From the dawn of time, caves have exerted a pull on the human imagination, presenting themselves as ideal settings for caveman houses, caveman art galleries, and romantic caveman picnics. Sup with a suitor subterraneally with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of continental cuisine and drinks at Café la Cave, across from Allstate Arena in Des Plaines.
For 40 years, Café la Cave's cavelike yet cozy dining room has harbored a cache of epicurean delights and bacchanalian imbibulants. As hushed piano tones drift through the cavern's romantic atmosphere, pairs thrill as chefs cook and carve much of the menu beside their table. Signature item steak diane ($29) is gently infused with garlic and shallots finished in rich cognac, and expertly sautéed before diners’ eyes. The rack of lamb ($43), coated in a tangy mustard crust, frolics atop a meadow of fresh veggies, and the whole dover sole francais ($39) falls from the chef’s fillet knife and splashes in a pool of toasted almond butter. A full bar and carefully considered wine program work with entrees as smoothly as a by-the-books detective and his new partner fresh out of clown college.
Café la Cave
Crystal chandeliers glint over Café la Cave's main lobby, beckoning diners into opulent ballrooms, spacious banquet rooms, and the cavern room itself. Inside the restaurant’s rock-lined walls, rippling lighting, and singing stalagmites, chefs carve and cook many entrees tableside, including the tenderloin medallions of steak Diane sautéed with garlic, shallots, and cognac. Cocktails from the full bar and a carefully selected wine list pair with entrees as smoothly as creamy sides of garlic mashed potatoes pair with wild-mushroom mac 'n' cheese.
2777 Mannheim Rd.
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018