During one of my semi annual buying trips to Chicago, one of the vendors asked if I wanted to go to the private party his company hosted during the show in a private room at this acclaimed restaurant. I told him, that I personally was not responsible for buying enough products from his firm, so I would feel uncomfortable being a guest at the party as well as for my Bride. I did ask him if he could get me a table at the restaurant and that I would pay my own freight, as I paid for my own dinners on these buying trips, as my dinners far surpassed any per diem for dinner that would be allowable. He made a call and got me a reservation at Gene and Georgetti Restaurant. This is a venerable old school Chicago style steak house.
When my Bride and I got to the restaurant and told the front desk that I had a reservation, they took us to the best table in the house. From our focal point we could observe everyone coming and going in the establishment. We felt like celebrities. I saw vendors and other merchants that I knew from the show being seated at their tables. Several even came over to ask how I rated the table that I was at. The vendor that got me the reservation came down several times from his party to see if I was happy with the food and service. He also told me that he had ordered me a bottle of wine for dinner, and informed me that I must accept it, and he still kept asking me to join his party after dinner, which we declined again. We graciously accepted the bottle of wine.
You must go to this restaurant famished, because you will not believe the quantity and the quality of food that is brought to your table. I was warned by several people that I knew at the show, to only order one salad for the two of us, which we did. This salad is called “the garbage can salad.” Anything and everything can end up on this salad as they are making it in the kitchen. From my vantage point I could see that every salad appeared to be different as they were delivered to the diners. Ours not only was an antipasto style salad, with vegetables, cheeses and different Italian lunchmeats and sausages, but it also had shrimp and crab meat covering the plate. We knew that if we finished the salad, there would be no room for our steaks that would soon be arriving and the steaks were just as large and impressive as the salad was. Believe it or not we even forced ourselves to share a dessert afterwards.
Our host’s gift of wine was a Brunello di Montalcino labeled Altesino 1996 and it paired perfectly with our dinner. It was a classic Italian red wine full of tannin that just demanded a big steak to compliment its flavor. From what the staff told me, it was one of my host’s favorite wines when he is having dinner there, which they told me was quite often. I never saw the wine list from the restaurant, and I am not sure that I would have selected this particular wine from the carte, but I can most assuredly say that I am happy that we had this bottle that night. Before I left the restaurant, I went and stopped at the private party to once again thank him for his graciousness. To this day when I see him or talk to him, I still thank him for what he did for us that evening.