much in charge. The menu is now more American bistro with much more accessible prices, and a different take on style. At the same time it is less formal, but still a very friendly and welcoming experience. I think when you try them both you will vividly enjoy the experiences.

    NB: co-owner Josh Kaplan is my son. I am former restaurant critic, now retired, Sherman Kaplan
  • Post #6 - May 4th, 2016, 3:23 pm
    Post #6 - May 4th, 2016, 3:23 pm Post #6 - May 4th, 2016, 3:23 pm
    Sherman Kaplan?!? Glad to finally meet you (sort of --- I mean, sort of meet you, not sort of glad ). I always loved your reviews. Your oh-so-cryptic screen name should have been a clue. I hope you'll be posting here more in the future.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #7 - May 4th, 2016, 8:55 pm
    Post #7 - May 4th, 2016, 8:55 pm Post #7 - May 4th, 2016, 8:55 pm
    I hope you'll be posting here more in the future.


    Roger that! :D
  • Post #8 - May 7th, 2016, 5:00 am
    Post #8 - May 7th, 2016, 5:00 am Post #8 - May 7th, 2016, 5:00 am
    Thanks for the welcome. I will be here when something interesting to discuss pops up. To be honest, my dining interests have lessened to some extent. It's not that I don't like a broad spectrum of dining. It is just that some of that broad spectrum doesn't like me..
  • Post #9 - June 12th, 2018, 10:49 pm
    Post #9 - June 12th, 2018, 10:49 pm Post #9 - June 12th, 2018, 10:49 pm
    Nieto's has closed.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - June 13th, 2018, 6:15 am
    Post #10 - June 13th, 2018, 6:15 am Post #10 - June 13th, 2018, 6:15 am
    I have heard rumblings over the last couple years that the cost renting out restaurant space in downtown Highland Park (and the hot areas in Highwood for that matter) have increased to usurious rates comparatively to a few years ago.

    Maybe that's partially the cause of some of these closings. Anybody with intel on that?

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