The Barn Steakhouse

Exterior

Interior

Interior

Ceviche

Lamb chops (Saturday special)

**** (4 stars)

This charming restaurant is indeed in an old, two-story brick barn that was a Bordens Milk plant in the distant past. The space has been nicely remodeled while saving its charm.

The Barn styles itself as a Chicago steakhouse, but there is a lot more on the menus, and none of us actually had steak. We really enjoyed the very generous ceviche appetizer. Another favorite is their famous caviar sandwich, which is also a generous serving, and the caviar was quite good for the price.

As an entree I had the lamb chops, which were excellent. Four large chops were perfectly cooked, and served in a wonderfully flavorful sauce that conatined a hint of licorice. The is a Saturday special, so if lamb is your thing, that’s the day to go.

There’s a fairly extensive wine list.

Service was friendly and professional.

Because of the brick walls, the space can get quite loud when busy, so it’s best to go early. The upstairs seating in the loft is a little bit quieter.

The Barn Steakhouse
1016 Church St
Rear
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 868-8041
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-barn-steakhouse-evanston-4

Patisserie Coralie

Counter

Large moccha

Interior

***** (5 stars)

This delightful french patisserie is owned by the same people at long time favorites Bistro Bordeaux and Creperie Saint Germain.

The pastries are as authentic as you’d expect, and the coffee is top-notch.

What a difference the change in decor from Cafe Mozart days! The formerly dark space is now light and airy, and a delightful place to sit and have a pastry and coffee.

The most pleasant thing about my visit was the cheerful server; she made the experience a very welcoming one.

Patisserie Coralie
600 Davis St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 905-0491
https://www.yelp.com/biz/patisserie-coralie-evanston

Hearth Restaurant

Exterior

Svickova

Cavatelli Carbonara

***** (5 stars)

I love the ambiance at Hearth, with its feeling of old Southern charm. It’s similar to when it was Quince (and the receipt even says Quince) but the food is even better now, and the prices very reasonable.

The menu features interesting small plates, and also lets you select a half portion of the larger plates, so it’s a great place to graze. Everything is house-made, including the various delicate varieties of pasta. The menu changes seasonally, with a few favorites always retained.

We began with vichyssoise, which was significantly over-salted, but contained some wonderfully sweet morsels of lobster.

Burrata was a good starter, served with nicely grilled toast. I was uncertain what to do with the accompanying lentils.

The scallops served with passion fruit and cauliflower puree were a standout. The chef really wanted us to try this dish, and I’m glad we did. The scallops were perfectly cooked, and the puree was divine. We also loved the baby sweet carrots.

Svickova was an interesting dish, a bit like a stroganoff. It consisted of beautifully cooked beef tenderloin, house made garlic spaetzle, and wild mushrooms in a sour cream dill sauce. We loved the crispy bits of browned spaetzle.

Cavatelli Carbonara was also scrumptious. The obviously house-made pasta was suffused with a rich mixture of bacon and caramelized onions, and topped with a truffle arugula salad. A half order was plenty for two!

There’s a nice wine list with an emphasis on France, and extensive selections by the glass.

Service was extremely friendly, and the chef makes an effort to visit with each table, something that never happened at Quince.

On nice evenings it’s delightful to dine on the front porch.

Hearth Restaurant
1625 Hinman Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 570-8400
https://www.yelp.com/biz/hearth-restaurant-evanston

Whiskey Thief Tavern

Exterior

Interior

Mirrored wall

Barrel booths

Broccoli

Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 21 Bourbon

**** (4 stars)

This is a great addition to Evanston’s bar scene. The place has a superb atmosphere, with its funky barrel booths, mirrored wall, and rough-hewn tables. It manages to be eclectic, tavern-like, and a sports bar, all at once, depending on where you sit.

The menu includes sports bar staples, but also interesting items such as bacon wrapped dates and a delicious roasted broccoli.

Service was extremely friendly. I was early, and the bartender was waiting on all the tables, too, and she did a great job. The front desk staff also seemed really happy to great each customer.

In fact, the only reason I haven’t rated it five stars is that, ironically, I wasn’t that impressed with their whiskey selection. It’s almost all mass marketed products, whether blended or single malt. I was hoping for a larger selection of obscure and eclectic offerings, including some higher end brands. I did enjoy the Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 21 Year Bourbon I had. The generous pour in a good whiskey tasting glass was well worth the $21 price.

Whiskey Thief Tavern
616 Davis St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 859-2342
https://www.yelp.com/biz/whiskey-thief-tavern-evanston

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter

**** (4 stars)

It’s always a pleasure to eat where the employees are really passionate about what they do, and that epitomizes The Amazing Kale Burger. From the moment I walked in I felt right at home, and my server’s enthusiasm for the food was very clear.

I tried the Vaden, which is served with a beet-based BBQ sauce. The kale burger patty is quite delicious, with all the ingredient in balance, and a nice crust from cooking. The accompanying lettuce and tomato were quite fresh, and the BBQ sauce was delicious. The bun was a bit small, sturdy and dry for my taste, but I can see where others might like it.

For a side dish I had pickled asparagus, which was tossed with yellow peppers and extremely fresh oregano bits. It was delicious.

House made mint tea was pleasantly unsweetened.

The kale burger was one of the better vegetarian patties I’ve had, and I’d often choose it over a meat patty if it were available elsewhere. Coincidentally, I ate here on national burger day!

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter
741 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 660-4330
http://www.yelp.com/biz/amazing-kale-burger-lunch-counter-evanston

Peckish Pig

*** (3 stars)

This gastropub has a bright, airy indoor area and a lovely patio out back. There is an interesting variety of beers, and an assortment of sandwiches and other pub food.

The chicken panini we tried was nicely pressed, but the brie cheese was mostly rind, which gave it a bit of a musty flavor. The accompanying fries were a bit limp, but tasty. The quinoa salad was fresh, although not particularly flavorful.

We received great service from Caitlyn.

While I don’t know that I would plan on dining here again, it would be a fun place to go for a beer after work.

Peckish Pig
623 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 491-6778
http://www.yelp.com/biz/peckish-pig-evanston

Dollop Coffee & Hoosier Mama Pie Company

*** (3 stars)

Uniting two local chains, this is a place to get coffee and pie. Ironically, the best offerings aren’t either of those, they’re the sandwiches.

The large open space is bright and friendly, a good place to relax or get some work done, and there is a fair sized patio out front. Service is friendly, although it’s odd how long it takes to do something as simple as serve a slice of pie, even when you’re the only customer.

The pies are good, but they won’t change your life, and the coffee is just adequate.

But the sandwiches are delicious. I had the Ploughman, a generous serving of ham and cheddar cheese with apple slices, chutney, mustard, mayo and lettuce on a fresh baguette. The combination worked great together. If I return it will be to try the other sandwiches, especially the BLT.

Dollop Coffee & Hoosier Mama Pie Company
749 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 868-8863
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dollop-coffee-and-hoosier-mama-pie-company-evanston

Buffalo Joe’s

**** (4 stars)

This is a good wings place, but they actually have a lot more, including hamburgers, hot dogs and even vegetarian sandwiches. Everything is cooked to order, so it’s hot and fresh, and there is a nice enough dining area both in front and in back. Service is fast and efficient. Cash only.

Buffalo Joe’s
812 Clark St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-5525
http://www.yelp.com/biz/buffalo-joes-evanston

DMK Burger & Fish

**** (4 stars)

It’s nice to find a burger place with table service. This small restaurant offers counter service to go, but if you want to eat in, just have  seat.

The veggie burger I had was delicious, with a nice crust, and moist, tasty filling, and good toppings. The bun tended to self-destruct, even though it had been nicely grilled, but fortunately I had a knife and fork!

The fries were tasty but a bit soggy, although that was mostly masked by the excellent blue cheese and bacon topping.

Service, by Tess, was great, friendly and informative. Nice place.

DMK Burger & Fish
815 Noyes St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 424-8226
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dmk-burger-and-fish-evanston

Naf Naf Grill

*** (3 stars)

This is basically a middle eastern Chipotle. You choose a salad bowl or rice bowl or pita, a main ingredient such as falafel or shawarma, and then pick the accompaniments. There’s not much point in choosing the pita, because the bowl comes with a pita anyway.

The falafel was nice and crunchy. I had it on a salad, which would have been rather dry and bland had I not added hummus, which is $1.50 extra.

Combo meals come with a drink and a side. I chose the fries, which were actually house made potato chips. They would have been good had they been fresh and crisp, but mine were soggy.

For about the same amount of money I could have gone around the corner to Olive Mountain and had table service.

Naf Naf Grill
1629 Orrington Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 866-8470
http://www.yelp.com/biz/naf-naf-grill-evanston-2