Located just a few blocks from New Trier High, chef Michael Lachowicz's restaurant schools most suburban eateries. Once the pupil of Jean Banchet and Roland Liccioni at the legendary Le Francais, Lachowicz has now become the teacher. If you dropped his cozy little beige- and dark-wood-filled, white-tablecloth restaurant into the city, it would easily hold its own.
The kitchen dishes up superb standards, like gruyere scented gougeres (cream puffs) and salad Lyonnaise with crunchy frisee, smoky bacon and brioche croutons blessed with the sweet tang of a red wine, shallot and mustard vinaigrette. For urbanites looking to get a foie gras fix, Lachowicz's seared medallions enrobed in a truffled strudel will sate their cravings. The offerings also riff a bit beyond the bistro, and channel Morocco with a grilled quail on a bed of jasmine-perfumed rice served with rosemary toasted walnuts.
With only a dozen tables and a few banquette-style booths, the seating here feels intimate. For a more wallet-friendly visit, stop in on a Tuesday and tote your personal vino when there's no corkage fee. Appetizers range $7-$16, while entrees cost $27–$29.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant