If you know what pomme frites are, then Maijean might be your kind of place (they're French fries, by the way). Tucked away in the quiet suburb of Clarendon Hills, this upscale French restaurant oozes class and sophistication. From the whimsical plating to the elegant decor, the bistro is a perfect place to impress a first date by showing off your appreciation for the finer things. It may also play well with affluent suburbanites who enjoy fine wines and fancy French food.
Named after the grandmother of chef and owner Nadia Talkian, Maijean opened in the small downtown square in the summer of 2007. Despite its fancy aura, the restaurant has a homey feel to it. A fireplace warms its small, cozy dining room, and the welcoming bar showcases some fantastic swirling woodwork. But a word of caution: you will feel out of place if you dress too casual.
As the restaurant's website states, the food here "ranges from timeless country French fare to creative comfort foods." The menu features a handful of appetizers in the $10 range, including baked escargot, assorted pates and crisp veal sweetbreads. Entrees ($18-$32) range from calf's liver and steak frites to blanquette de veau (a traditional veal stew), and you can expect a revolving list of daily specials.
A few weekly specials offer less expensive ways to give Maijean a try. On Tuesday, it's girls' night out, so ladies get special prices on drinks, appetizers and desserts from 8 to 10 p.m. Or diners can get a prix-fixe dinner for $26 from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Jim Collins