Two new Italian restaurants have opened on Waukegan Road near the center of town during the past couple of weeks. Both newcomers are making an impression on local diners. They join the well-regarded , a favorite with many over the years.
I haven’t tried yet. It’s located at the former Baker Square restaurant next to the Fire Station, but I’m looking forward to dining there soon.
However, wife Dorothy and I enjoyed a delightful lunch with our longtime friends Bill and Janie Seiden at . It just opened this week in the former location of Stoney River in Deerfield Square.
We were greeted warmly upon arrival at the reception desk, and quickly were escorted to our reserved table. The interior walk-through from the front door provided a quick peek at some of the impressive and tasteful changes the new management has made.
A pleasant young man by the name of Kris quickly arrived, identifying himself as our waiter. He politely welcomed us and explained luncheon menus. Kris admitted to a bit of nervousness since he was new to the restaurant business and just learning the rather extensive list of menu items that Chef John Cosnotti was preparing in the kitchen. But he assured us that he was a fast learner and would become better with more experience.
In case you haven’t heard of Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, there are 23 restaurants in 12 states, with seven located within Illinois. The only other one in Lake County is in Deer Park, according to Managing Partner Tom Dierking, who stopped by the table to say hello.
The menu is impressive. They offer a wide choice of excellent luncheon and dinner possibilities catering to most tastes, ranging from appetizers, pizzas, soups, salads and chef specialties from the grill.
The entire menu is available for take-out. They even offer a take-home “Pronto Pack” that includes salads and pastas serving up to five people all for $30. A special events room is also available, ideal for hosting holiday parties.
Dorothy and I started things off with a couple of appetizers. At the suggestion of the waiter, I ordered the stuffed mushrooms seasoned with Italian sausage, spinach, garlic, a splash of white wine, and herbed butter. She ordered the Calamari Fritti, lightly breaded fried calamari, served with a fresh Italian salsa. It is just the ticket for perking up those taste buds.
For the luncheon entre I decided on a Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad. It was outstanding. Large grilled shrimp served with fresh, and I mean very fresh, hearts of romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bacon bits, hearts of palm, sweet corn kernels, pine nuts, hard-boiled egg, and a creamy Parmesan dressing topping it off. All for a reasonable price of $13.99 plus tax and tip.
My wife tried one of the Chef’s Specialties, Saith alla Sardinia. It consisted of fillet of North Atlantic saith flown in fresh from Maine and seared on iron. It was served with a light white wine butter sauce, sautéed shrimp, oven-roasted tomatoes and Kalamata olives, topped with crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil.
Sauted asparagus was served on the side. Dorothy loved it. A glass of house cabernet sauvignon added to the ambiance of the occasion. And for dessert, of course we had to have a favorite of ours, key lime pie.
The Seiden’s decided on the excellent selection of pastas being offered. Janie went for the Butternut Squash Ravioli, and Bill selected Rigatoni alla Bolognese. The servings were so plentiful that we all asked for “doggy bags” to take the leftovers home.
All four of us agreed that Biaggi’s is a great gastronomical addition to Deerfield’s already fine portfolio of quality restaurants. The service was friendly and attentive, the food was promptly served and of excellent quality, and the ambiance of the surroundings was impressive.
We also agreed the prices were equitable in light of the fine quality of the food being served. Biaggi’s has now been added to our “favorites” list for an early return.