Five Star Italian

Red Wine and Bread, Staff of LifeThis evening I met with my men’s club. Five of us dined at a new restaurant in Orland park called Ottimo. Originally the building was occupied by a mid-eastern restaurant that was quite interesting. We dined there two years ago. First strike against it was that it didn’t serve alcoholic beverages. Not a good thing for my group. Secondly, we felt we were a part of a some terror group. The clientele were mostly Muslims. Women all around us wore head scarves. A group of dark men sat at a round table in the back smoking a hookah. We don’t know what they smoke in one of those things, but suspect it to be  something mysterious.  The food was mediocre, and the service the same. That’s probably why they are no longer in business.After that evening we vowed never to return.

This evening was another matter. We barely sat down when the waiter brought a loaf of hot bread and a tub of garlic butter as an appetizer. We ordered drinks off an impressive wine list. I started with a Cabernet which arrived quickly. I decided to pass the bread around, and bumped the full  glass of red wine over onto the table and my lap. What a mess. Thankfully, Miguel, our waiter was right there and helped clean up the mess  quickly. He also followed up with a second glass of wine to replace the one I tipped.

Ottimo offers a special on Tuesdays; spaghetti and meat balls. It comes with a garden salad, and served family style. Three of the group opted for the spaghetti. I chose Chicken Marsala. It came with a rich sauce and smothered in mushrooms.  The taste was exquisite.  Sherman ordered mussels over linguine. He has a case for overcooked pasta, but noted that the linguine was cooked to perfection; al dente. I ordered some ravioli with ricotta cheese as a take home for Peggy. She also commented on it’s excellence.

We completed the meal and got the check. Most of the time, the longest part our evening belongs to calculating who pays what. This evening was a little strange, in that we were able to make it work in just a few minutes.  As we waited for Miguel to pick up the check, we expressed a  curiosity as to which part of Italy this style of cooking came from. I hailed the Maitre-‘De over to the table and asked. He told us that it was from southern Italy below Napoli. We then quizzed him about  which part of Italy he came from. It was like twenty questions as we rattled off town names. He kept answering, “further north.”  We ran out of towns and gave up. “Where,” we asked?

“Austria,” he replied. We were in shock. The guy was from Salzburg Austria. He left for a moment and returned with a complimentary after dinner drink of limongello. It was grand.

All in all, we gave this new restaurant five stars. A bit pricey since the menu is a la carte, but well worth the exquisite food.


161st and LaGrange Road

Orland Park, IL