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Best Chocolate Eclair

Gourmet Frog does have Napoleons and their eclairs are wonderful. I also love their slices of quiche.

As for eclairs, I found a small bakery next to Curry Hut in Highwood and their eclairs were incredible. Today I picked up a chocolate and a vanilla Napoleon to check them out together with really interesting looking canolis. Definitely worth a stop if you are in that area.

Dec 17, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

WELCOME BEAUME & BRIX, a great new addition to the Chicago dining scene in River North

Our dinner cost about $90.00 total for basically 3 entrees, one dessert, 2 colas and 2 coffees. We are not cocktail drinkers but we are winos. They do have a corkage fee of $25.00 per bottle and their wine servings are about $9 to $12.00 per glass. As we were going dancing after dinner (we dance Argentine Tango and swing) we did not want to load up on wine. Next time perhaps.

And as for the $24.00 cookie dessert, it probably serves 4 people. But reviewers on other sites have raved about that dessert.

Value wise the money spent on dinner here is very well spent. The quality of the food and presentation is very high. I would say that the cost of a meal for 2 is very reasonable and reasonably expensive. Now if you gorge on multiple appetizers and drinks, yes, the bill will be much higher than otherwise. We like to concentrate on the quality of the food and not of the drinks and again, we almost always go dancing after earlier dinners. This restaurant provides a very enjoyable dining experience. We even loved the piped in music!

Dec 13, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

WELCOME BEAUME & BRIX, a great new addition to the Chicago dining scene in River North

Last Saturday night, after spending hours at the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, my wife and I had the great pleasure of trying out a new restaurant in the River North area - Beaume & Brix, located at 351 W. Hubbard St., near the East Bank Club. Officially open for only 2 weeks, the owners and staff had a 2 month “soft” opening while trying to works the kinks out and it certainly showed on Saturday with smooth and enjoyable service, great ambience and great food.

The restaurant is beautiful with an ample bar area separate from most of the dining areas. The staff was very friendly and our waiter, Raphael, was a breath of fresh air - young and energetic with a wonderful personality and very knowledgeable about the menu items. Note - the restaurant is still a work in progress as we were told. The menu is still being tweaked and the wine list is still short by their own admission. In fact, they are planning to increase the wine list by two thirds.

As for the food, it was at the least delightful and at the most, extraordinary. While this was only our first visit and there are many entrees and appetizers which we would have loved to have sampled, we cannot wait to make further visits to try the fish, seafood and vegetarian dishes which really sounded amazing and enticing.

We started by splitting an entree of Potato Chip Gnocchi with sour cream and Allium. That’s right Allium. It made for a great appetizer when split for two. The presentation and seasoning were a wonderful start to the meal.

We then shared 2 entrees, the notable Duck Breast with mushroom duxelles, autumn squash and barley. The portion was more than ample and the tastes wonderful. My wife and I have had duck breast at many restaurants but this particular entree was amongst the best we have eaten.

For my wife and I, the star of the show was the Short Rib with Red Curry: coconut, lemon and flowering Kale. Wow is all I can say. Especially when you break up the candied lemon slice and spread it on the incredibly creamy and delicious short rib. Stand out dish!!! This was the best short rib dish we had ever tasted and if for no other reason, this dish will bring us back time and time again.

The chefs, Thomas Bowman and Ben Roche, formerly of Ing and Moto, are perfectionists to the extent that they will not even serve bread and butter unless requested as their bread making ovens had yet to be installed. But when requested the waiter brought us amazing rolls with an incredible maple and bourbon infused butter. I would have taken it intravenously had I been given the opportunity.

For now there are 5 desserts on the menu the most notable being Cookies & Milk: candy cap mushroom, walnut milk. At $24.00 it was too much just for the 2 of us but from having read other reviews of this dish, we missed out by not having ordered it however, the Panna Cotta, yogurt, raspberry, beet (yes beet), rose and pistachio was excellent and a great way to end the meal.

During our meal the manager and other members of the staff visited our table frequently inquiring about our experience and sharing information with us about the restaurant's future plans.

We discovered this gem due to Phil Vettel’s review last Friday in the Chicago Tribune and we felt fortunate to be able to get a reservation with such short notice. I highly recommend this great restaurant.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20...

Dec 12, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

Sable

After reading the positive reviews of Sable I made it a point to take my wife there Sunday, August 19, 2012 to start off our 45th anniversary week celebration. First, I can understand the difference between eating at a venue like Sable on a Sunday night versus Friday or Saturday. It has to be a totally different (and in my opinion more favorable) experience. One of our servers commented to us that the night before you had trouble merely navigating the room there were so many people. On Sunday night the dining areas never filled up and as a result the service was GREAT. The servers could not do enough for us and there was no waiting for any of the dishes or water or coffee or whatever.

My take on this restaurant is that I wish more restaurants were offering smaller dishes, tapas dishes with American food. It was like attending a great appetizer buffet or tasting menu. We ordered the smaller portions of most items which were the ones which offered the smaller portions and loved every morsel, so much so that my wife and I agreed that we would venture into the city on Sunday nights to go back to this restaurant often.

The dishes - we started with the deviled eggs: truffle oil, black s trumpet mushrooms - great with enough truffle taste to make us very happy.

Next, small order of fried locinato kale chips - exceeding yummy until near the bottom of the dish where the kale became sorry from oil. Still delicious.

Tuna tartar tostadas - spicy tomato sauce; meyer lemon crema - tasted like tuna ceviche which we love.

Their signature dish - Short rib sliders, root beer glaze, crispy onions. Incredibly yummy. The root beer taste was noticeable; a really delicious dish.

Sweet corn creme brulee - outstanding. My wife almost feinted with happiness and she does not normally rave about dishes.

Dessert was a special for the evening which was a lemon cake with all sorts of goodies. I did not take the specials menu so I cannot fully describe this dish but I will say that it was a fine ending to a fine dinner.

By now some readers may have noticed that I have not mentioned the cocktails, wine etc. A $13.00 cocktails can add considerably to a bill and we are not drinkers except for wine. I would have liked to have brought a wine from my cellar but the $25.00 per bottle cost mitigated against it for the evening. That being said we had a sensational meal for $65.00 plus tip. I was shocked, expecting to pay at least $100.00. And we were stuffed! The next time we visit this wonderful restaurant we would like to come with another couple or two so that we can increase the number of dishes to taste. This type of dining really appeals to me now that my eating habits have changed and I enjoy eating less for dinners and I don't care if I don't bring home a doggy bag of leftovers. One piece of each of the half orders was enough especially due to the richness of some of these dishes.

My advice - for the best dining experience avoid Friday and Saturday nights when things get crazy. Great restaurant for vegetarians, not so good for fish lovers as the tuna was the only fish on the menu and it was raw. Seafoods yes, fish no. Enjoy!

Aug 20, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

romantic meal THIS THURSDAY!

I second nsxtasy. My wife and I have enjoyed a number of meals at North Pond and have never been disappointed. The location is great although parking can be a problem and the food is outstanding.

Aug 18, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

Gino's East? Please tell me this isn't what Chicago DDP is all about (review)

As a life long Chicagoan and pizza lover for over 50 years I can tell that the pizza from the chains is not nearly as good as the originals in the 50s, 60s etc. Especially Unos - I ate at their original site a couple of years ago and after 2 bites I asked the waiter "what the hell is this?" It did not taste anything like the original.

Fast forward to Bert's Place in Morton Grove off of Dempster. Wonderful!!! The only problem is getting in there as you have to order your pizza a day or 2 in advance and it is not open 7 days a week. You can order for take out but eating in is vastly better. I consider Bert's a destination pizza place and worth the trip.

Jul 25, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

DOWNTOWN HIGHLAND PARK RESTAURANT INAUGURAL RESTAURANT WEEK

I found out today that Highland Park will be hosting its version of a restaurant week from April 19 to April 29, 2012. With the opening of so many fine restaurants in the last year including Benjamin, M and Carlos Nieto's, Nieto's plus a variety of cupcake and gelato emporiums making Highland Park the dessert capital of the North Shore if not all of Chicagoland, this is a great opportunity to try out what our community has to offer. Here is the url for its website: http://www.eatouthighlandpark.com/

There are 35 restaurants and "Wine Walk Wednesdays", Tour de Sweets etc., this looks like it will be a winner. We are already lining up reservations for Nieto's as I have not eaten there since its recent opening. I highly recommend 2nd Street Bistro (Lower level only) and 2nd Street Enoteca, Abigail's, Benjamin and M for finer dining along with Carlos and Debbie Nieto's Central Street Bistro. My wife and I also love Bluegrass and Real Urban Barbeque (RUB). Frost has been crowded since its opening with really tasty gelato And a recently opened gourmet popcorn shop, Highland Pop sounds like a promising business.

Even Walker Bros. is getting in on the action with 25% discounts of some of their most popular pancakes. So it is possible to sample a number of places in one day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and popcorn to take home. Note: I am not affiliated with any business in Highland Park. Just a happy long time resident.

Mar 29, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

Restaurant Week 2012

Funny, I made the initial post and then had problems getting reservations at the restaurants we wanted to enjoy. My wife and I did get to Demara on Saturday night and had another great meal and the Chicago Restaurant Week menu was a great hit. Not only were the choices excellent but the food was amazing as usual. And for the first time I can remember, there was a line out the door when we were leaving - and this is for an Ethiopian restaurant! Every table was filled.

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Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
4801 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640

Feb 26, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

Restaurant Week 2012

I don't know if this has already been posted but this site shows all of the restaurants, over 200, participating in this year's Restaurant Week with their special menus:

http://www.choosechicago.com/things-t...

Many wonderful restaurants are participating with dinners and/or lunches, such as Blackbird's $22.00 lunch menu. Enjoy!

Feb 17, 2012
dlpens in Chicago Area

Armenian restaurants?

Thanks and thanks again. CASBAH!!! loved that restaurant and my wife and I ate there many times. And thanks for the recommendations. Glenview and Skokie are close enough to try them out.

Dec 11, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Armenian restaurants?

I had forgotten about Sayat Nova, where I have eaten a number of times. Problem for me is its location which is a pain to get to and park near when you live 25 miles north of the loop. Thanks.

Dec 11, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Armenian restaurants?

I was talking with some friends last night about an Armenian restaurant that closed many years ago and which we loved. It was located on Diversey near the lake. We long for some of those dishes so I am wondering if fellow chowhounders have any suggestions as to where to find fine Armenian food in the north Chicago area or northern suburbs. My friends are from Turkey and they told me that Armenian food is the closest cuisine to Turkish and so each of us are now searching for Armenian restaurants. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dec 11, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

GREAT Dinner at Michael in Winnetka!

Your review is dead on!!! I have been recommending Michaels to many of our friends and each and every one of them who has dined there has raved about the food and the service. So I have been stocking up on Groupons and Restaurant.com coupons for my next visits.

And the restaurant is very conversation friendly and they occasionally feature wine dinners which have been outstanding. Nice to see that I am not alone in my opinion.

Nov 27, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Most Authentic Arab/Lebanese/Syrian/Turkish Place?

As has been mentioned, Turqoise is a wonderful choice. And in another thread, Phoenicia in Highland Park, a northern suburb of Chicago, has outstanding mid-Eastern food primarily Lebanese as the owner, Joseph, is Lebanese. Check out that thread and see if it fits what you are looking for. Don

Nov 25, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

PHOENICIA MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE -- HIGHLAND PARK, ILLINOIS

Phoenicia has been a mainstay in Highland Park for years. Joseph, the owner, is from Lebanon and his recipes are his family's. In the summer he has outside seating. Part of the dinner is the wonderful relish dish with pickles, radishes peppers etc. We always order the combination appetizer dish with grape leaves, hummos, falaffel, babaganoush, tebolah etc. which makes for a wonderful starter. The red snapper (dripping with salt water, as Joseph likes to say) is also one of the most popular dishes along with the kababs. One of my favorites is the chicken with couscous and curry sauce. I can take that sauce intravenously it is so good.

The halavah is like nothing we had ever eaten. He usually makes it in the summer and it is very unusual, not a brick you cut into but a thin stringy melt in your mouth variety. Joseph offers very reasonably priced wines and does allow you to bring in your own wine with a reasonable corkage fee. All in all, a wonderful restaurant with an outgoing and popular owner and a great staff. Highly recommended!

Nov 25, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Rijsttafel in Chicago

Thanks again to both Chowhound and nstasy for the information. I jumped on the chance to attend the Oct. 23 dinner and found out this morning that only 10 seats were still available. I took 4 so as of 11:00 today there were only 6 left.

I was introduced to rijsttafel in Amsterdam in 1965 and have looked forward to finding something similar in Chicago. So I am hoping that this upcoming meal will be a success. Don

Oct 14, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Best Chicago Wine Store?

I love Wine Discount Centers. Their selection is not as great as Binny's the but wines tend to be very fairly priced and very good quality. Here is their web site. Note that they have a location in Chicago on Elston. http://winediscountcenter.com/

Oct 14, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Sunday brunch in Vernon Hills area?

This Sunday my wife and I will want to have a brunch somewhere in the Vernon Hills area as family members will be visiting. I love the brunch at Miramar but that is in Highwood. If nothing interesting pops up here we will probably go to Walker Bros. in Lincolnshire. TIA for any assistance. Don

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Miramar
301 Waukegan Ave, Highwood, IL 60040

Sep 21, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Chicago Restaurant Week - February 18-27, 2011

Thanks for the reminder, nsxtasy. Just booked a reservation at Bistro Champaigne which we have enjoyed in the past. And by the way, my wife and I went to Restaurant Michael again on Thursday night and had another spectacular meal. This restaurant is quite a gem and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a fabulous meal on the Northshore. And remember that there is no corkage fee on Tuesday nights! Don

Feb 26, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Chicago area winetasting

The Stained Glass restaurant, in Evanston, a suburb just north of Chicago, offers fine food and many excellent wine flights. Also every Saturday, Binny's just outside the loop offers wine tastings with 8 or so wines (at least the Highland Park store offers that many, there may be more in their north side location.

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The Stained Glass
1735 Benson Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201

Feb 04, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Good to Excellent restaurants near the Bank of America Theater on Monroe

6 of us are going to see Burn the Floor next Wedn. night. One couple suggested the Grillroom but I have not seen any review of that restaurant that excites me. Any suggestions for a very close restaurant that can get us in and out in about 1 1/2 hour and serves above average food? Thanks. Don

Feb 04, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

GABRIEL'S AND MIRAMAR IN HIGHWOOD

On Friday night my wife and I had dinner at Gabriel's in Highwood where we have dined on numerous occasions. Gabe met us at the door and our having known him for many years, we had a discussion first about his triumph in scaling Mt. Everest and then about his restaurant Miramar which is very close by. He instituted the discussion especially since he had just returned from a trip to Paris where he ate in French bistros and studied them every day. He wanted us to know that he is making significant changes to Miramar which I, for one, welcome.

The intended changes should be completed by early March. He told us that he is changing the decor to make it warmer and more conducive to actually hearing conversations. He knew that I always objected to the noise level which made dining and talking next to impossible to being heard by members of your party. He also told me that the portions will be larger and the costs lower! That is welcome news. We have always enjoyed his food at Miramar but the noise level kept us away unless it was summer and we could eat outdoors. We intend to give it a try in March and hopefully we will want to host a dinner there at the end of May to include our golf group. I will report back after our first introduction to the new changes.

As for our dinner at Gabriels, well, it is definitely one of the finest restaurants in the entire Chicago area and it has been highly regarded for many years. Gabe's wine steward is a veteran of the wine and food industry, who worked for many years at Ambria until it closed, and his advise is always excellent as is his demeanor and friendliness. Gabe's pastas are outstanding as are the fish courses and everything else on the menu. The profiteroles for dessert posed a great ending to an outstanding meal. We started at 6:30 and left at 9:30 with big smiles on our faces and no room for a single morsel of food.

While we ordered ala carte off of the menu, Gabe offers a 5 course chef's menu for $75.00 per person and $110.00 with wine pairing. I highly recommend his chef's choices!

Both Gabriel's and Carlos, again, just down the street, were snubbed by the Michelin people as they are outside the 20 miles limit that they set for their limits. I cannot imagine their not being awarded stars. For Chicagoan foodies willing to travel the 30 or so miles from the loop to Highwood
dining at Gabriel's will be a special treat as will dining at Carlos's. It is a fast ride up Edens to Half Day Road (Highway 22) and then east to Green Bay and then left to Gabriel's (and Froggy's next door) and to the right over the tracks to Carlos's and Miramar. This is dining heaven. Don

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Ambria
2300 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL 60614

Miramar
301 Waukegan Ave, Highwood, IL 60040

Half Day Cafe
475 Half Day Rd Ste 120, Lincolnshire, IL 60069

Jan 15, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Great Restaurants in Evanston, IL or Close By

For what it is worth, my wife and I have eaten at Stained Glass many times and we LOVE their food and service. We always recommend it to friends and have never received one complaint. We have gone there with foodies and have hosted special dinners there and again, we have never heard one complaint about any course whatsoever. And the numerous and excellent wine flights are a real treat. I will not hesitate to recommend Stained Glass to anyone. And they offer excellent values with fix pris menus. Don

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The Stained Glass
1735 Benson Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201

Jan 15, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Casual Dinner In Northbrook Area

Abigail's Bistro in Ravinia is wonderful - but it can get very very noisy. When we go there we try to get in very early before the bar fills up and the noise level increases.

Jan 14, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Knife Sharpening - Avoid Sur La Table

I have only used Northwestern Cutlery for many years and they are probably the best sharpeners in Chicago not to mention that their assortment of fine cutlery is outstanding. They usually finish my orders while I am browsing around and usually I find something to purchase. I have also bought some very nice Shun knives there. So ditto on your recommendation.

Jan 12, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Casual Dinner In Northbrook Area

You also have Blue Grass in Highland Park with wonderful dishes including cajun as the chef is from the south. Very nice atmosphere. And there is Next Door in Northbrook, next to Hole in the Wall with great Italian food although they both can get quite noisy. My wife and I love Beinlich's but remember that it is set up like a 1940's northern Wisconsin bar. They still sell soft drinks from 2 liter bottles! For Pan Asian there is Pacific Rim in Northbrook, which serves up Chinese, Korean, Thai and Japanese food. The booths by the sushi bar are very comfortable and relaxing. Also consider J. Alexanders in Deerfield. Pick a cuisine and many more recs will appear. Don

Jan 11, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

Dinner on the north shore for 8 adults

Miramar - definitely NO. I have eaten there a number of times and too often we cannot hold a civil conversation - the noise level is way too high. Froggy's - a definite yes. Wonderful restaurant in Highwood and much more suitable for 8 people. Sage Grill is across the street and offers fine food and live jazz on Thursday and Friday nights starting at 7:00. This would also be a great choice. But note - these are in Highwood. As nsxtasy pointed out Inovasi in Lake Bluff is outstanding as is Restauant Michael in WInnetka. Gabriel's is outstanding and one of my favorite restaurants - but it is very expensive as is Carlos. I would have recommended Stoney River in Deerfield but it just closed its doors as the landlord wants the space for a different direction - retail. J. Alexander's in Deerfield offers excellent food at reasonable cost, has a very nice atmosphere, is quiet and has numerous larger tables - I have eaten there twice this week and on Tuesday I was with 7 other guys and the ability to talk and hear was excellent. Good luck.

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Miramar
301 Waukegan Ave, Highwood, IL 60040

Inovasi Restaurant
28 E. Center Ave, Lake Bluff, IL 60044

Jan 06, 2011
dlpens in Chicago Area

favorite byob places

I live in the northern suburbs and have found that on various days individual restaurants offer free corkage such as Carlos's Central Cafe in Highland Park on Tuesdays. Michael's Restaurant in Winnetka also had/has a free corkage day.

Other restaurants such as Stoney River in Deerfield offer really reasonable corkage fees - ten dollars. I normally call restaurants in advance to find out about their corkage policies and I find that many restaurants offer very reasonable corkage of $15 or less. Good luck.

Dec 07, 2010
dlpens in Chicago Area

help finding good ethnic restaurants in the North Shore

I have been eating at the Pita Inn in Skokie for many, many years and gordeaux is correct. The combo lunch is hard to beat and their hummos and babaganouj are outstanding. But this is only one of many wonderful ethnic restaurants along the North Shore.

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Pita Inn
3910 Dempster St, Skokie, IL 60076

Dec 05, 2010
dlpens in Chicago Area

Intelligentsia Coffee By The Pound - Can Anyone Explain Its Prices?

When I started drinking individual varietals I had no idea of the number of different varieties would become available locally. I have tried ordering "special" coffee on line and have always been disappointed. I learned to love Celebes and Sumatra beans right off. I have tried any number of different beans including Jamaica Blue Mountain and real Kona. They may be great and smooth etc. but for the price I cannot rationalize a steady diet of those beans. Stivers Coffee has been bringing Jamaican Blue Mountain beans to local farmer's markets, Ravinia in particular, and once in a blue moon :) I pick up a 1/2 pound. It is beautiful but at $32.00 a pound it is not a real "value" drink. It is an indulgence for many.

If you want fresh roasted coffee you either roast the beans yourself or do the next best thing - buy from a local roaster. I suggested to my wife that I should try roasting at home but I did not care for her suggestion in response. I try to buy only 1/2 pound bags at a time as I can buy fresh coffee everyday. I am close to or pass by Casteel's and Newport all of the time. That makes a BIG difference. I will look for some Intel coffee today and report back in a day or 2. I will try to be objective. I have also been collecting wines since 1970 so tasting liquids and comparing is something I am used to so we shall see.

For everyone's information, Casteel's has an outstanding number of varietals and blends available. Newport has a much more limited menu. And Whole Foods does a wonderful job roasting and has a nice selection available everyday. I just wish that they would bring back the Costa Rican beans - I have not seen them in quite a while.

Nov 30, 2010
dlpens in Chicago Area