Chef massimo gaffo serves a roman feast at incontro a tavola best steak rub for grilling

This south barrington restaurant itself may not be new, but incontro A tavola’s new chef massimo gaffo is bringing a decidedly roman flair to the menu. Gaffo joined the incontro team in january, bringing along his specialties: signature house-made brass die pasta and risotto cacio pepe prepared in a cheese wheel.

We visited recently for my brother’s birthday and grabbed a large table near the front of the restaurant. It’s a posh place, very elegant with a full bar focusing on cocktails, scotch and wine; modern chandeliers; a large patio outside; and sinatra-style jazz piped in. The menu is a large selection of italian appetizers and entrees, with a rotating specials card.

Our carpaccio was ordered off the specials menu, thin-sliced sirloin served with an arugula salad.Vodka lobster it tasted a bit erratic — some pieces had way too much lemon, some had too much vinegar, and some were great.


The meat itself was very tender and flavorful.

We loved the saffron undertone in the crispy arancini, which was filled with bolognese, peas and mozzarella. The funghi ripieni (mushrooms stuffed with sausage, bread crumbs and cheese) was equally flavorful, with a hint of fennel to balance everything out.

For entrees, we had the vitello modo mio piccata (veal piccata), vodka lobster fettuccine and linguine di mare. We unfortunately didn’t find the chef’s specialty risotto cacio pepe on the menu. The piccata came served with mashed potatoes and spinach, both done well and with flavorful punches.Lobster fettuccine but the veal itself was the star, as expected. It was tender and lightly coated rather than having a thick breading.

Incontro A tavola’s vitello modo mio piccata consists of tender veal scaloppini accompanied by flavorful spinach and mashed potatoes at the south barrington restaurant.

My vodka lobster fettuccine was a special of the night, with the signature homemade pasta. I loved the vodka sauce; it was sweet and tangy, but not overpowering. And the pasta itself was obviously homemade and cooked perfectly. The lobster was a letdown, though. It was completely overcooked and tough.

For the linguine de mare, we ordered it with a garlic white wine sauce. The pasta is served with shrimp, calamari, scallops, clams and mussels, all of which were immaculately cleaned and cooked.Incontro tavola everything seemed very fresh, and the sauce married the entire dish together.

Our reviewer gave a thumbs-up to the sweet and tangy vodka sauce over the homemade pasta in the vodka lobster fettuccine at incontro A tavola.

Though incontro may seem like a fancier restaurant, don’t hesitate to bring your kids. There’s a full kids’ menu, and the tables are covered with paper they can draw on — just bring your own crayons. The waitstaff was excellent with my 7-year-old niece. She didn’t like what she ordered and our waitress instantly got her something else instead, no questions asked. We weren’t charged for the disliked food, either.

We splurged and had one of every dessert (cannoli, tiramisu, flourless chocolate cake, crème brûlée and gelato), plus they made a platter of selections for the birthday at the table.Incontro tavola all were exceptional, but the two major standouts were the cannoli and tiramisu. For the cannoli, the shell was incredibly fresh, not cold or slightly stale like many other restaurants serve. The tiramisu was creamy and fluffy, with a lighter coffee flavor than most to let each part of the dessert stand on its own. I’d go back for the tiramisu alone.

Throughout the meal, service was exceptional. There was a large party in the next room, but we never felt like the staff was stretched thin or struggling to keep up. Our waters were always full, empty plates were cleared right away, and the staff even took the time to chat and joke with us. We were having such a good time that it was hard to leave.Lobster fettuccine

As an after-dinner surprise, the chef came out to greet every table. And we all got a small cordial glass of orangecello — one of his homemade specialties. Make sure to let the flavor linger, closing out your experience with a sweetness designed to reflect the quality of the meal you just had.