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Chicago-style Italian Beef hits Connecticut

dirwuf May 6, 2011 11:47 AM

ReNapoli Pizzeria & Chicago Italian Beef
216 Sound Beach Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT
http://www.renapoli.com/

As a transplanted Chicagoan, I was excited yet skeptical about the prospect of an east coast beef...but I am happy to report that it was much, much better than I expected. To be honest, I was just hoping for something serviceable as I don't know of another place within 500 miles that serves the sandwich, but my craving was more than quenched and I will be a regular.

The beef was high-quality, properly prepared, tasty and juicy enough to satisfy even my beef-savy palate. The giardiniera peppers were indistinguishable from Chicago's finest, but I recommend for newbies to order them 'on the side' so you can determine how much to put on the sandwich. My only quibble is that the roll was not quite authentic, but was close enough not to detract from my enjoyment.

Overall I'd say it was better than 75% of the beef sandwiches I had in Chicago...I just prey that the dish catches on and more places put it on the menu. The chef told me it's their best-selling item, so I'm excited.

Now all they need is a picture of Mike Ditka on the wall...

 
  1. k
    kwhitehead May 8, 2011 06:22 PM

    I was just having a italian beef conversation with another Chicago transplant just the other day. It's really the only Chicago food that I miss. The Chicago pizza is a gloopy mess and I don't eat hot dogs but I do miss the beef. Just wondering if the offer up a "cheesy beef?"

    This is a pretty bold move. I work in Greenwich so I'll have to shoot up that way for lunch some day. Thanks for the tip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kwhitehead
      dirwuf May 8, 2011 07:33 PM

      Yeah, there is a "Cheesy Beef", but I've never been a fan of that....

    2. cardiak May 8, 2011 09:06 PM

      I can't wait to try this. I saw they have an extensive pizza menu and they sound really serious about their pies, has anyone tried the pizza there?

      3 Replies
      1. re: cardiak
        f
        food4mood May 10, 2011 05:10 AM

        mildly serious i would say. its basically an italian restaurant with 4 seats.

        1. re: food4mood
          dirwuf May 10, 2011 09:09 AM

          What does that have to do with the quality?

        2. re: cardiak
          j
          Johnct May 12, 2011 01:05 PM

          I have tried their Pizza Napoletana (margherita), the NY Pie(cheese), and the Sicilian Pie. Overall I think their NY Pie is their best pie. The crust has the slight/med chew that you would expect from a NY pie. The Napoletana pie out of thier "Cirigliano" oven had some char on the outer crust, but the bottom crust of the pie was limp and somewhat soggy - disappointed. I may give it another try as they learn to use the ovens better. The sicilian pie I had delivered and that was a mistake since the box they use is not high enough to support the thickness of the pie - and therefore the cheese sticks to the top of the box. They use the plastic spaces but, once you close the box it just buries them into the cheese. The crust could be a little thinner - which would give it a little more density - which it needs. Overall I think this place has promise - as Greenwich is a wasteland for Pizza. Going to try the Italian Beef Sandwiches next.

        3. b
          Builder3 May 12, 2011 10:00 AM

          Spicier than I had anticipated but very good. Thanks for the tip.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Builder3
            c
            cubanat May 14, 2011 06:59 PM

            Is it as good as a double dipped portillos?

            1. re: cubanat
              dirwuf May 14, 2011 07:46 PM

              Just had the beef again, and can't rave about it enough...have taken 5 other Chicago transplants and they all love the sandwich.

              1. re: dirwuf
                l
                lunabug May 18, 2011 05:38 PM

                Thanks for the tip. My husband is a Chicago boy and a chef with fond memories of the fabled Italian Beef - he has tried recreating this delicacy to no avail. The closest he's come to having it in recent years was when a friend had the sandwich makings overnighted to him from Gino's in Chicago for a recent big birthday. Very yummy, but it will be great to try it fresh.

                1. re: lunabug
                  c
                  cubanat May 31, 2011 01:24 PM

                  We tried it this weekend and all I have to say is WOW. That was for the pizza. We got the Pizza Margerita under the Napoletana section. Simple and delicious.

                  The Spag & Meatballs for child was superb. Light meatball and nice sauce.

                  Went for the beef and I would give it an 80%. For certain satisfied the craving. The bread was lousy though and I ordered it "soaked" which it could have used a "double" dip in my opinon. The giardinarira was spicy and a bit more spicy then typical I would say. The au jus/gravy was a bit on the light side but it was nice & sloppy. Portillo's it ain't but it beef wise it was tasty. I would love for them to open in Westchester -- I could see it doing well in Rye Brook, Port Chester, maybe Eastchester...

          2. j
            jenjunum Jun 1, 2011 08:51 PM

            My husband thanks you.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jenjunum
              cardiak Jun 17, 2011 09:30 PM

              I've had the beef sandwich a couple times now, as well as a couple of slices of pizza (haven't gotten a full pie yet).

              Very pleased with the beef sandwich; the only gripe I can see is that I did find one of the times I got the sandwich, that it may have been oversalted, but the other times it was fine.

              And I agree with the comments on both the spiciness of the giardiniera and them holding back on the gravy dip.

              After the first time, I noticed that they now ask everyone "are you sure" types of questions when they get the spicy giardineira.

              I've got it Juicy the first time, and Soaked all the other times, and maybe it's the 5min ride home that's killing it, but even the Soaked ones are just wet, not dripping.

              As for the pizza, when you go on their website, they talk big about their ingredients, oven temps, flour types, proofing methods, etc. Frankly, I was expecting to be a little more impressed by their pizza.

              I still reserve final judgment since I've only gotten single slices there so far, and that's obviously not the pizza at its best, but still; they're charging a whole heckuva lot for their pizza, it better be damned good.

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