If Wyatt Earp suddenly found himself in modern-day La Grange, Illinois, he'd likely feel right at home at Al's Char-House. The well-known, Wild-West themed steakhouse that is approaching its 20-year anniversary, presents diners with all the comforts of a home on the range, starting with the wood-trimmed dining room, where walls display cowboy memorabilia ranging from old photographs to cattle skulls. The menu takes inspiration from the old west too, featuring steaks that can range in size from 8 to 56 ounces. Of course, if steaming, lightly charred slabs of filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, and charhouse sirloin don't make your mouth water, Al's also specializes in seafood such as grilled and bourbon-glazed Atlantic salmon, or shrimp served char-grilled with garlic or battered and deep-fried. The vintage-inspired restaurant boasts plenty of modern amenities as well?a large projection TV screens live sporting events near the bar and the crackling fireplace.
One of the first things you notice about Tavern on La Grange is how colorful it is: hot pink and indigo lights wash walls in a neon watercolor effect, and the bottles behind the bar are backlit with red and fuchsia. Murals of art deco-style buildings and figures give the room another added pop. Pasta and steak dishes are among the menu's crowning achievements, along with the likes of the Tavern chicken, lobster tail and lamb chops. People fill the restaurant's spacious, kaleidoscopic dining rooms throughout the week to take in bistro-style meals, drinks, or one of the establishment's periodic events. Those evenings are just one part of what the restaurant's owners hope makes Tavern on La Grange "a quality dining experience and community meeting place."
Chefs at Aodake Sushi & Steak House dispatch sushi and hibachi-seared steaks beneath hanging lamps and glowing globes. Meat, vegetables, and seafood make for multicourse meals, and a variety of kitchen entrees bolster the thronged dinner menu. At the bar, more than 20 vodkas alchemize into a variety of martinis or blocks of pure gold.
Filet mignon, marinated beef short ribs, and lemon-doused shrimp all meet the same fate when they hit the sizzling surface of a hibachi grill at Bistro Nami. They cook to perfection, joining sides of fried rice, grilled veggies, salad, miso soup and a gyoza as an appetizer. But that's not all Bistro Nami has to offer?the menu also includes ample sushi options, from succulent cuts of striped bass on rice to intricate rolls. The Chanel No. 5 roll combines super white tuna with jalapeno, cilantro, and two kinds of spicy sauce, which, like an angry donkey, delivers a kick to the mouth.
Thick cuts of meats and seafood broiled over an open charcoal flame travel to tables around Tom's Steak House's elegant dining room or full bar. Filets, rib eyes, and new york strip steaks are cut fresh every day and carried to linen-clothed tables in charcoal braziers, an oval warmer filled with charcoal to keep the steak at the ideal temperature to warm mouths or soothe neck pain. The menu's myriad selections of fresh seafood, sandwiches, and salads can be paired with fine wines that introduce the robust flavors of fermented grape. Bronze chandeliers and windows inscribed with art-deco patterns loom over booths where bar patrons sip cocktails.
Using all-natural meats, Amish free-range chicken, and produce from Midwestern farmers’ markets, Hemmingway's Bistro serves fresh, flavorful French fare in an attractive, white-tablecloth-laden dining room. Executive Chef Ala's fondness for melt-on-your-tongue seafood makes its mark on the menu—the restaurant imports fish from the East Coast daily. Satiate seafood cravings with the herb-crusted whitefish paired with caper butter ($18.95), or guzzle away at the Dijon salmon with a side of cream lentils ($21.95). The Classic ($36.95) stuffs grumbling stomachs with half a lobster, nine oysters, three shrimp, three clams, six mussels, and two crabs. Before the main course, showcase your magic skills by cutting the baked brie topped with apricot preserves ($11.95) in half with your saw-teeth. Vegetarians can fork in warm goat-cheese petite salad ($7.95) while carnivores sink their teeth into the roasted lamb rack paired with ratatouille ($26.95). Cleanse your esophagus with a glass of '99 Saint Clement syrah ($9 for a glass) or an '06 Campanile pinot grigio ($7 for a glass) from Hemmingway's stockpile of red and white wines.