(Chicago, IL.) - Al Primo Canto, modeled after a beloved type of eatery from southern Brazil - has opened in Edgebrook, a Chicago north side neighborhood.
Known as a galeteria, these restaurants - and now Al Primo Canto - specialize in small, young chickens slow roasted over natural hardwood in a brick oven rotisserie.
"What you will experience is an unbelievable but simple and fresh taste of southern Brazil," says Chef-owner Georges Elbekai, who worked in the culinary and management sides of hospitality. "That's what makes a galeteria so good and such a favorite among the people."
Elbekai became enamored with the galeteria after regular trips to the country with his wife, Maria, and children to visit her side of the family. Galeterias in Brazil are rooted in Italian cuisine, a result of the large influx of Italian immigrants who settled in SÃ£o Paulo and the mountainous countryside. The signature dish of the galeteria is known as galeto al primo canto in reference to the age of the chicken when it reaches the market - a young bird before it learns to crow.
At Chicago's Al Primo Canto, the galeto is seasoned with garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, white wine and a variety of fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary and oregano. The chicken - like the lamb and beef - is slow roasted in a brick-lined, wood-fired rotisserie measuring 25 feet long and 5 feet wide.
Imported in one piece from Brazil, the oven is a symbolic of Elbekai's commitment to authenticity. "This oven is the backbone of Al Primo Canto," he says. "You must have this to be a true galeteria."
Featuring its Brazilian-Italian inspired fare, the Al Primo Canto experience is a set price and endless feast format. For adults, it is $29; children 6 to 12, $12 and complimentary for those under 6, exclusive of tax and gratuity.
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