Gentelin's in Alton, IL
I can now answer my own post because 6 of us went to Gentelin's last night. Bottom line is that it was definitely good enough so that, with Erato in Edwardsville, there are now at least 2 nice restaurants worthy of visiting for dinner without leaving the east side. The space is quite nice with a good view of the Clark Bridge from many of the tables. There's a nice bar at which the drinks are very good. The staff is very, very nice and efficient, particularly the 2 women working behind the bar. I had been concerned because I received a word-of-mouth negative report on the service. On the way out, I did tell the owner - a very charming woman and wife of the chef/co-owner - that I hope the waitstaff learns not to clear until all the diners are finished eating, but that was really the only misstep. On to the food: We were all very pleased. I and one other person had the roast duck entree; it was a half of lightly smoked and then roasted duck. Very crispy and moist. One of the better duck dishes I've had. Good sides as well. The two steak dishes were also very good, one coming with a delicious au gratin potato side. Among the apps, the asian dumplings were very, very good. The only failure was the one dessert that was ordered, which was my panna cotta (and which was the only dessert on last night's specials). They took it back and off the bill without a second thought. The wine list had a few fairly interesting items, though just about all of very recent vintage. A real plus was their providing reserve glassware - large Bordeaux glasses - for the bottle of Ch. Peby Faugeres that I brought to drink with the entrees. Corkage was a very reasonable $10. We also bought a bottle of A to Z pinot noir from the winelist to drink with he starters. We will definitely return to Gentelin's.
Gentelin's is really quite good. I've been to a lot of "trendy" restaurants where the presentation was artistic and awe inspiring, but tasteless. In this case the food is awe inspiring AND tasty! We have really enjoyed Gentelin's. We were there last Saturday night and were disappointed in not having a table in the main room where the view of the bridge is really lovely, (we were in almost a hallway), but then again I called for the reservations only about 3 hours prior.
I do get tired of restaurants, even the finer ones, not really setting a table properly. Most just roll the silverware in the napkin, but even Gentelin's just sets all the silverware on top of the napkin, not the forks to the left and knife and spoon to the right. But I suppose I'm sounding picky and old fashioned.
I highly recommend Gentelin's.