Primo in Gurnee (IL.) — a primo lunch spot

Italian restaurants always worry me these days, not because I don;t love Italian food, but because my post-angioplasty diet means I shouldn’t eat regular pasta, or any sauces that are high in sodium. So when a friend suggested meeting for lunch at Primo in Gurnee, Il., not far from the Great America amusement park, I was apprehensive.

Octopus and potatos at Primo's. Bravo!
Octopus and potatos at Primo’s. Bravo!

My fears were misplaced, however. First we were told the minestrone soup for the day was low-sodium, I cannot remember when I’ve been told that in a restaurant before. I did not try it, but did yet the octopus appetizer, along with a half-dozen oysters, for a seafood lunch.

The menu said the octopus came with roasted potatoes, but it didn’t describe that the two would be mixed together along with arugula on a serving board. The combination of fingerling potatoes pieces and pieces of octopus, taken in the same bite, was just wonderful, the potato heightening the flavor of the octopus.

The portion was a generous one as well, for something listed as an appetizer. It was a delightful dish.

Oysters at Primo...what is that in the middle?
Oysters at Primo…what is that in the middle?

The oysters tasted fresh and flavorful, the menu listed the variety as chef’s choice, I’m guessing they were West Coast since they were less salty than many East coast varieties I grew up with. A small cup of something was in the middle of the oyster plate. It seemed to have ice chunks in it, even the waitress didn’t know what it was. Tasting it after the ice had melted, I decided it was some sort of vinegar mixture for the oysters. The oysters didn’t need it.

Others at the table got a crispy goat cheese that looked very interesting, if you can eat cheese, give that a try. No one seemed to get any Italian dish, I’m afraid, so I couldn’t sample any pasta to see how the place handled that.

Primo’s is large and was not overly busy on the rainy afternoon we went, a perfect place for a business luncheon or a get-together with friends when you want to be able to talk without shouting to each other.

Bravo Primo’s, next time I’m in the far northern suburbs of Chicago, I’ll stop in again.



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