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Classic old-school Italian-American, complete with roving musicians, shrimp de jonghe, and flaming desserts.

Our Review

Tuxedo-clad hosts, strolling musicians, no-nonsense pours at the convivial bar—Sabatino’s old-school Italian-American appeal is universal, as evidenced by the happy throngs. Warm, crusty loaves and addictive pizza bread come to the table in a blink of an eye, though go cautiously—dinners include soup (stracciatella with spinach is a favorite), salad, and a side of pasta. Terrific starters include garlicky shrimp de jonghe (a Chicago original), textbook baked clams, and bresaola, razor-thin air-cured beef with arugula and Parmigiano Reggiano. Pastas range from spaghetti with Angelo’s special meat sauce to zuppa di mare, a lovely mix of lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams, calamari, and mussels in a light tomato sauce with linguine. For secondi, fresh fish, simply prepared, or veal, in particular veal saltimbocca, are good choices; me, I hit the classics, chicken Vesuvio, a veal chop, or thick-cut New York strip. Flaming tableside desserts, quickly becoming a lost art, are a specialty; here are anachronistic delights like baked Alaska and cherries jubilee. The interesting wine list ranges from damn reasonable to three rings and more (the ancient cash register at the bar totes a maximum of $49.99 at a time), and that's not to mention the veteran waitstaff, complimentary valet parking, Wednesday lobster special, and sing-along piano player on weekends.

Gary Wiviott

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Price: $$
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