Just like when I go down South, when I go visit my father-in-law … there are some local restaurants in the greater Chicago area that I absolutely MUST visit. As I said, Quonset Hut is definitely one of them … and so is Saluto’s Italian!
Saluto’s is a family-run restaurant, and the care they take with each entree is evident on your plate. The food is always hot and fast–despite the fact that they stay busy–and the selections you can find on their menu include lots of Italian standards … along with quite a few novel approaches to pasta and sauce.
I usually have the salad with my meal at Saluto’s. Their salad is legendary: fresh greens, cheese, olives, tomatoes, onions, pepperoncini peppers, and a pesto-based dressing that would even be excellent on a rusted car bumper … much less on a great salad. However, my throat was still a little sore, thanks to all the pollen I encountered down South … so I decided to have the soup instead: an excellent homemade minestrone.
A couple of times, I looked longingly at the salads others were eating (only because I really love it … I even make a version of their dressing at home) … but my soup was an excellent substitute for their crispy salads. It was hot, salty and flavorful, which is the absolute best thing you can spoon into yourself when you have a sore throat and itchy sinuses. It was an excellent way to soothe my throat … and wake my taste buds up for my main course.
And what a main course it was
There are probably no less than 20 different dishes I could enjoy at Saluto’s … but I always keep going back to the same dish: Rotolo
I first had Rotolo at my brother-in-law’s wedding … and–even though I’d eaten it several times since then–I can’t ever seem to get enough of it. I also don’t claim to be an Italian food expert … but I’ve never seen Rotolo on any other menu.
Saluto’s makes their Rotolo from scratch, much like many of their other signature dishes. They start with a thick, fresh pasta sheet, and layer it with chopped spinach, thin-sliced prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan. They roll it up, a la jelly roll style, tie it … and then poach it until it’s cooked through. From there, they slice it into 3/4-inch rounds … bake it … and then serve it with their dense homemade alfredo sauce.
I know. You gained five pounds just reading that description. But that’s okay. It is, quite simply, awe-inspiring … even with all those calories!
Final score: Saluto’s deserves an A, period! They’ve never disappointed me or my tastebuds … ever! In fact, I’m eating my leftovers for lunch soon (probably Saturday), and I’ll probably take a half gallon of their salad dressing home with me when I go, too … simply because we love it so much!