Lovell's of Lake Forest is co-owned by James Lovell, the NASA astronaut best remembered as the commander of the Apollo 13 space flight, and second-best remembered for playing Tom Hanks in the 1995 film, Apollo 13. Lovell's son, Jay Lovell, as co-owner and executive chef, oversees Lovell's of Lake Forest's dinner menu of steaks, seafood, sandwiches, and more. Commence consumption sequences with the fried calamari ($14) or its briny brethren, scallops ($15), before sinking fork and fang into Lovell's of Lake Forest's slate of steaks and chops. The 8-oz. filet mignon ($31) can come bacon-wrapped with cognac-veal reduction ($33), rock-crab-accompanied with asparagus and hollandaise ($37), or in other variations, while the 14-oz. Australian rack of lamb ($36), with its goat-cheese-and-Dijon crust, finds a use for sheep outside of pulling dogsleds. Other entrees include fish and chips ($18) and seared ahi tuna ($25), with desserts such as tiramisu ($9) providing a fine finale to feasting. The restaurant also serves lunch and breakfast.
Phil Gilardi, Jr. carries on his family’s legacy as the fourth generation to embrace the classic flavors and culinary techniques of the Old World. Joined by his uncle, Dan Sullivan, Phil packs his menu with the timeless recipes honed by his great-grandmother, Sophie, and his grandmother, Angie, as well as a few ideas of his own. Executive Chef Fabrizio Patano balances this blend of traditional and contemporary influences, crafting a lineup of Italian comfort foods with elevated touches.
Chef Patano and his team demonstrate their commitment to the menu’s Old World roots by importing prosciutto and parmigiano cheese for their entrees. At the same time, they highlight the inherent simplicity of Italian home cooking by hand-rolling their pastas and making fresh sauces in-house. This fusion of imported ingredients and homespun touches is readily apparent throughout the kitchen’s refined dishes, such as breaded veal cutlets with asparagus, lobster, and rich hollandaise sauce.
The casually elevated charm of the menu also influences the décor of Philly G’s, which sprawls across the floor plan and covered porch of a stately home. Textured walls lit by glowing sconces surround the tables draped with seafoam-green and white linens and flanked by high-backed chairs. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, the lounge area hosts live entertainment for diners, regaling them with musical performances as opposed to staged readings of last week’s winning lottery numbers.
Menus at Allgauer's may vary slightly by location, but each Hilton-anchored outpost of American dining serves high-end steaks and seafood. Mid-day appetites can be quelled with lunch offerings such as a starter of baked artichoke bruschetta ($8) and a hearty grilled rib-eye steak sandwich ($13). To dine during dinner, arrive in sundown-style and begin with an appetizing opener such as the mushroom pot pie with sherry wine and walnut blue cheese ($7). Sample the meatiest of meals, the grilled beef tenderloin medallions ($22–$33), or take a bathypelagic trip to fullness with sautéed shrimp and sea scallops ($17–$27). Entrees are served with a choice of the soup du jour or a house salad.
After leaving behind their hometown in Greece, brothers Angelo and John Sellis put their entrepreneurial minds together to build a new life in the United States, with their restaurant Palm Court at the heart of their new venture. More than 30 years since greeting their first diners, John and other members of the Sellis family continue watching over the eatery's three dining rooms, learning the names of regular customers and giving them courtesy calls when their favorite specials are back on the menu. The brothers' team of chefs—overseen by Angelo in the kitchen—constructs its long-perfected dishes from foundations of duck, oysters, beef, and seafood as tinkling piano tunes fill the adjacent cocktail lounge, where customers sip signature martinis, wines, or domestic and imported brews.
For Chef Rob, cooking fine cuisine is a family affair. He learned his skills at the knee of his Sicilian grandmother, who taught him everything he knows about how to run a kitchen. Today, he still hones his recipes in a similar setting, cooking furiously as his wife and daughter stand ready to dutifully taste his creations. After finishing his at-home experiments with the daily haul from the local market, he heads to Wilmette Chop House to begin preparing food for that night‘s hungry customers.
During the dinner rush, Rob welcomes many of the same faces that he laughed and joked with at the market that morning. He oversees a grill filled with filet mignon, lobster tails, and his signature double-cut bone-in smoked pork chops. These delicious proteins come out hot on the heels of fresh-baked bread, acquired from Heavenly Hearth Bakery just around the corner. To wash down Chef Rob’s creations, bartenders mix up the restaurant’s signature cocktail—the Thin Mintini. In addition to describing the drink's refreshing taste, the beverage’s name also hints at the building’s history; the venue once served as the original bakery for the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Not content to cater only to two of the five senses, Rob also retains the services of professional musicians at his piano bar on most evenings, who wow audiences and reviewers with their skill at the keys and with catching food tossed at their mouths.
Black Cow Kitchen & Bar's prep area echoes with a wood-fire oven's unmistakable sizzle and pop bouncing off the shiny, new appliances surrounding it. Using this old-fashioned method of cooking, the chefs give their menu's ample roasted and broiled meals––such as whole stuffed chickens and barbecue baby-back ribs––their signature smoky flavor. The team piles food high on plates, weighing down load-bearing tables and conditioning servers to win the annual inter-restaurant arm-wrestling competition. Diners mine their meaty mountains with fork and knife amid the subtly combined elegance of exposed brick, wooden paneling, canary-yellow walls, and simple silver lamps overhead.
Part restaurant and part concert hall, Austin's Saloon & Eatery houses both a sit-down dining room and a separate main stage showcasing local and national acts throughout the week. The restaurant's menu blends barbecue and inventive American fare with starters such as chicken wings ($7.95) and golden-fried beer-dough nuggets ($5.50) made to mimic the exact shape and alcohol content of most asteroids. Wrap hands and mouths around one of six burgers ($8.50+) or don a bib and dive into a barbecue combo platter ($17.95) pairing chicken and a half-slab of ribs, both cooked on a wood roaster.