Anyone else tried the new Osteria di Tramonto and/or Tramonto's Steak & Seafood in Wheeling? I've been to Osteria about 10 times and the food has been mostly great (with a few service gaffes and minor food mistakes). Terrific pizzas from a huge wood-burning oven and every pasta dish I've tried has been perfectly cooked and sauced. Portions are smaller than traditonal Amer-Italian joints, but larger than high-end places like Spiaggia. I'll take quality over quantity any day. I hope that more places start serving realistically sized portions.
Given the Gale Gand connection, the desserts have been something of a letdown. I actually hated the canoli, the shell was greasy tasting (it seemed like a deep-fried won ton skin) and the filling had an off-flavor to me. The tiramisu was just OK; certainly not as good as Gabriel's in Highwood. The panna cotta was flawless both times I had it, however.
The higher-end steak/seafood place quietly opened last week. It was so good that I went 2 days in a row. I was expecting it to be very expensive, but entrees start at $17. A 6 oz. filet, appetizer and dessert is around $40. They also have the requisite ginormous Chicago-style slabs-o-meat for those so inclined.
No foie gras ban in this place; they'll serve a whole lobe for about $80 (for 4-6 people). Loved the chilled seafood platter; the entry-level one ($15/person) features raw oysters, raw clams, jumbo shrimp and sweet black mussels. Everything was pristinely fresh.
Both places are outfitted in an appropriately extravagant Vegas-ish/North Shorey kind of way (while still stopping short of total ostentation). The ambience will be a huge draw for some and a big minus for others who favor a more "indie" vibe, but the high ceilings and ample space between tables should be appreciated by all. It's very obvious that huge sums of money have been spent...the steakhouse is definitely the most glam of any place in the area.