LTH Home

  Prairie Grass Cafe - Northbrook

  Prairie Grass Cafe - Northbrook
  • Forum HomeLocked Topic BackTop
     Page 1 of 3
  • Prairie Grass Cafe - Northbrook

    Post #1 - September 16th, 2008, 3:04 pm
    Post #1 - September 16th, 2008, 3:04 pm Post #1 - September 16th, 2008, 3:04 pm
    Image

    Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook is my great neighborhood restaurant, even though it isn't exactly in my neighborhood (it's actually one suburb over). PGC has become one of my favorites for a number of reasons. Above all else, though, their wholesome food -- which is comprised largely of local and seasonal ingredients -- is delicious, carefully-prepared and genuine. The chefs -- Green City Market co-founder Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris -- are remarkably talented and their decades of experience working together (at Ritz Carlton before they opened PGC back in 2004) add up to an ever-evolving menu that is uniquely diverse, yet unified in its 'local and handmade' sensibility.

    The chefs are very light-handed in their preparations. The resulting dishes are consistently delicious and never overmanipulated or concocted. The often-innovative combinations are grounded in the traditional but branch out in ways that allow the featured ingredients to shine while reflecting the chefs' collective experience in working with them. Their Untraditional Shepherd's Pie -- made with chunks of tender pot roast which are covered in a tasty mixture of mashed root vegetables -- has become a favorite. They offer several fantastic variations on Eggs Benedict, all of which are topped with the best hollandaise sauce (or a roasted tomato variant for some versions) in Chicagoland. This is one of the few restaurants in Chicagoland which offers grass-fed beef on the menu every day.

    Eating at Prairie Grass Cafe is like having a casual meal in the home of a Beard Award-winning chef. The skill level is high and the vibe is comfortable. Of course, chef Stegner has won 2 Beard Awards, so that's more than an idle analogy.

    No detail is ignored at Prairie Grass Cafe. Even their bread, -- baguette which is sourced from Bennison's bakey and their world-renowned Jory Downer -- is served warm to every table, along with unsalted Plugra butter. Soups are delicious, seasonal and never overwrought. A variety of delectable, juicy sausages are made from scratch. Pies are made by chef Stegner's mother. There are no fried items on their Kids Menu. Specials, which frequently feature short-run or hard-to-find ingredients, are offered throughout the year. The restaurant has a conscience but it is not one of convenience, nor is it sanctimonious. Their philsophy is sincere and very much a part of who they are but it does not overshadow the dining experience. They do not hit you over the head with it. If you are into that sort of thing, you will most definitely appreciate it. If you are not, you might not even notice it.

    Prairie Grass Cafe is also an ideal place to have a variety of meals. I can comfortably take my family there for dinner or a weekend brunch. I also host business dinners there on a regular basis. I carry-out lunch from PGC for my office several times per month, as well. And while the selections vary greatly at these different meals, they are consistent in that every ingredient is chosen with care and the preparation is notably high.

    PGC is a distinctive restaurant that accomplishes its mission gracefully and with excellence. Their food is outstanding. It's a friendly place where the owners are always around to make sure that customers are being well taken care of. Over the long haul, it continues to get better which, I believe, is a reflection of the passion for both great food and providing great service, that is shared by the entire team at the restaurant, both BOH and FOH. While it is my personal great neighborhood restaurant, it is also a restaurant that resonates far beyond its geographical location. It's an ideal destination not only for those who live nearby and in the surrounding suburbs but also for folks in the city who want a great meal. Prairie Grass Cafe is my 2008 nominee for LTH Great Neighborhood Restaurant designation.

    Prairie Grass Cafe (main thread)

    Prairie Grass Cafe - Spring/Summer menu 2008 (recent adjunct thread)

    =R=

    Prairie Grass Cafe
    601 Skokie Blvd
    Northbrook, IL 60062
    847 205-4433
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - September 16th, 2008, 3:20 pm
    Post #2 - September 16th, 2008, 3:20 pm Post #2 - September 16th, 2008, 3:20 pm
    I'm happy to second this nomination. Although I haven't eaten there nearly as often as Ronnie_Suburban, the meals that I have had have all been exquisite. Weekend brunch at Prairie Grass has broken me from my greasy spoon diner habit. I find myself craving the various preparations of eggs benedict every week starting around Wednesday. One of the best things I have eaten all year was the special Eggs "Benedict" served over crumbled bacon with baby farmers market heirloom tomatoes.

    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - September 16th, 2008, 3:52 pm
    Post #3 - September 16th, 2008, 3:52 pm Post #3 - September 16th, 2008, 3:52 pm
    I'm behind this one as well.

    With some anticipation of this nomination, I recently chronicled my experience with PGC. Admittedly, I was underwhelmed at first, but with each time I ate there, I found something more to wonder at. And the last meal hit all high notes.

    To quote myself a couple of times.

    gastro gnome wrote:I ordered the signature benedict which was a a delight in the gestalt. Each bite was a sunny May afternoon - the kind you'd welcome any time of the year.

    gastro gnome wrote:There is a place in my heart and my stomach for local, well-executed just plain good food. That, I am beginning to discover, is what Prairie Grass is all about.


    I have not tried some of the many inventive combinations that Ronnie references above. Rather, I can highly recommend this restaurant based on their renditions of simple ingredients like eggs, potatoes and cheese. And that is a fine (and impressive) thing indeed.
  • Post #4 - September 16th, 2008, 8:50 pm
    Post #4 - September 16th, 2008, 8:50 pm Post #4 - September 16th, 2008, 8:50 pm
    OK, I'll second. :D

    -ramon
  • Post #5 - September 16th, 2008, 11:17 pm
    Post #5 - September 16th, 2008, 11:17 pm Post #5 - September 16th, 2008, 11:17 pm
    I could certainly agree with honoring Prairie Grass. Great food, great concept, excellent service. It has become a favorite spot for "nouvelle Americana."
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #6 - September 22nd, 2008, 5:57 pm
    Post #6 - September 22nd, 2008, 5:57 pm Post #6 - September 22nd, 2008, 5:57 pm
    Lunch today at PGC was a very nice experience thanks largely to the terrific company, but I have to say I'm less enthusiastic about the restaurant. Everything I tasted was good, but nothing really stood out to me as making PGC a special place to dine. I thought the best item was the warm Bennison's bakery baguette.

    The table ordered appetizers to share, and my generous companions who ordered additional starters let me taste theirs. "Spicy Chicken Wings" were hot and juicy, but too mild for the moniker. I'd put them solidly in the top third of mild wings served at pubs in CollegeTown, USA. "Greek fries" had tasty toppings, but the potatoes themselves were too limp. (Full disclosure: I am at odds with the British practice of putting malt vinegar on fries, as it invariably makes them soggy; so it's not surprising that these vinegar-topped fries were not to my taste.) "Tortilla soup" was tasty, but would have been better named "Tomato soup," as I found the flavor one-dimensional tomatoey, with plenty of what I assume was cream for richness. A good, seasonal soup, but I guess the expectation had been set in my mind for something a little more exciting. Dialing back of flavor was a fairly consistent theme to me, as the chicken caesar salad - while also fine - had just a bare whif of anchovy (the chicken in the salad, otoh, was a very tasty grilled breast - cooked about as well as I could imagine this cut being prepared). Guacamole was perhaps the most flavorful of the starters, but the chips were too thin and - to be honest - not all that fresh, in my opinion.

    I'll spare you the detailed descriptions of the lamb sausage, tuna melt, pasta, and other entrees. I thought they were all good, but wouldn't describe any of them with much more ebullient adjectives than that.

    There was one outstanding dessert: a huge, gooey, hot chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream. The rest were also good, but I have to say - for a place I thought had a focus on seasonality, it was surprising to see such ubiquitous and heavy-handed use of supermarket-quality, white-in-the-center, made-for-shipping-not-eating, strawberries. Where were the season's peaches, pears, apples, plums, etc.?

    I have no strong opposition to this nomination if it resonates with others in our community - just thought I'd share that there's at least one LTHer who isn't all that enthused about PGC.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #7 - September 22nd, 2008, 6:58 pm
    Post #7 - September 22nd, 2008, 6:58 pm Post #7 - September 22nd, 2008, 6:58 pm
    I'm really sorry Kenny, that PGC didn't do more for you. My observations on many of the things we tasted is today are similar to yours, but they led me to different conclusions. A good example would be the 'tortilla' soup which I would agree might be a bit of a misnomer. Still, though, I thought it was excellent, with a bright, intense flavor and satisfying texture. No question however, that it isn't tortilla soup in the form I normally encounter it.

    What I love about the wings is that you can really taste the moist, excellent-quality chicken and their grilled flavor. Again, perhaps the label here led, in part, to your disappointment because they are definitely not 'hot wings' in the usual sense. They are certainly not bland but they are not 'buffalo,' either. My expectations were set based on previous experience and I really enjoy them -- as well as the house-made ranch dressing that was served with them.

    I'm not much of a dessert person but I did enjoy a few of the ones we were served today -- especially the cookie you describe above and the moist and dense chocolate cake. A lot of the produce that's served at PGC is sourced at the Green City Market but that's obviously not the case across the board. Still, I thought the berries we had today were -- with the exception of the strawberries -- outstanding. The raspberries, for example, were really great. The other night, I did taste an exquisite peach crisp topped with house-made vanilla ice cream, so the seasonal items are regularly in play on the dessert side. I guess it just depends on the day.

    I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this because I respect your opinion immensely. Still, I stand by my nomination and hope that others can appreciate the aspects of PGC that make it so special to me.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #8 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:17 pm
    Post #8 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:17 pm Post #8 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:17 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I'm really sorry Kenny, that PGC didn't do more for you...=R=


    Hey, no problem. It's the kind of place that I could see growing on me if I were to start going more frequently. My comments about PGC cafe are similar to what many people say about Mado - a place I absolutely adore. I've gotten to know the chefs and staff at Mado, and as a result I feel extremely comfortable every time I walk in. It's like a second home to me. No doubt the psychological effect colors my opinion of the food. The staff and feel at PGC were very warm, and the food was certainly good. Give me some time to get to know them, and I bet the same dishes start tasting even better. It's impossible - imo - to completely separate psychological intangibles from the palate - and I do not think that would be a worthwhile goal anyway.

    And, to be clear - I like PGC plenty enough that if someone invited me for lunch or dinner, I'd be pleased. If someone asked me for a recommendation in the area, it would be on my list.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #9 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:41 pm
    Post #9 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:41 pm Post #9 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:41 pm
    I strongly support the nomination of Prairie Grass Cafe for a GNR. In my opinion, one of the true tests of a great chef is taking a dish which you've eaten all of your life, and preparing it so well that you ask yourself whether you've ever really had the dish before, and whether you can ever enjoy the usual version of the dish as much. That's how I felt when I first tried PGC's Shepherd's Pie. Now I've dined at PGC 5 times (all for dinner) and each meal has been excellent, both in terms of food and service. A large element of PGC's style is to re-introduce you to dishes you've eaten all of your life, but prepared with twists that make you realize that there's some real star power in the kitchen. I grew up in Northbrook and I find PGC to be a bit unusual compared to other dining options in town . . . more market driven, and offering a more sophisticated style of comfort food. And I've always found the execution to be excellent.

    I've largely followed two rules when dining at PGC: I have always made sure to order the house made pate or sausage when one is on the menu (and at least one of the two always is) as it's sure to be a star, and 2) I've always saved room for a slice of one of Chef Stegner's mom's pies (one of the very few things in life I won't share). Although I wish PGC was around when I grew up in Northbrook, I'll take satisfaction in knowing that with PGC's proximity to the Dundee exit of the resurfaced Edens, PGC is a quick drive from the north side of the city.
  • Post #10 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:46 pm
    Post #10 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:46 pm Post #10 - September 22nd, 2008, 7:46 pm
    Reading back over the threads about Prairie Grass, I'm thinking I didn't order to their strengths. Their style tends towards rich and unctuous and I tend to prefer bright flavors. Where the food had bright notes, I enjoyed it: the "greek" fries (less the fries themselves and more the delicious herbed cheese and viniagrette they were sprinkled with,) the sausage with the veggies in balsamic reduction, the chicken wings which were flavorful although not particularly spicy, (as would be my preference) and I liked the various house-made salad dressings and dipping sauces. However, I found the salmon crepe to be extremely eggy and rich; the salmon and cucumber filling muted, instead of a hoped-for counterpoint - I had similar feelings about the pasta and some of the other dishes. I did appreciate the unfussy nature of the food; I found nothing to be pretentious or precious - what you ordered is what arrives on your plate, without foam, gelee, towering stack, or anti-griddling.

    Before I made a judgement, though, I'd say I ought to go back and try the beef (which was my first impulse, and I should have stuck with it) and the brunch dishes that are mentioned with such love in the other threads (I'm a sucker for a good eggs benedict, where unctuous takes its rightful place)
  • Post #11 - September 22nd, 2008, 9:26 pm
    Post #11 - September 22nd, 2008, 9:26 pm Post #11 - September 22nd, 2008, 9:26 pm
    Mhays wrote:. . . the brunch dishes that are mentioned with such love in the other threads (I'm a sucker for a good eggs benedict, where unctuous takes its rightful place)

    Hold that thought! :)

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #12 - September 29th, 2008, 10:01 am
    Post #12 - September 29th, 2008, 10:01 am Post #12 - September 29th, 2008, 10:01 am
    Until yesterday, I'd never been to Prairie Grass for brunch. My impression of the menu was that it was fairly plebian, or at least straightforward - eggs benedicts, omelettes, other common breakfast items, and a few lunch items. I ordered a smoked salmon benedict - first impression, when the plate came to the table was the portions weren't of the belly-busting size that can be so common at many brunch spots. That's a good thing - portions seemed carefully considered, not exaggerated for a faux impression of value.

    With my first bite, the dish was revelatory. I can't remember poached eggs ever tasting so eggy, hollandaise so richly buttery, such depth of smoky salmon flavor ... as stated above, the kitchen keeps things simple, and finds ways to coax maximum flavors from pristine ingredients.

    It's not a slightly grubby ethnic place, but it's certainly a Great Neighborhood Restaurant.
  • Post #13 - October 3rd, 2008, 9:48 am
    Post #13 - October 3rd, 2008, 9:48 am Post #13 - October 3rd, 2008, 9:48 am
    I had two dinners at Prairie Grass, a while ago (more than a year now I think). So my data points may not be worth much, being both small in number and not up to date.

    But while I enjoyed my meals (we tried several dishes among the table, including the shepherd's pie if memory serves), they didn't inspire me to go back anymore.

    Prairie Grass is about a 30 minute drive for me (each way), and nothing about the food or the place made me want to make the drive again.

    If I lived closer, maybe I'd go back. And I'd recommend it to someone in the area looking for such a meal. But personally, if a place doesn't inspire me to travel an hour round trip to ever eat there again, I don't count it as GNR worthy.

    Just my opinion of course.
  • Post #14 - October 3rd, 2008, 4:30 pm
    Post #14 - October 3rd, 2008, 4:30 pm Post #14 - October 3rd, 2008, 4:30 pm
    to comment on the note above- I've only been there once, so take this with that grain of salt- my experience there was just ok. i thought the menu was really unfocused and most of the food was good but not great.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #15 - October 4th, 2008, 5:22 pm
    Post #15 - October 4th, 2008, 5:22 pm Post #15 - October 4th, 2008, 5:22 pm
    I find Prairie Grass worthy of its nomination. It is one of the best restaurants on the North Shore in its price range. It's brunch is second to none with exceptional Benedict combinations including a perfect salmon benedict. Very few if any North Shore restaurants go to the lengths to use local ingredients as PGC including grass-fed beef from Tallgrass on its regular menu and various specials throughout the year with ingredients from the Green Ciy Market. PGC is corkage-friendly ($20), but has a varied wine list with quite a few great values. All around Prairie Grass has earned its spot as a Great Neighborhood Restaurant.
  • Post #16 - October 4th, 2008, 5:53 pm
    Post #16 - October 4th, 2008, 5:53 pm Post #16 - October 4th, 2008, 5:53 pm
    LTH,

    Count me a fan of Prairie Grass, quality ingredients with an eye toward seasonality, sustainability, and healthfulness prepared by a talented chef at the top of her game. I particularly appreciate PG's subtle somewhat straight forward approach, complex on an ingredient and preparation level rather than pantry explosion gelée of the day style.

    Plus I really love PG's Smoked Salmon Benedict.

    Prairie Grass Smoked Salmon Benedict

    Steve Z image
    Image

    Terrific GNR nomination, I second, third or whatever number we are currently on.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - October 8th, 2008, 2:30 pm
    Post #17 - October 8th, 2008, 2:30 pm Post #17 - October 8th, 2008, 2:30 pm
    LTH,

    Where do I begin? So much that I like about Prairie Grass Cafe will be obvious to anyone who dines there: original, beautiful, and delicious food; a full and nicely varied menu; attentive, professional service; reasonable prices; and a convenient location with easy parking.

    There are a few things you might not notice at first, that I think are valuable:

    Whenever I visit, I recognize the same serving staff. To me that means that employees are treated with respect, which means a lot.

    There is a different delicious soup every day, and the type depends on what's fresh at the market. As an avid shopper at farmers' markets, I applaud their use of local produce, not just with the soup but in most menu items, and the fact that the menu changes and reflects the season. They've recently started identifying their local sources on the menu.

    Not each menu item is wildly original, although some are. But even the dishes I know and make myself are prepared so perfectly that they are a real delight. The pork tenderloin with lemon caper sauce comes to mind. The whitefish is prepared simply, but a widely traveled executive I took to Prairie Grass told me it was the best piece of fish he had ever eaten.

    I encourage you to make Prairie Grass Cafe a regular stop on the North Shore for a terrific dining experience.
  • Post #18 - October 11th, 2008, 2:40 pm
    Post #18 - October 11th, 2008, 2:40 pm Post #18 - October 11th, 2008, 2:40 pm
    Prairie Grass should definitely get the Dept. of Second Chances award: today we joined in to the recurring theme of "initially not wowed, successively blown away" that surrounds this restaurant. I called it earlier, unctuous seems to be done well here - I had the eggs benedict and they were, indeed, the best I've ever put in my mouth.

    Precision is another theme at Prairie Grass: I noted that the famous hollandaise was precisely thick and exactly applied, the eggs precisely poached so the whites were completely cooked and the yolks still runny, the potatoes precisely crispy without being burnt. Sparky's Strawberry Texas French Toast was also precisely cooked: custardy inside, but with a slight exterior crunch that kept it from dissolving into goo like so many diner versions. The 'spouse had opted for a special, a kind of scrambled egg skillet, which was good.

    I'm wondering what flavoring is in that hollandaise (almost enough to whip out a saucepan and play around with recipes.) There's a delicious buttery, smoky undertone that marries perfectly with all the other Benedict flavors - the 'spouse likened it to a subtler version of smoked Gouda.

    Oh, and while Ronnie is, I'm sure, correct about Saturday dinner - we could practically hear crickets today at 11am - I think we were one of maybe three tables. Saturday brunch is a great way to go.
  • Post #19 - October 11th, 2008, 4:56 pm
    Post #19 - October 11th, 2008, 4:56 pm Post #19 - October 11th, 2008, 4:56 pm
    While I've only been to prairie Grass a couple of times, it's been wonderful when I've been there.
    In fact the one time I was there for brunch I had a surf and turf benedict that I debated about because it was such a splurge price wise...
    but it was such a transformative dish
    It was a crab cake and a tallgrass filet each topped with poached egg and hollandaise.
    I thought I had died............ and ......... gone............. to ............. heaven .......

    I could eat this every day and live happy and fat with clogged arteries....
    sigh....
    nuff said
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #20 - October 11th, 2008, 5:20 pm
    Post #20 - October 11th, 2008, 5:20 pm Post #20 - October 11th, 2008, 5:20 pm
    After the moderately disappointing lunch about which I posted, I had a much better brunch at Prairie Grass Cafe, where the kitchen most definitely knows how to poach an egg (an unfortunate rarity). This is a really tough nomination for me. On one hand, there are a couple of people for whom I have much respect, that are incredibly passionate about PGC, and then there are several more who have very positive things to say. On the other hand, while there is near universal praise of brunch, a scan of the lunch and dinner reports is much more mixed, and might even trend toward the pretty-mediocre side. If PGC were a brunch-only place, I think it'd be a shoe in. But, given that dinner is really the main thing here, I'd have a hard time justifying the award given the relatively large number of people who've provided less-than-glowing reports.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #21 - October 11th, 2008, 6:17 pm
    Post #21 - October 11th, 2008, 6:17 pm Post #21 - October 11th, 2008, 6:17 pm
    Kennyz wrote:But, given that dinner is really the main thing here, I'd have a hard time justifying the award given the relatively large number of people who've provided less-than-glowing reports.

    Kenny,

    Why do you contend that dinner is the "main thing" there? They are open for as many non-dinner services per week as dinner services. Their weekday lunch covers outnumber the weekday dinner covers. Sunday brunch is extremely popular. While I really enjoy their dinners, I don't think of PGC only as a dinner restaurant.

    From what I can distill (and I tried to locate and tally as accurately as possible without counting any poster twice), there are 7 posters who have been consistently 'less-than-glowing' (4 absolutely disliked, 3 thought 'good but not great') about PGC on these forums (and one of those who disliked it definitely did not reveal the entire story behind her visit but it should still be counted as a 'nay'). Fwiw, many of these people only posted about a single PGC experience, which is understandable, since they didn't care for it.

    Conversely, on this thread alone, there are 12 people who have dined there and support the nomination -- including 2 who glowed after second visits to the restaurant which, IMO, gets at the very nature of where PGC excels. Even you revised your original take after a subsequent visit (I did not count you in either group above). There are also at least 3 others who were completely enthusiastic about PGC on other threads, who haven't posted on this thread. While I don't think it should entirely come down to the numbers, that's about a 2:1 ratio of positives to negatives. On that basis, I just don't see the "less-than-glowing" opinions to be held by a "relatively large number of people."

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #22 - October 11th, 2008, 6:24 pm
    Post #22 - October 11th, 2008, 6:24 pm Post #22 - October 11th, 2008, 6:24 pm
    Guys, it's hard enough to summon up the gumption to say negative things about someone's nomination without having to undergo cross examination. What Kenny says is exactly right-- there's a mix of reviews (given that people will surely post more readily a positive than a negative review, 12 to 7 seems pretty evenly mixed to me) and if dinner isn't reviewed well, that's a BIG strike against any upscale restaurant. Let him have his say.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #23 - October 11th, 2008, 6:34 pm
    Post #23 - October 11th, 2008, 6:34 pm Post #23 - October 11th, 2008, 6:34 pm
    Mike G wrote:Guys, it's hard enough to summon up the gumption to say negative things about someone's nomination without having to undergo cross examination. What Kenny says is exactly right-- there's a mix of reviews (given that people will surely post more readily a positive than a negative review, 12 to 7 seems pretty evenly mixed to me) and if dinner isn't reviewed well, that's a BIG strike against any upscale restaurant. Let him have his say.

    I disagree with the premise that someone is more likely to post a positive review than a negative one, especially in a mostly anonymous setting. I also disagree with the premise that PGC is an "upscale" restaurant. Maybe it is by your definition but not by mine. Also, fwiw, it's 15:7 but who's counting? :wink:

    No one -- certainly not me -- is denying Kenny his say. I respect him, his knowledge and his opinion. In this case, I just happen to disagree with him and want to defend my nomination (of course, I do :D) He's posted several times on this thread explaining why he doesn't think PGC is GNR-worthy. I'm merely attempting to counter his argument -- and yours, for that matter. Is there some reason I shouldn't be doing that? I, perhaps naively, thought that was exactly what these nomination threads are for. Or is it only those who have negative opinions that are allowed to comment more than once?

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #24 - October 11th, 2008, 6:48 pm
    Post #24 - October 11th, 2008, 6:48 pm Post #24 - October 11th, 2008, 6:48 pm
    Ronnie,

    I definitely don't mean to bash PGC, as I think it's a fine place that is much beloved by fine LTHers.

    I'm not in favor of GNR-by-numbers, and I apologize if my post implied some kind of tally. I should have said "lunch and dinner" rather than just dinner, and the reason I think those are the main thing is that PGC serves lunch and dinner way more often than brunch. That's why it's the "main thing" to me, but other people certainly may interpret it differently.

    I'm not going to ask exactly how you got the 12-7 number, as I don't think it really matters. I will say that when I said the trend might be toward mediocre, I was referring to reports about lunch and dinner (and I was including my report and that of others who attended the LTH event with you a couple of weeks ago). Total reports might weigh more heavily on the positive, but my reading tells me that lunch and dinner reports are ambivalent at best.

    It's subjective and difficult to determine what really resonates with the board, and I respect the voters for undertaking the task. Here I offer just one man's subjective opinion.

    K
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #25 - October 11th, 2008, 7:00 pm
    Post #25 - October 11th, 2008, 7:00 pm Post #25 - October 11th, 2008, 7:00 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Also, fwiw, it's 15:7 but who's counting? :wink:


    I won't ask for details about 15:7 either, as we could have an endless discussion about what counts as what. My count is drastically different from yours, so if it matters to anyone else, they can do their own counting.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #26 - October 11th, 2008, 7:15 pm
    Post #26 - October 11th, 2008, 7:15 pm Post #26 - October 11th, 2008, 7:15 pm
    Kennyz wrote:Ronnie,

    I definitely don't mean to bash PGC, as I think it's a fine place that is much beloved by fine LTHers.

    I'm not in favor of GNR-by-numbers, and I apologize if my post implied some kind of tally. I should have said "lunch and dinner" rather than just dinner, and the reason I think those are the main thing is that PGC serves lunch and dinner way more often than brunch. That's why it's the "main thing" to me, but other people certainly may interpret it differently.

    I'm not going to ask exactly how you got the 12-7 number, as I don't think it really matters. I will say that when I said the trend might be toward mediocre, I was referring to reports about lunch and dinner (and I was including my report and that of others who attended the LTH event with you a couple of weeks ago). Total reports might weigh more heavily on the positive, but my reading tells me that lunch and dinner reports are ambivalent at best.

    It's subjective and difficult to determine what really resonates with the board, and I respect the voters for undertaking the task. Here I offer just one man's subjective opinion.

    K

    Thanks, Kenny. Again, I truly respect your opinion and if it felt like I was trying to squelch it in any way, I sincerely apologize, since nothing could be further from my intention. I also truly appreciate you taking it upon yourself to check PGC out -- and going out of your way to do so -- on multiple occasions. Fwiw, I never read your posts as bashing.

    Perhaps the trend to consider is that generally speaking, for those of us who truly love PGC, the more we dine there, the more that appreciation grows.

    Kennyz wrote:I won't ask for details about 15:7 either, as we could have an endless discussion about what counts as what. My count is drastically different from yours, so if it matters to anyone else, they can do their own counting.

    As for the numbers, I agree that those who care should do their own tallying but like you, I'd hate for it to come down to only that.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #27 - October 11th, 2008, 11:56 pm
    Post #27 - October 11th, 2008, 11:56 pm Post #27 - October 11th, 2008, 11:56 pm
    Since the question of dinner came up, I'll report on my dinner Friday night. With a lot of family in town for the weekend, a group of eight of us dined at PGC, with all sorts of levels of culinary sophistication, and ages from 21 to 86. A couple of years ago I took some of the same group to Hae Woon Dae ... too weird for them. When I suggested PGC, I was greeted with "it's not another Korean Barbeque, is it?"

    The Cliff's Notes version was that everyone was blown away - or nearly so - by the quality of the food, with the one exception of a brother-in-law, who thought the signature "Untraditional Shepard's Pie" wasn't traditional enough.

    Several had the filet of beef, either medium or medium rare, and all reported they were expertly done, and had a depth of beefiness they weren't used to - a good thing.

    I had the Ancho marinated Skirt Steak with caramelized onions and mushrooms. The steak, ordered rare, was done perfectly, and had a good chew to it. Flavors from the marinade highlighted the beef flavor, without overpowering.

    I also sampled a bit of parmesan-crusted tilapia. Normally I'm not a big fan of tilapia, and I'm a bit skeptical of fish and cheese combinations. This was no normal tilapia. Rich but light flavor, silky smooth texture, contrasting with the light but definite crunch from the parmesan .

    As has been stated before, it's not an especially adventurous or challenging menu, but everything seems to be executed great care and precision.

    I may have redeemed myself after our previous trip to Hae Woon Dae.
  • Post #28 - October 12th, 2008, 2:58 pm
    Post #28 - October 12th, 2008, 2:58 pm Post #28 - October 12th, 2008, 2:58 pm
    I've been to PGC twice. Once for lunch and another time for dinner. I wasn't blown away by lunch but I really enjoyed my dinner there. I think Ronnie has described the place the best by saying it's like going over to a Chef's house for a meal. There aren't a lot of fireworks, but everything is still being done at a very high level. I fully support Prairie Grass Cafe as a GNR.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #29 - October 14th, 2008, 1:06 pm
  • Post #30 - March 20th, 2010, 7:28 pm
    Post #30 - March 20th, 2010, 7:28 pm Post #30 - March 20th, 2010, 7:28 pm
    It should go without saying (though, I will say it anyway) that I strongly support renewal for PGC. Their outstanding food -- ingredients, conception and execution -- has only improved since they were originally named a GNR and that was no easy feat. Chefs Stegner and Bumbaris use of local foodstuffs and thoughtfully-sourced components (e.g. sustainable fish and seafood) from farther afield creates a truly distinctive menu. Their service remains stellar. The vibe is entirely comfortable. PGC is far and away the gold standard for casual, ingredient-driven dining in the northern suburbs and is a destination in its own right, too.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more