Amid rich woodwork and four big-screen TVs, 800 West treats taste buds to savory steaks, scrumptious sandwiches, and seafood. Customers can commence consumption with the 800 West shrimp, tender prawns tossed in a spicy cream sauce ($10.29), before applying paws to a hearty handheld such as the grilled-barbecue-chicken-ranch sandwich ($9.29). Dive fork-first into the blackened mahi-mahi with pineapple salsa for a taste of the tropics ($14.99), or opt for the 7-ounce char-grilled filet mignon served with onion strings and maitre d' butter if you only eat fish born as cheesy crackers or 7-ounce filet mignons ($23.99). The six-cheese purse pasta—little pockets stuffed with sundried tomatoes, spinach, and garlic and blanketed with parmesan cream sauce—sates herbaceous bellies and pastaterian pandas ($10.99). To rinse down solids, patrons can saddle up to the full-service bar and sip a glass of wine ($7–$12), a beer ($3–$5), or a martini ($9–$10).
New American Cuisine | Hyperlocal Ingredients | House-Canned Goods | Smart-Casual Dress Code
Where to Sit: If possible, grab the table right in front of the fireplace, which adds to the coziness of the welcoming, yet elegant digs.
While You're Waiting
Chef Paul Virant's claim to fame is his knack for pickling and canning, which he wrote about in his cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen. Honor his passion by replacing your usual cufflinks with full-sized Mason jars.
Reservations are recommended.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Take a page out of the chef’s book and go on the hunt for fresh, local ingredients at the Western Springs Fruit Store (925 Burlington Avenue).
After: Catch a show at the Theatre of Western Springs (4384 Hampton Avenue), which hosts local plays and national acts, including the celebrated Beatle’s cover band, American English.
Mécénat Bistro & Retail Wine Shop's menu is stocked full of seasonal American specialties. Guests can pair truffle fries, New Zealand grass-fed rib-eye, or blackened shrimp and rigatoni with one of 70 varietals on the bistro’s wine list. Domestic craft beers also span the menu, accentuating flavors in seasonal specialties as well as menu mainstays such as Prince Edward Island mussels and grilled asparagus and sugar snap pea risotto.
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."
When Peggy Maglaris Kopley's husband was diagnosed with stage four Lymphoma, she used the news as the catalyst to cleaning up her family's diet with organic foods, as mentioned by "190 North". Even as her husband fought his way into remission, Peggy continued her foray into the world of organic eating and green living. The two passions became the inspiration for her contemporary American restaurant, Prasino, which has gained praise from the pages of_Time Out Chicago_and_Chicago Magazine_ and the screens of ABC7 and WGN. And to ensure both locations live up to their name—Prasino means "green" in Greek"—Peggy and her team, who are trained in organic standards, craft fresh breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees including a pretzel bun eggs benedict and chorizo seitan tacos, using locally-sourced and organic ingredients. The chic restaurant's farm-to-table ethos is further supported in their efforts to work with ranchers and farmers, including partnerships with Niman Ranch and Knutson's Country Harvest, who practice sustainable living by treating their livestock humanely and ensuring their meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free. The eco-friendly vibe carries over into a line-up of specialty beverages, from Goose Island brews to cocktails infused with fruits and vegetables, as well as each restaurant's eco-friendly design, complete with reclaimed wood furnishings, energy efficient appliances, and robot waiters who are fueled by sweet compliments.
Today Kama owner and chef Vikram Singh cooks his internationally influenced Indian cuisine with a goal to give diners an experience that stimulates all the senses. Perhaps that calculated idea came from his background in mathematics and engineering. Or perhaps it came from his father, a renowned chef in India whose cuisine has impressed King Abdullah of Jordan and former German chancellor Helmut Kohl. After a successful career working with numbers, Vikram and his wife opened Kama to bring the local area an inspired, unique Indian menu?and one that would certainly meet his father?s inimitable standards.
Chef Singh actually draws on four decades of experience crafting his made-from-scratch sauces, homemade paneer, and spicy lamb dishes. To keep things interesting, he engages American, French, and Chinese traditions as he invents entrees such as tamarind-glazed baby back ribs and lamb tacos. But he isn?t the only one creating new tastes under his roof. Kama?s bartenders mix cocktails with fresh-squeezed juices and spike martinis with unconventional flavors such as cucumber, cinnamon, and rosemary. The restaurant recently received a 2014 Michelin Bib Gourmand award, given to the guide's favorite spots for high-quality cuisine at good value.