Parent’s week is upon us, and we all know what that means: time for some seriously good food. Not to say homemade PB&J and grilled cheese sandwiches aren’t tasty, but it’s nice to get away from the humdrum food routine for a weekend and really indulge. My parents are pretty used to my browsing the top restaurants in Evanston and making reservations, and I’ve picked a couple winners over time.
Chef’s Station, right under the El train stop, is truly a hidden treasure. The atmosphere is elegant and sophisticated, with chandeliers and beautifully clothed tables all around. A trip to Chef’s Station is a chance to dress up for the occasion and really live up the glamorous dining experience you’re presented with.
The waiters are very attentive and seem pleased to serve you. The minute you sit down, a warm breadbasket and a dish of soft, smooth butter appear. And the bread is only the start of the delicious meal ahead. Everything on the menu is prepared exquisitely. I tasted my mother’s lamb chops, cooked to perfection, and my dad’s steak, accompanied with a sensational sauce. I ordered the salmon with braised leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, and fennel and a side of grilled asparagus. The salmon was cooked well through (as I like it) and the vegetables on the dish were juicy and really complemented the flavors of the fish. The grilled asparagus was grilled with grated Parmesan cheese and lemon drizzle on top. Hands down, this was the best asparagus dish I have ever eaten, and the salmon surely makes the top three of my favorite preparations at a restaurant. The desert was exceptional. My family loves desserts, so we made sure to try three dishes. The first was a bread pudding with a great texture distribution of spices, the second was a chocolate soufflé, which was warm with an oozing, rich, deep chocolate sauce, and the third was a plain (but not so!) chocolate cake with a berry cup and ice-cream scoop for dipping.
Address: 915 Davis Street
Hours: Mon: Closed, Tues-Thurs: 5-9pm, Fri-Sat: 5-11pm, Sun: 5-10pm
Pete Miller’s, the well-known steakhouse, is always bustling. The scene is business-casual with live jazz music playing all night. The waiters are eager to assist and don’t rush you through your meal. Apart from the main dining rooms, there is also a casual sports bar room with some high tables for bigger groups to hang out at.
As for appetizers, I suggest ordering the spinach artichoke fondue with crostini; the dip is rich and smooth. If you’re in the mood for a soup, opt for the baked French onion; the cheeses and caramelized onions bring out an intense flavor that makes you eager for the next course. Without a doubt, Pete’s prime steaks are killer. You truly cannot go wrong with any type of steak, but I recommend the NY strip steak or the 7 oz filet mignon for those who want a smaller portion of meat. Yet, meat isn’t the only entrée option; the Chilean sea bass and the pistachio crusted grouper are cooked thoroughly with just the right amount of zesty sauce. The side dishes come in large portions, but they definitely don’t go to waste. Be sure to try the three cheese potato cake, the sweet potato fries, garlic broccoli, and baked mac & cheese. As for dessert, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate cake.
Address: 1557 Sherman Avenue
Hours: Tues-Sat 4:30pm-1am, Sun-Mon 4:30pm-12am
Stained Glass, a contemporary American restaurant, is classy and elegant. The interior is beautiful, and the staff lives up to high-end restaurant standards.
The menu has great variety, from both cold and hot appetizers to desserts. A great starter is the thai-spiced beef salad with baby bok choy, baby greens and a dressing that gives it a kick. The menu offers appetizers for two as well, such as the cheese platter with fruit and walnuts and the tarte flambé pizza with caramelized onion, bacon, and gruyère. As for entrees, the Scottish salmon served with a watermelon radish salad is exceptional. I also recommend the beluga lentil “falafel” with Greek yogurt and the potato gnocchi. The falafel is crisp and highlights a more Mediterranean style. For dessert, there is really only one option: the dessert sampler per person. Enjoy chocolate bombe mousse with pistachios, chocolate hazelnut cake with amaretto, and a white chocolate panna cotta. Yum!
Address: 1735 Benson Avenue
Hours: Sun-Thurs 5-9pm, Fri-Sat 5-10pm
Le Bistro Bordeaux transports you to France for exquisite, traditional French cuisine. The interior is stunning, yet quaint, and the waiters are well mannered and pleased to serve you.
The menu has a great “of the day” section for soups, tartes and oysters. I recommend the salade de betterave au chèvre, a salad of beet tartare, fried goat cheese and spiced almonds topped with vinaigrette. My favorite entrée is definitely the Idaho river trout, along with grilled potatoes, vegetables, and a citrus almond brown butter sauce. The sauce enhances the flavors of the fish with its perfect buttery creaminess. I also enjoyed the duck breast with apples. And don’t forget dessert! One of my favorite desserts in Evanston is on this menu: the terrine au chocolat noir, a 70% dark chocolate terrine with fresh raspberry coulis. The darkness of the chocolate is so rich and potent that you seriously cherish each bite. I also suggest trying the sweet fried brioche with ice cream and caramel.
Address: 618 Church Street
Hours: Mon-Thurs 5:30-9pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm, Sun: 5-9pm, Sunday Brunch: 10:30am-1:30pm
So start making your reservations and enjoy your parents’ visit!