North Shore Views
I have been meaning to try this new restaurant ever since it opened to rave reviews back in the fall of 2011. Now, with our kitchen remodel underway, we have an excuse to eat out. So, last night, with kids gone, we made our way down to Skokie to finally check out Libertad.
As the name implies, the menu is Latin-inspired. But this is not your father’s Mexican joint. If you’re hankering for a chimichanga or a burrito, Libertad is not the place to go. The food is much more sophisticated than that. Described as Nuevo Latino, the dishes blend Argentinian, Brazilian and Mexican flavors and ingredients, plus a little bit of whatever else inspires Chef Armando Gonzalez.
626 Church St., Evanston
Tommy Nevin’s Pub
1454 Sherman Ave., Evanston
1735 Orchard Lane, Northfield
305 Happ Rd., Northfield
1514 E. Lake Ave., Glenview
1241 Harms Rd., Glenview
254 Green Bay Rd., Highwood
1735 Benson Ave., Evanston
Fine dining in a relaxed, urban atmosphere. Seasonal New American cuisine, combining traditional and international flavors that complement the global wine list. Enjoy one (or more!) of 32 wines by the glass.
505 Main St., Evanston
Oceanique is an eclectic seafood restaurant in the French-American style. It endeavors to use the finest organic produce and seafood from sustainable, eco-friendly sources. And with its extensive wine list featuring over 800 carefully selected fine wines, Oceanique has won Wine Spectator Magazine’s coveted “Best of Award of Excellence” every year since 1994. Valentine’s Day Special: Chef’s Five Course Dinner w/Choices – $95 per person (excluding tax and gratuity)
1566 Oak Ave., Evanston
Among the North Shore’s finest Italian restaurants tucked inside the historic Margarita European Inn. Pensiero Ristorante serves Italian fare prepared from the finest imported ingredients. The moment you enter the room, you know you are in for a special dining experience. The menu is seasonally inspired and the wine list is sure to compliment your dining experience.
1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston
Quince at the Homestead serves contemporary American cuisine in a friendly, lively setting near downtown Evanston. The wine list provides more than 100 unique, affordable options chosen carefully to enhance Chef Andy Motto’s deliciously refined and globally-inspired cuisine.
618 Church St., Evanston
If you love that old French bistro favorite, steak frites, this is the place to go. Bistro Bordeaux offers authentic French dining experience unlike any other amid the bustle of downtown Evanston. The wine list features a wide selection of reasonably priced French wines.
708 12th St., Wilmette
Quaint and cozy, The Noodle serves American fusion cuisine in a European style restaurant. The entrees are fresh, yummy and affordable. Read the rest of this entry »
The other night after a hockey game in Winnetka, we stopped at Stormy’s in Northfield for dinner with another family from the team. Stormy’s, formerly Seul’s, changed hands last summer and reopened in September, and we had not yet had a chance to check it out. I guess we weren’t the only ones with that idea because, when we got there, we ran into three other families from our hockey team and discovered that one of Emma’s hockey coaches also tends bar at Stormy’s, so it was like old home week. Probably not surprising that it’s a big Wilmette Hockey hangout given that owner Chad Bidwell coaches Bantam AA for the club. Read the rest of this entry »
I guess no one calls them “parlors” anymore (except Deerfrank’s, below). But what do they call them? Stores? Restaurants? Shoppes? Doesn’t matter. It’s summer (finally). It’s hot (finally) and that means ice cream.
Here’s my list of ice cream parlors on the North Shore. If I’ve left off one of your favorites, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list (after I test their ice cream, of course).
Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe
2909 Central St.
Cold Stone Creamery
1611 Sherman Ave.
Andy’s Frozen Custard
719 Church St.
Bobtail Ice Cream
1114 Central Ave.
Homer’s Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream
1237 Green Bay Rd.
Read the rest of this entry »
If you think I’ve missed one that should be on the list, please leave a comment!
Deer Path Inn
255 E. Illinois Rd.
293 E. Illinois Rd.
South Gate Cafe
655 Forest Ave.
254 Green Bay Rd.
Froggy’s French Cafe
306 Green Bay Rd.
1899 Second St.
Tamales…A Mexican Joint
I’m not a food snob. But when I go out to eat I want to get what I pay for. If I go to Coco Pazzo, I know the tab will be high. And I know the food will be excellent: inspired dishes that are beautifully presented and delicious. When I go to Olive Garden I lower my expectations, for both the food and the price tag. Tonight, unfortunately, we stumbled into a restaurant with Olive Garden food (actually, not nearly as good as Olive Garden) and (almost) Coco Pazzo prices.
We were up in Highland Park at the Bubble for the last soccer game of the indoor season. Since we had nothing at home to make for dinner, we decided to head over to Highwood. Highwood has lots of great restaurants for such a small town, the residual effect of being the only non-dry town on the North Shore for so many years.
We had never been to Bertucci’s, so we decided to give it a try. Everything started out fine. The server brought us a basket of hot bread, which was tasty. From there it was all downhill. The quality of the food was roughly on par with a diner, but the prices were on par with that trendy new place you’d go for a special evening out. There was nothing on the menu remotely interesting-sounding or inspired so I decided to play it safe and order the Penne with Meat Sauce. What I got was a large plate of overcooked pasta absolutely drowning in thick tomato sauce, which tasted suspiciously like Prego in a jar.
My husband ordered Penne with Sausage and Peppers. It actually looked pretty appetizing, and it tasted okay, but for $16.95 it didn’t bowl me over.
My daughter had spaghetti from the children’s menu, which even she didn’t think was all that great. She did, however, really like the chocolate ice cream she had for dessert. Along with the bread, it was the highlight of the meal.
We probably should have ordered steak or seafood since those apparently are their specialties (it’s called Bertucci’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant), but I would have been really aggravated to pay $30.00 for a mediocre piece of meat.
The bottom line: Bertucci’s is the kind of place you go if you’re looking for an overpriced 60′s era American Italian menu. It’s been there a long time so it must have some redeeming qualities. It’s just not my kind of place.
“I’ve got a new place and it’s right near here,” said Mo. So we hopped in her car and headed down to Evanston.
Although it’s been there for two years, I had never been into the Old Neighborhood Grill until yesterday. It’s a casual spot located at 2902 Central St. in Evanston. It serves burgers, dogs, sandwiches and a number of Greek dishes like spanakopita, kebabs, souvlaki, Greek chicken, etc. The burgers are made from fresh Black Angus and the Greek dishes are homemade. I ordered the Greek salad, which was so big it overflowed my plate, and Mo had the pork kebobs with tzatziki, which I had to sample if I was going to endorse this place. They were yummy.
Not only was the food good but we were treated like old friends. The owners, John and Theresa Tasiopoulos, have to be two of the friendliest and most welcoming people there are. John used to have a big corporate IT job with 190 people reporting to him. But he HATED it, so Theresa convinced him to go ahead and fulfill his lifelong dream of having his own restaurant. He did and has never looked back.
We commented on the gorgeous inlaid wood counter top…not the typical Formica type counter you would expect in a place like this. Turns out the counter and all the tables in the place were made by John’s father, Peter, who also happened to be on hand while we were there. When they went to convert the space from a mortgage company to a restaurant, Peter took all the black walnut door casings from the existing space and re-purposed them to make the furniture and counter top. How’s that for green?
The restaurant is open six days a week from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm and closed on Sunday. You can see the restaurant’s full menu here.
And when you go, tell John that Anne and Mo sent you, and you’ll get a 25% discount on any order over $20.00.
If you hate to cook or you like to cook but don’t have enough people coming over to make cooking a big meal worthwhile, why not go out to eat? There are several North Shore restaurants that are open for business on Thanksgiving Day. Just another thing to be thankful for!
Globe Cafe and Bar
1710 Orrington Ave.
1625 Hinman Ave.
2545 Prairie Ave.
Skokie (Old Orchard Mall)
McCormick & Schmick’s
4999 Old Orchard Rd.
4999 Old Orchard Rd.
64 Green Bay Rd.