Every year, for the past 8 or so years, our group of friends have gathered for a fancy night out in Chicago. It started off as a celebration of Nick’s birthday, but has slowly shifted to just an annual holiday dinner, after the holidays are over. This particular visit was back in January, I’ve just haven’t found time to write about it.
In the past we have gone to such places as David Burke’s Primehouse, Swift & Sons, Maple & Ash, Maestros, Chicago Cut, Del Frisco’s, and more. As you can tell, it’s usually a nicer steakhouse that we end up at, but this year we decided to try the newly opened Gibsons Italia; which does have steak, but I think is more known for their Italian food… none of which anybody ate, so we probably could have just gone to Gibsons Steakhouse.
Gibsons Italia – The Restaurant
The restaurant is located right along the river on Canal St., which provided a great view when eating…. had we been in the normal dining room. Instead, we were in a little “private room”, which was just a section off space around the corner from the main dining room, and while it did have a few of the river, you had to look past the lobby of the building, which was brightly lit and a little distracting. But that’s not to say we didn’t mind the private room. Since our group usually consists of between 10-12 people each year, we tend to end up with the private space at most of the restaurants we’ve been to. And most of them are just jammed in a windowless room, so this was definitely an upgrade.
The restaurant itself is located on the 3rd floor of the building, with the 1st floor being basically just the coat check, the 2nd floor being the bar and bar seating, and the 4th floor being a private event space.
Since the restaurant had just opened, people seemed to be a little confused by a lot of things. Some of our party was told that we could check our coats once we got to the dining area, but really it just made more work for the hostess who had to then take our coats back downstairs to the actual coat check room. We were also told to take the elevator to the 4th floor, which was definitely not right, and security promptly made sure that we did not crash the private event that was going on. But we eventually found the right floor and found our table… oh, and did I mention that the elevator is the slowest elevator on the face of the earth…
Do yourself a favor, take the stairs.
To start, we ordered the Italia Meatballs with Corso ricotta & Pecorino Romano, these were absolutely delicious. I know I’ve been trying to stay away from tomatoes and garlic and onion (which I’m sure were in the meatballs), but I had to try them, and I’m glad I did… they were probably better than my steak, which probably goes to show we should probably have ordered Italian food here, but again, I can’t eat a huge portion of tomato sauce, so I couldn’t have gotten spaghetti and meatballs anyways.
In addition to the meatballs we also got Mozzarella Di Bufala with Avacado, roasted teardrop tomatoes & micro basil, as well as Prosciutto Di San Daniele 24 Months DOP with Dok Dall’Ava, grilled bread & compressed cataloupe. I did not try the Mozzarella Di Bufala, but the Prosciutto was also super delicious.
So in terms of appetizers, I would definitely recommend what we ordered.
Main Entrees and Sides
I will say, that the sides were a bit lacking at Gibsons Italia… We ended up going with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts. And while the mashed potatoes were good, I did not eat the Brussels sprouts… they aren’t my favorite. Most people seemed to enjoy the sides that we got, but nobody was really impressed with the overall selection of sides. We’ve had much better elsewhere.
In terms of entrees, unfortunately I can’t remember what everyone got, but I do know that not a single person got an Italian dish. Pretty much everyone got steak and maybe a side of lobster on some of them. But nobody got pasta, nobody got fish…
I thought the filet that I got was pretty good, not the best filet I’ve had, but it was good. I feel like it may have been a little expensive for what it was, compared to prices and quality at some of the other places we’ve gone to, but it was not bad by any means.
I’ve never been to a Gibsons Steakhouse so I’m not sure if these steaks were exactly the same as what we’d get there, or if they were different due to this place being a little nicer, maybe? I’m not sure, but while it was good, I don’t know that I’d go back and get a steak for that price.
I believe we got three different desserts for the table, but I can’t remember exactly what the names of them were. You can see two of them in the picture below, and honestly, only the chocolate one was anything to write home about, and it was just ok. It didn’t blow me away, but it was much better than whatever the other two desserts we ordered were.
And that’s that…
It was probably our mistake for not ordering anything Italian when we went to Gibsons Italia, but I don’t think that anyone was super impressed with the food we did receive. Like I said, nothing was bad by any means, it just wasn’t as good as we were hoping for. Especially with the hype that had been built up around the restaurant.
Would I give it another shot? I’m not sure… I don’t eat a lot of fish (basically none) and I can’t eat many pasta dishes these days with the food restrictions I have, so I would probably opt for somewhere else if I was able to.
The restaurant itself is beautiful, the staff and service was great (even if they were all over the place a bit), but the food didn’t impress any of us all that much, but again, we may be in the minority due to what we chose to order. I’m sure if you love Italian pasta and seafood, you’ll really enjoy yourself, I just feel that a better steak can be had elsewhere in the city if that’s what you’re looking for.