The Road to Ravioli

The latest stop on Ian’s Illinois vacation hits close to home.

The toasted ravioli were the most appealing appetizer, though the spinach-artichoke dip was an above-average take on this workhorse, exceptionally creamy. The "Dim Sum" — pork pot stickers — suffered from being coated with a rather simplistic version of the usual dipping sauce.

I would probably need another half-dozen visits to Gentelin's to try the entire menu. There are more than a dozen entrées, including several noted as vegetarian-friendly — a nice touch, as is the ability to add one of the excellent salads to your meal for only two dollars more. The wine list is reasonable, too. I didn't see any bottles over $50, and most of the by-the-glass selections, though unremarkable, are $6.

Desserts include homemade ice creams and sorbets as well as such reliable favorites as molten chocolate cake and bread pudding. The latter was actually my favorite dish at Gentelin's, the moist bread chock full of walnuts, drowned in a decadent caramel-bourbon sauce and topped with fantastic cinnamon ice cream and a crisp tuile.

It's easy to feel at home at Gentelin's  on Broadway.
It's easy to feel at home at Gentelin's on Broadway.

There is a separate bar, which was lively both times I visited. Despite its cosmopolitan look, the restaurant as a whole gives off a definite neighborhood vibe: more than once during my visits, diners wandered away from their tables to greet friends or co-workers eating at other tables. You might not consider Gentelin's destination dining, but should you happen to stop by on your way from the world's biggest macramé cat to the junkyard dinosaur diorama, you'll feel awfully close to home.

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