What comes from a family of Chicago steakhouses and serves seven-year aged rice? That’d be Gibsons Italia (233 N. Canal St., West Loop), a tri-level bar and restaurant from Gibsons Restaurant Group (its first downtown opening in 12 years), opening today.
The man in the kitchen is José Sosa, a 16-year Chicago restaurant veteran who’s clocked nearly a decade with Gibsons. For the last two years, he trained under chef John Coletta (Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar), soaking up as much of Coletta’s Italian cuisine mastery as possible.
Sosa will cook a menu of Italian dishes and American steakhouse classics conceived by Coletta (who has retired from the Gibsons group and is working on a cookbook, Risotto & Beyond), including four housemade pastas and, of course, steaks. Of the latter, you’ll find Japanese pure Kobe, USDA Gibsons Prime Angus steaks (Gibsons is the only restaurant group in the country to have its own USDA Prime certification), and Australian grass-fed beef (a first for Gibsons).
The aforementioned seven-year aged rice appears as a risotto dish—with baby leeks, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and heavy cream, and topped with sea scallops—that Sosa is pretty psyched about. “This dish is really unique,” he promises.
For desserts, don’t expect Gibsons’ gasp-eliciting offerings: Sosa says it’ll be a whole different concept featuring—get this—“small desserts.” So instead of behemoth slabs of chocolate mousse pie or carrot cake, expect more reasonably sized Meyer lemon torta and extra virgin olive oil cake with minted strawberries—and order up another plate of pasta to compensate.