I had a very good sales month for the month of March - number one in the whole company, a first for me. Considering that I usually have middle of the road numbers compared to the other guys in much larger markets, I was pretty happy with how it ended up. I treated myself to a wonderful dinner at Ristorante DeMarco's in the Chicago suburb of Itasca at the corner of Lake St. and Rohlwing Road (Route 53) just off of Interstate 355 (see map). It's located at the end of a strip mall and I've long gotten over my aversion to restaurants housed in a strip mall. And I'm glad I have.
I've eaten at Ristorante DeMarco's a couple times prior. Once, when I was an area rep for Marantz, their headquarters were located just up the road and a few of us went there for dinner one evening. It was very good. And after Cindy got back from Europe last summer we stopped in for a meal before we drove back home. Both times the food was very good. Expensive, but good.
I was staying in Elmhurst just down the road from Ristorante DeMarco's and I walked in about 8:30. The owner's son, Mike DeMarco, greeted me at the door and I asked him if I could eat at the bar. He said, "You bet, as long as you don't mind that I'll be the one waiting on you."
Ristorante DeMarco's began in 1992 when Jerry and Nancy DeMarco first opened their doors. The menu is fully traditional Italian fare with a number of very fresh ingredients. In the summer time, large barrels of fresh basil grow outside the front of the restaurant.
The dining room is very elegant with linen table cloths and soft lighting. The tables are a little close to one another, but it's still comfortable to dine.
The bar area is pretty large and a number of people were seated there having drinks and dinner. There was a large table of men seated having a good time and being kind of loud. But they weren't bothering me all that much.
I ordered up a glass of wine - a 2002 Sterling Reserve Cabernet - that Mike (who introduced himself to me) highly recommended. I've had it before and it was certainly tasty and robust.
I've had the pasta during both of my previous visits. The white cream sauce they have is excellent. But since it was later in the evening, I decided to get veal that night. I ordered up the Veal Marsala and also got a caprese salad as a starter. Mike had a guy bring out a basket of bread and their wonderful garlic whipped butter. I could just devour the butter, it's so good.
The kitchen has a window by the bar and Mike quickly brought over my caprese salad. The tomatoes were wonderful, as was the buffalo mozzarella. The basil was fresh as were the black olives with the pits still in them. It was great.
About 15 minutes after I finished my salad, I got another glass of wine just in time for the Veal Marsala to be brought out to me. From the first bite, I didn't want the meal to end. The Marsala wine sauce was so full of body and so sweet that it reminded me of maple syrup. God, it was absolutely wonderful! It was topped with fresh cut mushrooms and a small amount of capers. Oh, my God! I have to say it was the best Veal Marsala I've ever had in my life. I'd go back there again and again and again just to get the Veal Marsala.
In fact, it was such a great meal that I actually had an espresso for an after dinner treat. I should know better than that. Espresso or cappucino after 9 p.m. and after a big meal is not a good combination for me. I don't drink coffee and I drink minimal amounts of pop, so the caffiene kicks my butt. I couldn't get to sleep until about 1:30 a.m.
It wasn't a cheap meal by any means - it came to $75 bucks with the two glasses of wine, espresso and tip. (The Veal Marsala was $26.95 and the caprese salad was $11.95.) But it was damn worth it. I certainly wasn't feeling guilty with the company picking up the hefty tab that evening, and my boss didn't mind either.
Now I need to have more months like I had in March so I can go back to Ristorante DeMarcos and have the Veal Marsala again. If I could make that at home, I'd never go out and eat any longer. Ristorante DeMarcos is one of the hidden gems in the western suburbs of Chicago.