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New pasta shop & cafe, in Roscoe Village [TerraGusto]

New pasta shop & cafe, in Roscoe Village [TerraGusto]
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  • Post #31 - April 2nd, 2006, 9:07 pm
    Post #31 - April 2nd, 2006, 9:07 pm Post #31 - April 2nd, 2006, 9:07 pm
    I wasn't under the imperssion that they were rying to be trendy, Al. The front of the house definitely has some maturing to do to catch up with the fine job that the kitchen is doing.

    I think it's more of a case of them having more demand for tables than capacity to seat all of those folks.
  • Post #32 - May 1st, 2006, 11:44 am
    Post #32 - May 1st, 2006, 11:44 am Post #32 - May 1st, 2006, 11:44 am
    We dined at Terragusto on Friday night and found the pastas to be the star of the show, but I left a little less enthusiastic than others about the meal as a whole.

    The tagliatelle bolognese that night was among the best pasta dishes I've had in Chicago. Perfectly cooked, fresh noodles and an excellent meat sauce full of flavor and the right balance of richness to satisfy as a primo. Cookie had potato-stuffed ravioli which she enjoyed very much, but I mostly ignored due to my infatuation with the tagliatelle.

    Prior to the pastas, we enjoyed a shaved asparagus, fennel, and citrus salad alongside a plate of pan-fried polenta with mushrooms and asparagus. The excellent ingredients shone through in the salad, but a very heavy hand with butter and salt pushed the polenta dish past the point of "ingredient appreciation" and into the realm of appreciating how butter and salt make everything taste good. After the polenta was gone, there was enough butter left on the plate to cook another dish of it.

    We shared a piece of salmon as a secondo which suffered the same problem as the polenta. This already oily fish did not need much more added, but I suppose it's used to promote browning. Aggressive salting didn't help the fish either.

    Terragusto is not a bargain. I am not particularly price sensetive at the sub-$100-for-two level, but the final bill was well beyond what I thought the meal was worth. The antipasti had no business being in double-digit-dollar territory (one of them approaching $20). I understand that they have very high ingredient costs, but they made it hard to justify it through any means (food, atmosphere, service).

    Upon arriving and being seated, we were given a very long, heavy-handed speech about their ingredients, menu, portion-size, and the Italian-style of dining. I support their idea of giving their new customers an introduction to their menu, but this is the wrong way to do it. It came across as a put-down, branding us as uneducated pair of buffet-hungry diners who have no interest in quality who take home tons of food in doggie bags and throw them away. This seemed as much of an explanation as a preliminary defense against price/portion complaints. In spite of this speech, I was able to look past it and enjoy the pasta.

    Overall, I'll likely return to Terragusto when I have a taste for their excellent pasta, but it was not all that I had hoped it would be.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #33 - May 1st, 2006, 1:16 pm
    Post #33 - May 1st, 2006, 1:16 pm Post #33 - May 1st, 2006, 1:16 pm
    I have to disagree with the last posting about Terragusto not being a good value for the quality you get.

    I had the pleasure of dining there with 7 friends last Friday (sorry, we stole a large portion of the restaurant for all of you trying to get tables). It was my first time dining there, and we were there on the recommendation of one of our party who had previously enjoyed a meal there. I found the service to be knowledgeable, friendly and professional and the space to be warm and cozy, without being overly fancy.

    Our server advised us of their dining concept, since nearly all our party were first time diners there, many of whom are not overly adventuresome eaters. He did so without seeming pushy or pretentious. We decided that we would split into groups of four and share, as to experience all that they had to offer.

    In my group, we sampled first, the vegetable antipasti platter. This was delicious and the presentation was attractive - various grilled veggies, fine mozzarella and grilled bread. For our pasta course, we shared the tagliatelle bolognese (sp?) and a special that consisted of some sort of ravioli in a tomato cream sauce with proscuitto. I enjoyed the ravioli, but the tagliatelle was the real star of the show. It was fantastic. Not to be missed. Definitely my favorite course of the evening. Then, between the four of us, we shared the double order of halibut, which was prepared simply using sea salt and served over a bed of polenta and spinach. Again, this was wonderful. The halibut had the perfect amount of firmness, but was still very juicy and not overcooked. The other end of the table ordered skirt steak for their protein course, and this was excellent as well. Simple, letting the quality of the meat stand out. Finally, we shared carrot cake and chocolate creme brulee for desert. To be honest, I am not a carrot cake person at ALL, but theirs was delicious (I couldn't resist after hearing the raves). I AM a creme brulee person, however, and this was the only disappointing part of the meal. It wasn't nearly chocolate-y (sorry for the strange term) enough.

    Between all of this - and the other end of the table ordered an additional pasta - our tab was only $28 per person (our tip was included since we were a large party). Certainly reasonable for the quality of the food we received. I really enjoyed the restaurant and would definitely go back.
  • Post #34 - May 1st, 2006, 2:17 pm
    Post #34 - May 1st, 2006, 2:17 pm Post #34 - May 1st, 2006, 2:17 pm
    $28/person is an extremely low per/head price to pay at Terragusto, where pasta dishes alone can approach $20. I gather you got there because you had a larger group and you SHARED, a very wise strategy for this kind of meal (often employed and expected in Italy, by the way, when antipasti, primi, secondi, and dolci are in play). Might I also add that since TG is a BYOB the cost of wine is not included in the $28.

    I like TG very much, but my point in making this post is to alert those who haven't been there that a total cost of $50+ per head (w/o wine) is more likely than $30.
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #35 - May 1st, 2006, 2:24 pm
    Post #35 - May 1st, 2006, 2:24 pm Post #35 - May 1st, 2006, 2:24 pm
    jbw wrote:$28/person is an extremely low per/head price to pay at Terragusto, where pasta dishes alone can approach $20. I gather you got there because you had a larger group and you SHARED, a very wise strategy for this kind of meal (often employed and expected in Italy, by the way, when antipasti, primi, secondi, and dolci are in play). Might I also add that since TG is a BYOB the cost of wine is not included in the $28.

    I like TG very much, but my point in making this post is to alert those who haven't been there that a total cost of $50+ per head (w/o wine) is more likely than $30.


    To be more precise, our meal cost almost $50/per person for two antipasti, two primi, and the shared salmon.
  • Post #36 - May 1st, 2006, 3:51 pm
    Post #36 - May 1st, 2006, 3:51 pm Post #36 - May 1st, 2006, 3:51 pm
    I think I spent about $100 feeding two adults and two young kids, with only one entree.

    Without wine, that's a lot. Since the kids mainly live on bread in such places anyway, that basically IS $50/person.

    I like Terragusto a whole lot more as a place serving spectacularly good pastas than as a place serving pretty pricey dinners in which spectacularly good pastas are bracketed by pretty good, but not terribly unusual or inventive by the standards of our restaurant scene, appetizers and entrees.
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  • Post #37 - May 1st, 2006, 4:05 pm
    Post #37 - May 1st, 2006, 4:05 pm Post #37 - May 1st, 2006, 4:05 pm
    I'm another one who thinks Terragusto is overpriced. True, the pasta is great but it doesn't make up for other things like poorly timed service, really slow carryout (my husband waited almost 45 minutes for two pasta dishes and he called beforehand and got there at 5:30 p.m.) standard entrees and desserts that aren't good. On top of that each time I've been there the space has been freakishly loud.

    I want to keep giving them another chance as I love that pasta but those chances are running out.
  • Post #38 - May 4th, 2006, 11:12 pm
    Post #38 - May 4th, 2006, 11:12 pm Post #38 - May 4th, 2006, 11:12 pm
    eatchicago wrote:I am not particularly price sensetive at the sub-$100-for-two level, but the final bill was well beyond what I thought the meal was worth. The antipasti had no business being in double-digit-dollar territory (one of them approaching $20).


    I am price sensitive, even at the sub-$100-for-two level, but I didn't find tonight's dinner at Terragusto overpriced. I was, however, thankful to have the above reports to tailor our meal appropriately.

    We skipped the secondi and made a meal of two of the larger antipasti and two primi/pasta dishes. The food was absolutely terrific. You often hear that Italian cooking is about excellent ingredients, simply prepared. With these four dishes, Terragusto delivered.

    The fried polenta with sauteed asparagus and mushrooms was delightful...crisp-fried buttery polenta, creamy on the inside. The asparagus was some of the best I've ever had...delicate in flavor, complementary to the 'shrooms and polenta, and not a hint of the stringy, stalky texture that can sometimes accompany this veggie.

    The antipasti platter had a cucumber and mint salad, marinated mushrooms, tomato confit (or so it seemed), a diced tomato salad, and mozzarella di bufala, accompanied by some toasted baguette slices. The mozzarella was absolutely heavenly, especially matched with the confit-ed tomato, but the whole plate was nicely balanced, exceptionally fresh, and delivered an exactly appropriate amount of food and flavor.

    We held off until after the appetizers to decide whether the pork chop would be a necessary supplement to the pasta. It wasn't.

    We both had tagliatelle, my wife the bolognese and mine (whole wheat) with mushrooms, leeks, and fennel. The bolognese was good...bolognese is just a damn fine sauce, and Terragusto executed it superbly. In both dishes the pasta itself was wonderful. I probably wouldn't order tagliatelle sauced as I had it again. It was too salty (over-pecorinoed perhaps) and I didn't really perceive the fennel. Despite these shortcomings, it was a good dish, but it couldn't match the quality of the bolognese sauce, and I would rather try something new next time around. Overall, 3 of 4 dishes were outstanding, the fourth just pretty good.

    Pasta helpings are not Buca di Beppo, or Caro Mio, but I didn't think they were small enough (especially with these rich dishes) to warrant the underlined quality over quantity cards that were oddly stuffed into our napkins. Again though, the reports above prepared me for the "this is what we do" spiel, and it didn't bother me much at all.

    We brought home some leftover tagliatelle, both left full, and spent about $70, 20%+ tip included. For the quality of the food, and the added bonus of supporting a place devoted to local, seasonal, organic eats, I actually thought the value was quite good, even though the prices aren't low.

    An added note...when making a reservation this afternoon, I asked the host to recommend a wine to bring that he thought would complement the menu, obviously without knowing what we were going to order. He recommended a Valpolicella (which was nice, as I've been on a small Valpolicella kick), and it was a nice recommendation. Specifically, we brought a Negraro Valpolicella Ripassato 2002. Quite nice.
  • Post #39 - May 20th, 2006, 7:11 am
    Post #39 - May 20th, 2006, 7:11 am Post #39 - May 20th, 2006, 7:11 am
    Went to Terragusto last night...

    I loved the atmosphere - it's small but not noisy, simple but not bare. The lighting was just right, tables spaced just far enough apart and had a nice "small bistro" feel to it.

    The food was pretty good, but nothing was transcendent. First, I was really disappointed that the Bolognese is now off the menu! After all the raves it's gotten on this board, I was really looking forward to trying it. We orderedwe a fried polenta and one of the salads to start, followed by a pappardelle w/pork and fettucine (?) with asparagus & fennel, followed by the half chicken. My main gripe is that everything (except the salad) came with about a pound of butter. Now, I don't know if this is the "traditional" or the "authentic" way to serve these dishes, but it made everything seem really heavy instead of light & fresh. For me, that took away some of the enjoyment of eating such fresh and tasty pasta. I'm certainly not on a diet, but I do still have an aversion to eating things sitting in a pool of butter. The pasta itself was excellent and really the highlight of the meal.

    Dessert was *really* disappointing - while it was called a "chocolate creme brulee" it did not resemble any creme brulee I've ever had. It was more like "brownish flan with a hint of chocolate and a burnt sugar topping." Not good.

    All in all, because we shared (and aren't heavy eaters to begin with), the meal only came out to about $25 pp including tax & tip. For that price, I'd definitely return, if just for the pasta - and in hopes that it'll be just a little bit lighter next time.
  • Post #40 - June 26th, 2006, 10:08 am
    Post #40 - June 26th, 2006, 10:08 am Post #40 - June 26th, 2006, 10:08 am
    I ate at Terragusto for a second time on Friday night and am pleased to report the following things: 1) the tagiatelle bolognese is back on the menu and 2) i had creme brulee a second time (not my choice...it was my dining companion's) - and it was banana this time. I wouldn't say it was the best creme brulee I'd ever had, but it was certainly passable. The banana flavor was waaaaaaaay better than the chocolate.

    Side note - we had an 845 reservation...the place was still packed when we were finishing up. Apparently a lot of walk-ins. Happy to say that even though it was super crowded when we showed up to our reservation, we were seated immediately.
  • Post #41 - July 6th, 2006, 1:39 am
    Post #41 - July 6th, 2006, 1:39 am Post #41 - July 6th, 2006, 1:39 am
    Mike G wrote:I like Terragusto a whole lot more as a place serving spectacularly good pastas than as a place serving pretty pricey dinners in which spectacularly good pastas are bracketed by pretty good, but not terribly unusual or inventive by the standards of our restaurant scene, appetizers and entrees.

    This echoes my take almost exactly. I liked my meal at Terragusto, but....

    You can spend just slightly more than this (not BYOB) and get pastas as good (e.g. pillowy, hand-made cavatelli dressed with a silky ragout of spit-roasted rabbit flavored with lavender, bits of applewood-smoked bacon and mushrooms), better apps (lightly wood-grilled romaine, sprinkled with black olives and croutons plus a few piquant caper berries and white anchovies, drizzled with a creamy, pale pink dressing made from purple basil in a delightful new take on the caesar salad), more choice of meat courses and desserts, and nicer surroundings, without having to make reservations three weeks in advance, at Timo (the newly Italianized Thyme).

    Timo
    312/226-4300
    464 N. Halsted St., Chicago
  • Post #42 - October 9th, 2006, 5:51 am
    Post #42 - October 9th, 2006, 5:51 am Post #42 - October 9th, 2006, 5:51 am
    Is the polenta app at terra g available during lunch?
  • Post #43 - October 9th, 2006, 6:25 am
    Post #43 - October 9th, 2006, 6:25 am Post #43 - October 9th, 2006, 6:25 am
    bnowell724 wrote:Is the polenta app at terra g available during lunch?


    Terragusto changes their menu rather often. If you are looking for a specific item, I'd call first.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #44 - June 7th, 2007, 11:20 pm
    Post #44 - June 7th, 2007, 11:20 pm Post #44 - June 7th, 2007, 11:20 pm
    I'm deliberately posting in the more positive of the two Terragusto threads, since the other one veers into left field after a report on a nonrefundable reservation deposit, which is certainly not the current policy.

    In fact, we received remarkably little attitude or pretention tonight; a table reserved for 6:30 was ready just then, and I was greeted, seated, and watered before my friend even arrived from the windy evening. We did receive a polished introduction to organic, sustainable, local produce-based dining, but only at our request, and it was delivered earnestly and pleasantly.

    The June tasting menu did not seem unreasonable to me - $36 per person for sharing two antipasti, two pastas, and one iron-pot entree, or $28 for two antipasti and two pastas. The portions were decent, the flavors were bright and fresh, and the plates were accompanied by good bread, lightly cured olives and oil, and a large bottle of San Pellegrino.

    We started with a shaved asparagus and prosciutto salad, dressed simply in white vinegar and olive oil, and a steaming bowl of mussels. For its size and basic ingredients, the salad would not have been a good value a la carte, but was very nice in the context of this meal. The mussels were large and meaty, and if retaining a little too much of their seafood tang, left behind an excellent broth including white beans, chard, crouton, and garlic.

    The pastas were delectable and worthy of their reknown. The Bolognese was pure Emiliano-Tuscano, and reminded me of the best plate from a meal at the Villa Sassolini agriturismo outside of Chianti a few years ago. The different cuts of meat came through strongly, each seared to just the right edge before being pulled or chopped for the sauce. With egg-rich housecut tagliatelle and pecorino this dish was the night's clear victor.

    Large semolina diamonds formed a rustic baked gnocchi under a glaze of grape tomatoes, cream, and a generous handful of fresh basil; salty and butter-laden, the gnocchi served less as its own dish and more as a condiment for finishing the Bolognese and the vegetables from our final plate, the roasted chicken with green beans and tomatoes. The chicken was a carefully deboned skin-on thigh crisped to perfection; I longed for some citrus to cut the last morsels but was otherwise extremely pleased.

    Coffee and a simple maple panna cotta with raw apple slivers capped off a very nice meal. I marveled at the total absence of any spices that were not freshly picked and shredded generously over the dishes; sea salt, basil, and sage was about the extent of the seasoning (with garlic, oil, and cheese, of course), which really let the produce shine through. I know I'll be back with an extra bottle of white, probably for the two-course pasta-based tasting, asking for extra bread and olives, since each of the meats (pork loin and skirt steak were unavailable, so our choices were just trout or chicken) is prepared in the same manner for now.

    I think you actually get more farmers'-market variety of vegetables and meats at Terragusto than at many of the little inns I've encountered in Italy, and certainly a lighter touch with the seasoning. I found the meal very refreshing on a warm night (hard to say for most Italian places in the city) and at the right pricepoint for the quality. We stayed for almost three hours and perceived no rush or particular din - it was loud, but still conversation-friendly.
  • Post #45 - June 8th, 2007, 6:28 am
    Post #45 - June 8th, 2007, 6:28 am Post #45 - June 8th, 2007, 6:28 am
    Santander wrote:I'm deliberately posting in the more positive of the two Terragusto threads, since the other one veers into left field after a report on a nonrefundable reservation deposit, which is certainly not the current policy.

    In fact, we received remarkably little attitude or pretention tonight; a table reserved for 6:30 was ready just then, and I was greeted, seated, and watered before my friend even arrived from the windy evening. We did receive a polished introduction to organic, sustainable, local produce-based dining, but only at our request, and it was delivered earnestly and pleasantly...

    Just speculating, but there might be a connection between the two threads, with some sort of homeostasis having taken place in the restaurant as a direct result of the former reservations policy and attitude--those things having driven away just enough customers for the restaurant to find its proper level. That may or may not be what the management intended, but it sounds like what it has achieved. If this mechanism is what took place, then the dissemination of information in the other thread may not be so "left field" as you say--it may be that you can thank it for the experience you had.

    I haven't been to Terragusto, and the reason is that I was turned off by what was written here about the reservations policy, etc. Now I'm turned on again, and may go. Thanks for the report.
  • Post #46 - June 8th, 2007, 6:44 am
    Post #46 - June 8th, 2007, 6:44 am Post #46 - June 8th, 2007, 6:44 am
    riddlemay wrote:I haven't been to Terragusto, and the reason is that I was turned off by what was written here about the reservations policy, etc. Now I'm turned on again, and may go. Thanks for the report.

    Riddlemay,

    I've been once, but my initial visit was such that, while overall I liked the place, I was not in any hurry to return and have not been back. Like you I feel motivated for a revisit by Santander's positive post.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #47 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:10 pm
    Post #47 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:10 pm Post #47 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:10 pm
    I am posting this because a long-time customer & loyal friend has been bugging me for a month to sign up & respond to some of the inaccuracies being spun into deeper & deeper fiction. I have been the Chef & Managing Partner at Terragusto since we opened early in 2006 and as a professional, I do not participate in the exchange of subjective interpretations of restaurant experiences, and as a veteran I ignore both critics & praise alike and just focus on doing what I do best - food. My integrity & passion do not change based on the whims of the few. I have made this one exception based on the loyal nature of my patron.

    My customer was upset because she was trying to gather a small group of fellow LTH members for an evening at my reataurant & 2 of them turned her down because of inaccurate information. She was very unhappy by the responses when she tried to point out the inaccuracies & insisted that I correct the misinformation.

    The easiest one first - we DO NOT require any deposit to eat at Terragusto unless you "buy out" the entire restauarant. Secondly, I will always seat a customer if I am able - we book tables every 30 minutes so even if we appear slow, our little place usually fills in less than an hour with reservations and I don't believe anyone can eat a proper meal in less than 1 hour. In fact we allow every diner at least 2 hours to enjoy their experience, even though few take as long as that. I have been told by many a well meaning fellow restauranteur that we could "really pack 'em in" if we didn't take reservations and just went to the "cattle call" seating.

    For any other questions, quick and easy answers can usually be found on our website terragustocafe.com. (since you're already on-line)

    Now if you will indulge me... When we opened our 30 seat mom & pop neighborhood joint we decided to focus on the food to call attention to our passionate support of local, sustainable agriculture in the hopes that you would support it too. We have endeavored to recreate the simple trattoria experience of Italy - high quality repast without the frills of the big city ristorante. Hence, our version of the opposite of fine dining - waitstaff in jeans, no fancy art, no intimidating wine list, no stemware, no table linens, eclectic music that changes often, no fancy anything really. Just a focus on producing the best food we can in a casual atmosphere. We do ask that you listen to our 1-2 minute spiel about what sets us apart from the "red sauce" shops and if that ultimately makes or breaks your experience you're too snooty for us and will end up elsewhere anyway.

    We have met with a fair amount of success and grown up quickly. The manager who helped up us open was let go for not understanding that we strive to provide the opposite of my pretentious Spiaggia & Trattoria No. 10 background. Now my wife & I handle all the FOH management, and I can assure you we are anything but haughty. In actuality, I feel like I spend all day every day apologizing for our success as the reservations continue to flood in for farther & farther into the future and the list of last minute callers & wait-list hopefuls grows and grows. Each week we honestly turn away one guest for every guest we can seat and that number unfortunately continues to grow to my great distress.

    I am gratified & puzzled that our little shop elicits so many hours of on-line dialogue when we have never pitched a story to a publication or even paid for advertising. Our business has really grown very organically - friends bring in friends who bring in friends. The Check Please effect has dried up to a trickle over the year since the 3 crazy weeks after our episode first aired last October. Almost every night is booked, and I know and recognize most of the names on the sheet as regulars who are bringing in friends or relatives.

    If I may offer one tidbit - even though blogs by nature are built on opinion rather than facts, to prevent the on-line dialogue from verging on pontification, it might help if at least one person in each discussion used the telephone or some other out-moded resource to check the quasi-"facts" so as not to appear too foolish when the real facts do finally come out.

    Thank You for your time - I will not visit this site or post again, so please come talk to me at the shop - have at it.
    Last edited by theo on October 22nd, 2007, 11:57 pm, edited 6 times in total.
  • Post #48 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:28 pm
    Post #48 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:28 pm Post #48 - October 22nd, 2007, 11:28 pm
    Man, I'm sympathetic to you theo, especially with that first poster on the other thread.

    But the tone in this post, and the clear indications that you will not read the responses and will not respond to questions, have really turned me off from your restaurant.

    And I say that having no opinion about the place until now.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #49 - October 23rd, 2007, 5:36 am
    Post #49 - October 23rd, 2007, 5:36 am Post #49 - October 23rd, 2007, 5:36 am
    It must be time for a battery check. I found the tone of the post to be very open, gracious and conciliatory. I read Theo's post as saying he would respond to questions in person(or on the phone.)

    Your post is the antithesis of Theo's. It is proof positive that Theo is correct in not responding to individual posts. Your post is a set up for an online pissing match. If you have questions, give him a call, ask the questions, and post it yourself.
  • Post #50 - October 23rd, 2007, 6:01 am
    Post #50 - October 23rd, 2007, 6:01 am Post #50 - October 23rd, 2007, 6:01 am
    funkyfrank wrote:It must be time for a battery check. I found the tone of the post to be very open, gracious and conciliatory. I read Theo's post as saying he would respond to questions in person(or on the phone.)


    I agree, I took it the same way in that he'd rather address situations in person or by phone.
  • Post #51 - October 23rd, 2007, 8:48 am
    Post #51 - October 23rd, 2007, 8:48 am Post #51 - October 23rd, 2007, 8:48 am
    Theo has edited the post six times since I replied. Needless to say, what is now up is not entirely similar to what was up when I replied.

    Makes me wish I'd quoted the original.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #52 - October 23rd, 2007, 8:50 am
    Post #52 - October 23rd, 2007, 8:50 am Post #52 - October 23rd, 2007, 8:50 am
    gleam wrote:Makes me wish I'd quoted the original.


    I find that this is usually a good way to ensure your responses continue to be comprehensible.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #53 - October 23rd, 2007, 9:47 am
    Post #53 - October 23rd, 2007, 9:47 am Post #53 - October 23rd, 2007, 9:47 am
    gleam wrote:Theo has edited the post six times since I replied. Needless to say, what is now up is not entirely similar to what was up when I replied.

    Makes me wish I'd quoted the original.


    So much for never returning.
  • Post #54 - October 23rd, 2007, 12:29 pm
    Post #54 - October 23rd, 2007, 12:29 pm Post #54 - October 23rd, 2007, 12:29 pm
    JLenart wrote:
    gleam wrote:Theo has edited the post six times since I replied. Needless to say, what is now up is not entirely similar to what was up when I replied.

    Makes me wish I'd quoted the original.


    So much for never returning.


    Six times within the hour it was posted, and only Gleam posted before the last edit. (On the other thread, edited four times and two posts between the original and the last edit.)

    He hasn't been back. From the way some folks are reacting, I'm not surprised. I find a lot of the reactions in these threads to be knee-jerk and petty. Fortunately, there's a lot of counter-balance, as Mike G noted on one of them, but people really seem quick to judge.

    The fact that he edited his post a few times might serve as a reminder to all of us to consider our words carefully and only post when we feel that we are adding something of value.
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #55 - October 23rd, 2007, 1:43 pm
    Post #55 - October 23rd, 2007, 1:43 pm Post #55 - October 23rd, 2007, 1:43 pm
    theo wrote:and as a veteran I ignore both critics & praise alike and just focus on doing what I do best - food. My integrity & passion do not change based on the whims of the few.


    theo wrote:We do ask that you listen to our 1-2 minute spiel about what sets us apart from the "red sauce" shops and if that ultimately makes or breaks your experience you're too snooty for us and will end up elsewhere anyway.


    Hello all,

    I've actually posted on the other thread about my particular experience at Terragusto. However, I would like to point out to you the two things above in Theo's post. They both indicate a basic misunderstanding of how a service business operates.

    On the first comment he makes, he's right to ignore a couple of comments that may be similar. However, you have to take notice if those comments continue to come in. The LTH board isn't like Metromix. There's actually real people with real insight on this board helping each other have the best experience they can. If there are a lot of similar comments on this board, Theo would be wise to take notice.

    On the second comment, that's just plain arrogance. He's getting snooty telling you that if you don't like hearing how they're not snooty, then it's you that's snooty. What the heck kind of reverse logic is that?

    All the best,
    John
    John Danza
  • Post #56 - November 23rd, 2007, 11:10 pm
    Post #56 - November 23rd, 2007, 11:10 pm Post #56 - November 23rd, 2007, 11:10 pm
    If I can bring this conversation back to the food for a moment...

    I dined at Terragusto tonight with a party of three, and was a last-minute caller who happened to snag a spot left by a cancellation. Theo was a perfect gentleman on the phone, even informing me that I'd need to leave a little extra time if I was driving, as the sidewalk had just been torn up.

    My party (of three) arrived about ten minutes early, in fact, but we were seated immediately and brought ice water and had our wine opened as the maitre d' apologized that we would have to wait a few minutes for a server to become free. However, our waitress was there almost immediately and, even though we said we'd never eaten there before, the "spiel" she gave us was in fact quite brief and entirely appropriate to the menu.

    And once we got our food (which didn't come out in a flash, but I actually appreciated that they gave us time to converse and drink some wine), the experience just got better and better. The antipasti were great, with the polenta al forno con patate e whatever the Italian for Brussels sprouts is being truly stupendous (though of course a little melted truffled fontina never hurts). The primi were utter perfection; I had the bolognese al forno, which was creamier and less meaty than I was expecting but still lovely; my girlfriend had ripiene with pumpkin and squash filling that she raved about (I had only a tiny bite, and don't love squash puree as a rule); but the star was my father's simply prepared pappardelle with a pork ragu. The pasta had more flavor than the sauce, but the balance was perfect and the texture unbelievable. Simply amazing.

    We got two meats, since we were three and not two, so the value for the night was excellent. The roasted chicken was delicious, so good that I didn't even care that it was my fourth meal of poultry in a row, though I was not in love with the pork loin which, while it was moist and perfectly done, had an odd metallic taste.

    We finished it up with the best panna cotta I've ever had, whether in Italy or elsewhere: maple flavored, with julienned apple on top. Divine.

    At approximately $40/person ATAT, I can't find a single negative thing to say. The food was out of this world, the service unobtrusive but responsive, and the FOH friendly and accommodating. I will be returning, soon and often.
  • Post #57 - November 24th, 2007, 6:13 am
    Post #57 - November 24th, 2007, 6:13 am Post #57 - November 24th, 2007, 6:13 am
    conor610 wrote:At approximately $40/person ATAT, I can't find a single negative thing to say. The food was out of this world, the service unobtrusive but responsive, and the FOH friendly and accommodating. I will be returning, soon and often.

    Conor,

    Happy to read a positive post in the Terragusto thread. I have not been in quite a while and was just thinking I should go back for a meal.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Terragusto
    1851 W Addison St
    Chicago, IL 60613
    773-248-2777
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #58 - November 24th, 2007, 9:26 pm
    Post #58 - November 24th, 2007, 9:26 pm Post #58 - November 24th, 2007, 9:26 pm
    conor610 wrote:...even though we said we'd never eaten there before, the "spiel" she gave us was in fact quite brief and entirely appropriate to the menu...At approximately $40/person ATAT, I can't find a single negative thing to say...

    One possibility (it occurs to me) is that Terragusto (despite protestations from the owner to the contrary) has paid attention to complaints on this board and fixed things it was doing wrong.
  • Post #59 - November 28th, 2007, 12:11 pm
    Post #59 - November 28th, 2007, 12:11 pm Post #59 - November 28th, 2007, 12:11 pm
    From a Craig's List post in the food/bev employment ads (emphasis added by me):
    Terragusto is hiring experienced line cooks and prep cooks as we are expanding to a second location.
  • Post #60 - January 1st, 2008, 12:51 pm
    Post #60 - January 1st, 2008, 12:51 pm Post #60 - January 1st, 2008, 12:51 pm
    Four of us went to Terragusto for the New Years Eve six-course Gala Tasting Menu. It was wonderful (and an incredible bargain). The dishes my fiance and I shared were:

    1. Assagnini: for the table, an plate of mozzarella, house-smoked ham, marinated zuccini, marinated mushrooms, beets, grilled bread, olives. Wonderful beginning to a meal.

    2. You had a choice among six antipasti. We had chilled Main lobster tossed with oranges, tomatoes, mint and olive oil; and truffled fontina cheese-filled pasta pockets with brussel sprout leaves in a rich chicken broth. Both were great, but we especially loved the soup.

    3. A choice from four pasta dishes: we had the swiss chard tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce and "bishop's hat" stuffed with roasted butternut sqaush & acorn squash with sage, brown butter & crushed amaretti. Both were excellent but the Bolognese was out of sight.

    4. Fish: we had an olive oil poached Mediterranean Orata and seared jumbo diver sea scallops. These were the only dishes of the evening that didn't impress. The scallops seemed a bit overcooked.

    5. Meat: we had an incredible grass-fed beef skirt steak and also a Gunthrorp Farms roasted pork loin.

    6. Dessert: We finished with a maple pana cotta with apple-walnut salad, and a warm vanilla pound cake bread pudding with minted berry compote.

    Overall, it was wonderful. Service was outstanding. All of this cost $85 per person, inclusive of tap and tip and also seemed to include a few large bottles of water. As always, Terragusto is a BYOB and we brought a selection of wine and beer.

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