Restuarant: Terragusto |
Address: 1851 W. Addison, Chicago, IL, 60613 |
Phone: 773.248.2777 |
It’s been a love fest at Gluttons lately. Not a single pan this summer. We’ve got more thumbs-up on this site than an orgy at Tom Cruise’s house. More propers than a finishing school. More shine than a speakeasy.
And the love doesn’t stop with this post. Not when we gorged ourselves on the tasting menu at Terragusto Tuesday night. Not when, at the end of the night, when our sup had been taken, our meat-sweat-soaked brows cast a bedazzling glow that wrapped our gluttonous crew in what can only be described as The Rapture But With More Butter And The Slightest Hint of Nausea From Overeating. No, sir. It’s official: Gluttons wants to break off a piece of Terragusto.
Now, Terragusto gets press for its homemade pasta and emphasis on local and organic ingredients, and this is as it should be–their shit is fresh as hell here. Usually, though, when restaurants do the local/organic thing they don’t encouraging overeating. Moderation typically rules the day in these places. But not at Terragusto. You best turn your hypothalamus off, because these mu’fuckers are gonna serve you a bargeload of food.
I suppose if you just order an entrée off the regular menu this may not be true. But there’s no reason to do this. Either opt for the Italian meal, which gets you a salad, an appetizer, and a shared portion of meat, or choose the Chef’s Tasting Menu, as we did. I ate so much food my esophagus looked like a losing game of Tetris. I was coughing up L-shaped pieces of pasta well into the next day.
Here’s what we ate. Let’s start from the top, shall we?
First off, a double dip of crostini, both top-notch. One with super-fresh tasting mozzarella and pesto, the other with a creamy smoked trout spread, drizzled with olive oil. Both on bread that crunched but did not crack. Both phenomenal. The mozzarella I’d eat by the handful on like a cruise ship or some white pants event; the trout’d keep me at a Sunday football buffet well into the second half.
"Crostini" is an Italian word that translates roughly to "An open-faced sandwich for adults."
Next up, salads. One was mostly dark greens with prosciutto and parmesan, while the other was dark greens, shaved zucchini, and more parmesan. There were other things in this salad but I can’t recall them right now. I think I remember tasting fennel in one of them. A more careful reviewer would probably keep notes on this sort of thing. But then again, a more careful reviewer wouldn’t have split $23 worth of Taco Bell with a fellow glutton at 2 AM last night either, so there. They were really good, though, the salads. I’ve been putting parmesan on all my salads since.
Salads made with local greens picked from a crack in the sidewalk along Damen Ave.
The next round featured super-rich polenta with buffalo mozzarella, basil, and tomato. Oh my god is this polenta amazing. Dry polenta is barely worth looking at, but when it’s like this, like a butter/corn/something cake, I wanna take some home and try planting it in the ground. Someone needs to organize a prizefight between this polenta and these tamales. A corn-product battle royale. I’d put my money on the polenta. (No offense, humble but delicious tamale.)
Also in this round, a four-cheese ravioli with walnuts and sage. The walnuts saved this dish, which otherwise would have been slightly dry. Good, but next to the polenta, well, it didn’t stand a chance.
Polenta: The Corn Supremecy
Dear, Walnuts: I love you. Love, John.
At this point, belts were already beginning to strain. The check engine light wasn’t on yet, but times was getting tough. And then our waiter (who was fantastic, btw) dropped off two of the densest bowls of pasta I’ve ever eaten. And like the little goldfish we are, we lapped it up.
One was a black ribbon pasta cooked with squid ink (actually cuttlefish, the sous chef told us later) and shrimp. Ahem, skrimps. I’m still getting dogged for worriedly scarfing the shrimp straight from the bowl so they didn’t go to waste at the end of the night. But those is skrimps, joe: they ain’t gonna eat theyselves!
And then a white sauce beef dish that I believe was tagliatelle bolognese but I can’t be sure. My eyes were barely open at this point. Whatever we’re calling it, though, it was fist-pumping awesome. Very rich–hamburger helper on crack, someone called it–and creamy. This is the food item I’d serve someone before a swim if I was trying to drown them. The iridium of the food world.
If only all secretions were as delicious as the cuttlefish's.
A noodle being put to it's highest and best use.
Okay, so here’s the point where the guilt started to kick in. We’d already eaten far more than our fair share of food, and then we get hit with the topper: roast lamb and beef steak. Our waiter may as well have told us, “I know you’ve just wolfed down enough cream and butter to put ancient Rome to shame, but you know what, here’s two huge plates of straight-up meat, a little fuck you to starving people everywhere.” But guilt is for Catholics and Germans, so fuck it, we ran that shit.
Oh, and it was delightful! The lamb was a beautiful, fat-laden slab of meat that shredded at the mere shadow of a fork. It tasted like my grandma’s pot roasts back in the day, salty, juicy goodness with crispy edges and skin you fight over.
The steak tasted like movie theater popcorn, no shit. One bite in, I was like Alright, alright. Two bites in, I was like Damn, this tastes like movie theater popcorn, but in steak form. Three bites in, I was like No, seriously, what the fuck is this and why am I only now eating this for the first time? I like my steak done rare or medium-rare, depending on the cut. This steak was nowhere near either of those and still I couldn’t get enough of it. The secret’s got to be the butter.
The lamb of God.
Shhhh...just let this sink in.
We finished with coffees and custard, both of which were excellent. Honestly, at that point we were so stuffed I could barely get through two bites of the dessert. And that was perfectly fine with me. I wanted to taste the butter steak well into the night.