Inside of a charming century-old brick building overlooking Crown Point’s bustling square, head chef Carl Lindskog stays busy crafting combinations of Italian and Japanese edibles culled form the mindparts of experienced edibles. His feasts of grilled seafood, focaccia, steak and pasta grace cloth-clad tables downstairs in Amoré Ristorante, where the vintage bar dating from Chicago's 1933 World's Fair enshrines a heel print from 1930s dancer Sally Rand. Upstairs, Lindskog’s delectable sushi rolls, tempura, and dumplings pair with 109 Lounge’s 34 specialty martinis. Live music frequently fills the air during the evening hours, complementing the chef’s creations with a laid-back attitude that permits smoking and encourages playing hooky from other, less interesting dinners.
Zodiac Cafe and Lounge balances a constellation of themed martinis with a Mediterranean-inspired menu of sandwiches, salads, and small plates. Diners design flights of cheese and olives, and chefs stuff grass-fed burger patties with a rotating selection of ingredients. Pints from the craft-beer menu complement edibles, as do 12 martinis that re-imagine each astrological sign as a concoction of colorful spirits. Muted earth tones and wood accents anchor both dining room and lounge to terra firma, and starburst light fixtures and an astrological chart grant insight into Zeus's interior-decorating scheme. After the sun sets on the patio, wander inside to check out the schedule of karaoke, open-mic performances, and sets from local house DJs.
A smattering of 20 sauces and seasonings dripping from handspun wings coats patrons' fingers as they cheer on their favorite professional sports teams broadcast on Buffalo Wild Wings' TVs. Eyes are torn between watching teams dribble a ball, shoot a puck, and land a grand jeté, and plates of plentiful wings, burgers, wraps, salads, and ribs. For more entertainment, trivia games exercise brains, and the Blazin' Challenge offers recognition for those brave enough to down a dozen wings slathered in the eatery's hottest sauce in 6 minutes.
It would be nearly impossible to try every beer offered at Catch 22, since its 20 different drafts and wide selection of craft bottles are constantly changing. Cups brim over with lagers, stouts, and reds from the Indiana-local Four Horsemen Brewing Company, along with martinis and specialty cocktails. In the kitchen, an executive chef simmers up upscale pub fare, including sandwiches, burgers, and steaks. Platters and drinks spread out along the hardwood bar and tabletops that scatter the 8,000-square foot dining hall, amid the glimmer of 16 flat-screen televisions and the boom of a digital jukebox. In warmer months, a wall of garage doors opens up into an expansive patio, exposing diners to free-spirited air, warm sunlight, and gentle breezes.
With a rich wood bar, stone pillars, and furniture imported from Dublin, T.J. Maloney's invites comparison to an authentic Irish public house. The similarities extend to the Hibernian fare, which features traditional Irish staples such as colcannon-crusted shepherd's pie, fish 'n' chips, and tender corned beef and cabbage. Felt-lined booths ensconce diners as they share laughs over pints of stout or glasses of whiskey, and live performances on Friday and Saturday evenings serenade guests with the dulcet sounds of Irish folk music, blues guitar, and Gaelic pronunciation lessons.
Big HD screens, a menu of savory pub fare, and hospitable, scantily kilted servers, whom the restaurant calls cast members, populate the Tilted Kilt’s lively, Celtic-inspired consumption quarters. Return from a rousing billiards game to celebrate the sunken eight-ball with the One Shot Johnny pizza ($8.99) or cue up a scottish cheesesteak sandwich ($9.99) and sink it into the stomach pocket. Tackle the classic Big Arse hamburger ($7.79), gaelic chicken entree ($11.99), or an overtime helping of the Tilted Guilt dessert’s chocolate-chip or white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookie topped with a helmet of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup ($5.49). While eating, drinking, and editing the rules of basketball to make it moon-friendly, sports fans can plant themselves throughout the spacious eatery to observe games in high definition.