Monday, May 30, 2011

Stoney River, Deer Park, IL

This restaurant is located at 20504 North Rand Rd, Deer Park, IL 60010. The phone number is (847) 719-1596.
We arrived shortly before 6 o’clock and were shown to a side room. It had three large round tables down the middle and booths around the sides. The wall between this room and the bar helped to cut down the noise, which was appreciated since it allowed us to talk across the table.

The lights were set at a restful level and the customers looked to be dressed in business casual or a bit nicer.

The waitress was attentive, regularly coming past the table to check to see that we had everything we needed. There were a few points that could have been improved on; she put the desert silverware in the center of the table where it was a little hard to reach. Overall the service was good.

This is a restaurant that specializes in steak, and it shows. I had an excellent steak, and Jim said that the prime rib he got was one of the best he’s ever had. They have other dishes, like the salmon that Frank got, which are also good.

After everyone had ordered baskets of fried biscuits with sweet butter were brought. These were so good that I had to consciously resist the urge to eat the entire basketful.

Each steak came with an order of potatoes, which could be changed to a vegetable for a small charge. There were around eight options on the potatoes including baked potato, baked sweet potato, fries, mashed potatoes with caramelized onions, and au gratin potatoes. There were a number of vegetable options. All of the potato options tried tasted good. I had the fries and felt that they were nothing special, but they were pretty good fries. The au gratin potatoes were interesting. They were made with parmesan rather than cheddar, and came out looking like a grayish white brick. Apparently it was a good tasting brick, but Jim said the shape and color made it look rather like a urinal cake. Outside of that unfortunate visual the food was excellent and looked good.

We also got an order of asparagus with the meal. It was a generous serving of cooked asparagus. It was good, though not anything extraordinary.

Desert was a dish with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream between two large cookies made of almond slices. It was sweet and not too heavy, making it an excellent desert.

Prices are rather on the high side. The cuts of meat are good cuts of meat well prepared, which the prices reflect. The other dishes were reasonably priced for their size.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Seasons 52, Schaumburg, IL

This restaurant at 1770 E Higgins Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173. The phone number is (847) 517-5252. Seasons 52 has a seasonal menu, which naturally changes four times a year, and a weekly list of specials. None of the items on the menu is more than 475 calories. It also has a wine list and full bar.

We arrived at 4:45 and, after a gathering in the piano bar we were taken to the Chef's table. This is a table seating up to ten people that has a decorative wall between it and the main dining room.

The restaurant and bar are dark wood. The diners were mostly wearing casual to business casual clothing. The noise level at the Chef's table was very comfortable level for conversation. In the main dining room it was somewhat louder, though not too bad for a group smaller than eight.

The server came by at regular intervals. She checked whether we needed anything without being pushy about it. They weren't perfect but the server looked like she was doing her best. The most noticeable example of imperfection was when one of the eight sets of silverware didn't make it to the table with the entrees.

Since we were at the Chef's table a small free appetizer was presented by the chef. This was goat cheese on artichoke heart with wild arugula and half a grape tomato. This was quite tasty.

For appetizers the Baked Stuffed Mushrooms and the Ripe Plum Tomato Flatbread. The flatbread was crispy and pleasantly seasoned with garlic and cheese. It reminded me of a fancy thin crust pizza. The mushrooms were stuffed with crab meat and had a shrimp to cap the mushroom and nearly the whole plate was covered with Parmesan cheese. Each mushroom was in its own well on the plate.

I ordered a spicy black bean soup to arrive before dinner, which it did. It was a decent black bean soup, though nothing extraordinary.

I got the Cedar Plank Salmon for dinner. It came with whole roasted carrots, asparagus, and red potatoes. The salmon was good and the vegetables were excellent. They didn't need any further seasoning.

The deserts come in shot glasses. I got the Meyer Lemon Cake. A deliciously lemony desert with whipped cream on top.

Price: The dinners were reasonably priced. So were the soup and the deserts, deserts were $2.50. The appetizer was somewhat less reasonable, though not unreasonable.