Food & Dining - chicagotribune.com: Phil Vettel recommends

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Food & Dining - chicagotribune.com
Headlines from chicagotribune.com

Phil Vettel recommends
30 Jun 2011, 3:35 pm

Inovasi ✭✭✭ 28 E. Center Ave., Lake Bluff; 847-295-1000. The name is Indonesian for "innovation," and that's pretty much what John des Rosiers delivers in this North Shore gem. Asian, Latin and Mediterranean influences abound in his melting-pot-American menu, where you'll find surprises like walleye sashimi and poached grass carp (plucked from a downstate lake) with chimichurri sauce. The interior decor includes echoes of the building's origins as a 1920s school, very much in character for a forward-looking concept that honors its roots. Recommended: Jackson Pollock foie gras, sweet shrimp in lobster broth, "dueling grains," pork shoulder, Scarborough Fair ice cream. Open: Dinner Monday–Saturday, lunch Monday-Friday. Entree prices: $12-$22. Credit cards: A, DC, DS, M, V. Reservations: Strongly recommended. Noise: Conversation-friendly. Other: Wheelchair accessible.

Abigail's ✭✭ 493 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park; 847-849-1009. The downsides to this 48-seat American restaurant are the lack of reservations (save for the 5-6 p.m. seating) and the extremely loud noise that 48 seated and 24 hopeful diners can create in a small room. Chef/owner Michael Paulsen offers considerable compensation in the form of ingredient-dense but cunningly balanced fare, from daily flatbread pizzas piled high with goodies to memorable fish entrees in a sea of crispy/crunchy/smooth vegetables. Very good service and a smoothly professional hosts (who manage to seat people efficiently and who play fair) are big pluses as well. When summer rolls in and the season renews at Ravinia (about a quarter mile away), this place is even more popular, though sidewalk tables at least boost capacity some. Recommended: Fennel-crusted scallops, Moroccan-spiced whitefish, duck with corn-ricotta ravioli, sticky toffee cake. Open: Dinner Tuesday-Saturday, lunch Tuesday-Friday. Entree prices: $11-$21. Credit cards: DC, DS, M, V. Reservations: Accepted from 5 to 6 p.m. only. Noise: Conversation-challenged. Other: Wheelchair accessible.

Xni-Pec ✭ 3755 Grand Blvd., Brookfield; 708-290-0082. This Yucatecan restaurant moved from Cicero to Brookfield in early 2010 to get closer to its west suburban customer base. It did so on a shoestring budget, so don't come expecting elaborate creature comforts. Do expect interesting, cliche-free Mexican food at very low prices. There is the occasional jolt of spice (the name comes from the Mayan term for "dog nose," a reference to some folks' reaction to hot peppers), but in general the food is gentle on the tonsils. Recommended: Empanada trio, vaporcito, papadzules, mole rojo, pok chuc. Open: Dinner Monday-Saturday. Entree prices: $11-$18. Credit cards: DC, DS, M, V. Reservations: Recommended weekends. Noise: Conversation-challenged. Other: Wheelchair accessible.

Redd Herring ✭ 31 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, 630-908-7295. Roger Herring of Wrigleyville's Socca restaurant set out to create a low-key, family friendly operation in Clarendon Hills, and he has largely succeeded. The menu is familiar and modestly priced (the Allen Bros. steaks excepted), there's a respectable kids' menu in addition to pizza choices and the wood-and-chocolate dining room is cozy and relaxing. The small-capacity dining room tends to fill quickly, even mid-week, so plan accordingly. Recommended: Hen House pizza, mussels in ale, smoked pork chop, short ribs, apple crumble. Open: Dinner Monday-Saturday. Entree prices: $13-$35. Credit cards: A, DC, DS, M, V. Reservations: Strongly recommended. Noise: Conversation-friendly. Other: Wheelchair accessible.

Courtright's ✭✭✭✭ 8989 Archer Ave., Willow Springs; 708-839-8000. A stellar, sophisticated restaurant that radiates country charm, thanks to its tucked-away, forest preserve location, and an Arts & Crafts-style dining room whose picture windows overlook manicured gardens and the untrammeled nature beyond. To that add chef Jerome Bacle (ex-Le Bec Fin), a one-time pastry chef who still likes using fruits and nuts in even his most savory dishes. His Friday themed menus — three courses built around a single ingredient — are cunning and creative and bargains ($35) to boot. Uber-attentive service and a spectacular wine selection push the operation into the realm of the spectacular. And with a la carte and prix-fixe options offered every night, Courtright's is one of the most price-flexible experiences (especially at this level) around. Recommended: Scallops with rhubarb puree, walleye with chorizo-peanut fricassee, butter-poached lobster, angel food cake. Open: Dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Entree prices: $28-$38, five-course tasting menu $75.Credit cards: A, DC, DS, M, V. Reservations: Strongly recommended weekends. Noise: Hushed. Other: Wheelchair accessible, parking lot.

pvettel@tribune.com

Twitter @philvettel

You are receiving this email because you subscribed to this feed at blogtrottr.com.

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, you can unsubscribe from this feed.

No comments:

Post a Comment