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  • Post #91 - March 20th, 2010, 11:32 pm
    Post #91 - March 20th, 2010, 11:32 pm Post #91 - March 20th, 2010, 11:32 pm
    I just love this annual brunch special at PGC, which follows St. Patrick's Day. I had this on Saturday morning . . .

    Image
    Crispy Corned Beef Hash Cake with Poached Eggs

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #92 - March 21st, 2010, 1:19 pm
    Post #92 - March 21st, 2010, 1:19 pm Post #92 - March 21st, 2010, 1:19 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I just love this annual brunch special at PGC, which follows St. Patrick's Day. I had this on Saturday morning . . .

    Image
    Crispy Corned Beef Hash Cake with Poached Eggs

    =R=


    Where is the "like" button?
    Life Is Too Short To Not Play With Your Food
    My Blog: http://funplayingwithfood.blogspot.com
  • Post #93 - May 9th, 2010, 9:55 am
    Post #93 - May 9th, 2010, 9:55 am Post #93 - May 9th, 2010, 9:55 am
    My lovely family took me out to Prairie Grass for an early Mother's Day dinner last night (hubby is working today) and we had an absolutely fantastic meal: We started with cream of mushroom soup, (I believe made with River Valley Ranch mushrooms,) and one of my favorites - the pate with apple slices. Hubby had the skirt (flank?) steak with Ancho Rub, (I make sure somebody gets this whenever I'm there, so I can have some :D ) - much like our own grass-fed cow, the flavor of the meat really shines in this cut. I had the crispy chicken - was a bit surprised to find it competely boned, but it turned out that I didn't miss them; it had been pressed and seared heavily so that the skin was, indeed, crispy, and the seasoning permeated the meat - both the white and dark meat were perfectly cooked. I also loved the creamy polenta (really, more like cheese grits) and asparagus that accompanied it were delicious.

    Sparky had the sausage pizza, which pleased him completely - but IMO, it was, well, unpleasant; overtopped, very ordinary crust, bland toppings - in short, an ideal pizza for kids who aren't used to fine dining. There are a few things on this menu that are there to please people who are not foodies, and this was one of them.

    The absolute topper of the meal was something you'd think would be one of those things - the banana cream pie special. We are not cream pie people; I hate the taste of cornstarch (often overused in cream pies) and, as you may know, I love baked-fruit or baked-custard pies. This might well be The Best Pie I've had since I can remember, and that is really saying something. The crust was easily a quarter-inch thick in places, (which in any other case would be a negative) but was perfect; I could have eaten it alone - flaky, delicious, perfectly cooked and golden all the way through. The filling was, as it should be, sliced bananas and whipped cream; the binder (if there was one) that held the bananas together did not interfere with the rich flavors and silky texture. This humble dessert was elevated enough to stand up and take its place in a fine dining restaurant. Our other desserts were the Alphonso mango ice cream, delicious as always, and a strawberry-filled crepe with Grand Mariner sauce - a less heavy-handed take on Crepes Suzette - executed well, but not really our thing.

    What a way to celebrate as a family (and Ronnie, it was fun to run into you and your lovely wife as we were leaving!)
  • Post #94 - May 9th, 2010, 11:02 am
    Post #94 - May 9th, 2010, 11:02 am Post #94 - May 9th, 2010, 11:02 am
    That banana cream pie is the bomb. Two of our four-top had it last Saturday at Prairie Fire, and the hugely finicky pie-baker in the group (not me!) swooned at Mrs. Stegner's crust. (So good was it that it made me want to attempt it when cherry season rolls around; the SunTimes obligingly printed a recipe for it last Wednesday - see 5/5 Food section for additional pie-related recipes from Sarah's mom). The fact that both places serve HUGE slabs of pie is nice, too.
  • Post #95 - May 9th, 2010, 11:36 am
    Post #95 - May 9th, 2010, 11:36 am Post #95 - May 9th, 2010, 11:36 am
    Thank you so much for the recipe, peg! I will try it - but, having made a pie or two in my day - it was very clear that there was real artistry behind that crust. She would be one of those people that Victorians used to say "have a knack for pastry."
  • Post #96 - May 9th, 2010, 12:10 pm
    Post #96 - May 9th, 2010, 12:10 pm Post #96 - May 9th, 2010, 12:10 pm
    My pleasure, Michele. Check out the whole article for Mrs. Stegner's very specific tips, too - she makes Michel Richard look like a lazy slacker. I actually saved the hard copy of the S-T food section, as we had just been to Prairie Fire the Saturday before the piece appeared. Timeliness is also next to godliness. :wink:

    The raspberry pie recipe in the article looks to be in the to-die-for category, too. Besides my own cherry pie recipe, that's another I need to try ASAP. It's good to have a go-to Raspberry Guy at the Evanston farmers market. :D (speaking of which, I noted that Mrs. Stegner resides in Evanston, and I met Sarah last fall at the EFM; wonder if we have the same Raspberry Guy?)
  • Post #97 - May 9th, 2010, 3:36 pm
    Post #97 - May 9th, 2010, 3:36 pm Post #97 - May 9th, 2010, 3:36 pm
    Mhays wrote:The absolute topper of the meal was something you'd think would be one of those things - the banana cream pie special. We are not cream pie people; I hate the taste of cornstarch (often overused in cream pies) and, as you may know, I love baked-fruit or baked-custard pies. This might well be The Best Pie I've had since I can remember, and that is really saying something. The crust was easily a quarter-inch thick in places, (which in any other case would be a negative) but was perfect; I could have eaten it alone - flaky, delicious, perfectly cooked and golden all the way through. The filling was, as it should be, sliced bananas and whipped cream; the binder (if there was one) that held the bananas together did not interfere with the rich flavors and silky texture. This humble dessert was elevated enough to stand up and take its place in a fine dining restaurant.

    I agree that the banana cream pie at Prairie Grass is really outstanding . . . maybe the best version of the pie I've ever had. And now you're making me really crave a piece.
  • Post #98 - May 9th, 2010, 6:28 pm
    Post #98 - May 9th, 2010, 6:28 pm Post #98 - May 9th, 2010, 6:28 pm
    we had their brunch buffet this morning, and they had a raspberry cream pie on it, which was outstanding. the crust was similar to what MHays described--on the thick side, which makes me somewhat wary. But it was so incredibly light and flakey, it was amazing. the cream was very sour cream/cream cheese tasting, which was really nice with the berries. definitely a highlight in what was an excellent tasting selection of dishes.

    their brunch buffet is one of the best I've been to.
    http://edzos.com/
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  • Post #99 - May 9th, 2010, 7:14 pm
    Post #99 - May 9th, 2010, 7:14 pm Post #99 - May 9th, 2010, 7:14 pm
    elakin wrote:we had their brunch buffet this morning, and they had a raspberry cream pie on it, which was outstanding. the crust was similar to what MHays described--on the thick side, which makes me somewhat wary. But it was so incredibly light and flakey, it was amazing. the cream was very sour cream/cream cheese tasting, which was really nice with the berries. definitely a highlight in what was an excellent tasting selection of dishes.

    their brunch buffet is one of the best I've been to.

    We were also there for brunch today (sorry we missed you) and thought it was outstanding. What I like about their occasional holiday buffet is that is filled with thoughtful and well-prepared selections that make it possible to eat well and heartily without feeling like crap afterwards. It pretty much follows their everyday philosophy and doesn't pander at all.

    Brunch started out with a version -- served at the table to each diner -- of their signature benedict, which features a perfectly poached egg, atop a toasted muffin half with sauteed spinach and their delectable roasted tomato hollandaise. After that, buffet . . . the asparagus platter (light vinaigrette and shaved parmesan) was sensational, as was the cold salad of blanched cauliflower, broccoli and bell peppers. House-made farmers cheese and baguette (from Bennison's) was a real treat. The lamb sausage in ratatouille was another winner. Parmesan encrusted tilapia served over creamed spinach was as good on the buffet as it is when ordered a la carte. Crispy chicken cutlet with broccoli, tomatoes and capers was also delicious and really crispy on the outside and juicy within. The carving station, featuring a Tallgrass beef NY striploin, was really tasty and tender, and the mushroom jus served with it was great too. I did indulge in a few pieces of bacon and it was great, as well. Somehow, every strip of bacon in that hotel pan was perfectly cooked and crispy. Omelet station was humming along nicely, too. I had one with onion, mushroom, spinach and feta. The waffle and crepe stations were a big hit with the other folks in my party but I was just too full to indulge.

    I didn't have any pie today but I did have a piece of the banana cream yesterday and I ate the entire piece, which I almost never do. I kept on saying 'just a few bites' to myself but I could not stop. The crust is sensational and the not-too-sweet filling is basically sliced bananas in banana custard. The shells are blind-baked and filled a la minute, which is why the crust is so amazingly flaky and wonderful.

    I ended up having 2 family events at PGC this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed them both. In between those events, we hung out at the bar and drank with several friends who just happened to come by -- a few of which were other LTHers. It was a lot of fun in a completely welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Great food, wonderful bar and arguably the best FOH in all of Chicagoland. I'm eternally grateful that PGC is so damned close to my house.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #100 - July 9th, 2010, 9:54 am
    Post #100 - July 9th, 2010, 9:54 am Post #100 - July 9th, 2010, 9:54 am
    I had a chance to visit Prairie Grass Café for a business lunch this week and the experience was mixed

    The Good:

    An appetizer of tempura shrimp was piping hot with a nice dipping sauce, although a purist would note that the batter was more like a beer batter you typically see in a fish and chips dish, not a light tempura batter as advertised.

    Skirt steak, as part of a salad, was probably the most tender skirt steak I have had.

    Service was excellent.

    The Not So Good:

    The salad listed as “Skirt Steak Salad with Avocado, Roasted Peppers, Red Onion, Tomatoes, Tortilla Strips; Avocado-Lime Dressing”, was a large bowl of an iceberg type lettuce (probably not iceberg, but a similar crisp green/white lettuce). There were 5-6 strips of skirt steak, a tortilla strip garnish and a decent amount of avocado. The peppers, tomatoes and onion consisted of a couple of dime sized pieces of each scattered through the lettuce. I think I found only one piece of pepper. Virtually no dressing. A number of our group ordered the salad and some give up eating it due to the lack of variety in the greens.

    Given the reputation of the restaurant, I had expected some creativity in the dish but other than the quality of the steak, the rest of the salad was similar, if not worse than something from Corner Bakery.

    The room was full and the noise level was extremely high. We were at a corner booth that sat 6 and you could only hear the person directly next to you.
  • Post #101 - December 15th, 2010, 9:07 pm
    Post #101 - December 15th, 2010, 9:07 pm Post #101 - December 15th, 2010, 9:07 pm
    My friend Sarah Stegner had been offering her services this season as a 'truffle broker' and I decided to take her up on her offer. However, instead of taking the truffles into my own incapable hands, chef Stegner -- along with chef Bumbaris -- agreed to make a 3-course dinner for us, using our purchased truffles in each of the courses. Whatever wasn't used was ours to take home . . .

    Image
    White and Black Truffles
    These were not all for us, LOL! We purchased 5 ounces of white Alba truffles for just over $100/ounce, which I thought was a very good price.


    Image
    Coddled Egg in Crispy Panko with Truffled Hollandaise, Truffled-Stuffed Potato 'Chips' and Salad
    Amazing stuff. The salad was comprised of lettuce from Ravinia School and micro greens from 3 Sisters Garden. The potato 'chips' were actually 2 thin slices of potato that had black truffled pressed between before they were fried crispy.


    Image
    Risotto
    A delectable, fragrant and intoxicating umami bomb. Sensationally deep and wonderful flavors.


    Image
    Lobster, Baby Onions and Parsnips in Lobster Sauce with Black and White Truffles
    Decadence atop excess. The lobster was rich and tender, and the aromatic truffle 'medley' paired up very nicely with it and the sweet, mild onions.

    I'm not sure how much longer they'll be offering this but if you really love truffles, I suggest giving a call over to PGC to see if can arrange your own deal. Even after our 3 courses (9 plates in all), we still had a golf ball-sized truffle to bring home with us. I plan on storing it in some carnaroli and making risotto with it in a few days. :)

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #102 - December 15th, 2010, 10:12 pm
    Post #102 - December 15th, 2010, 10:12 pm Post #102 - December 15th, 2010, 10:12 pm
    Use it quickly. The whites won't last through the wkend.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #103 - December 15th, 2010, 10:26 pm
    Post #103 - December 15th, 2010, 10:26 pm Post #103 - December 15th, 2010, 10:26 pm
    Jazzfood wrote:Use it quickly. The whites won't last through the wkend.

    Thanks. That's also the advice that Sarah and George gave me.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #104 - January 11th, 2013, 10:24 am
    Post #104 - January 11th, 2013, 10:24 am Post #104 - January 11th, 2013, 10:24 am
    I've been meaning to post about this for a while. One of my favorite versions of a tuna melt can be found on the lunch menu at Prairie Grass. It's become my standard order when going to PGC for lunch.

    Prairie Grass Lunch Menu
    Image

    The tuna salad itself is excellent. It skews slightly sweet, but I like that in my tuna salad. The fact that it's served with a small wedge salad with house made thousand island puts it over the top for me. This is a tuna melt the way I feel it should be made (none of that Wisconsin style closed sandwich type for me).

    Priarie Grass Cafe Tuna Melt
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #105 - January 11th, 2013, 1:46 pm
    Post #105 - January 11th, 2013, 1:46 pm Post #105 - January 11th, 2013, 1:46 pm
    This hangover cure isn't on PGC's weekend brunch menu per se but they'll happily make it to order for a small upcharge over their standard, 2-unit benedict . . .

    Image
    Benedict "Triple" | PGC Signature Benedict (sauteed spinach, crumbled bacon, roasted tomato hollandaise), flanked by 2 Traditional Eggs Benedict and breakfast potatoes

    I didn't quite finish it but it was close. :wink: This is only available during brunch service on Saturday and Sunday, not during the week.

    =R=

    disclosure: I have a miniscule financial interest in PGC
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #106 - November 7th, 2013, 1:48 pm
    Post #106 - November 7th, 2013, 1:48 pm Post #106 - November 7th, 2013, 1:48 pm
    Cabbagehead and I had an appointment in Northbrook last evening and wanted to have dinner afterwards close by. We chose Prairie Grass Café, where we have eaten a number of times over the years, and we were very glad we did. We had a comfortable and comforting meal on a windy and cool November night.

    Two specials from the starters menu, River Valley Ranch mushroom soup for me and grilled pumpkin with honey for him, were excellent. I’m not much of a pumpkin fan (except for the kadu at Kabul House), but my husband really liked the texture and taste—not mushy but rather tender-crisp and not too sweet. The mushroom soup was chicken stock, cream, and really good mushrooms. What’s not to love? Our shepherd’s pie and moussaka were lovely versions of these homey dishes. Each ingredient stood out but mixed well with the others. I especially appreciated the nice pieces of lamb that tasted like real lamb in the moussaka. We split a strawberry crepe, which was tasty even if the berries this time of year are kind of blah.

    All in all, it was a delicious dinner with very good service—just what we needed to pick us up midweek.
  • Post #107 - March 6th, 2014, 12:38 pm
    Post #107 - March 6th, 2014, 12:38 pm Post #107 - March 6th, 2014, 12:38 pm
    I have to give props where it's due. Dropped by for a late dinner with a friend at PGC last night. It is so impressive to me how they still turn out consistently top quality food day in and day out. We started with the wings and the veg spring rolls that were as clean tasting and flavorful as ever. We then shared the fried artichokes which were very well seasoned and crispy, but still maintained their artichoke flavor and texture as the heart was intact and not overcooked. My main course was the crispy boneless chicken. Now anyone who knows me knows I like two things on my chicken - skin and bones, and I also am generally a dark meat guy, and this was all white meat. It was fantastic - juicy and the perfect amount of saltiness for white meat. The accompaniments of white "refried" beans and grilled pablanos were a nice balance with the chicken. Definitely a re-order soon.

    Sigh, and we did share a little dessert, though I only had a few bites. Choc layer cake was so moist and full of chocolate flavor. Took most of that home for my daughter. And the toffee date cake. Um, let's just say it didn't survive my few bites and my friend's many more. Maybe one of my top 10 desserts ever.

    Service was outstanding as usual. Attentive, friendly, and helpful while far from overbearing.

    Keep doing what you're doing.
  • Post #108 - April 20th, 2014, 4:54 pm
    Post #108 - April 20th, 2014, 4:54 pm Post #108 - April 20th, 2014, 4:54 pm
    Based on my dinner at Prairie Grass last night (my first visit in a few years), I can't share the enthusiasm of some here. The two things I had--a Caesar Salad and the Crispy Roast Duckling (I think it was called)-- were ordinary. The salad's greens lacked flavor, and not a whole lot of flavor came from any other part of the salad. It was all right, but that's about it; I've certainly had worse. As for the duck, it was a tad dry and stringy. Perfectly edible, but not particularly enjoyable. Maybe these are the wrong things to order? Or it was an off night? Or Saturday night is the wrong time to go? The place was very busy, so it clearly has its fans. Service kept up with the demand, but was perfunctory. In the immortal words that people here sometimes use: I don't get it.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #109 - October 30th, 2016, 2:10 pm
    Post #109 - October 30th, 2016, 2:10 pm Post #109 - October 30th, 2016, 2:10 pm
    Seeing that there have been no posts in over 2 years, thought I would chime in on our maiden trip to Prairie Grass Cafe, for brunch today. Nice, airy room, and for a family party of six that was anxious to catch up on our respective lives, the circular table was the perfect placement.

    Everybody was very pleased with their breakfastish selections, including various iterations of the Benedict that have been duly documented upthread, but I was more impressed with the non-brunch items, first the white beans & Swiss chard side dish that we appetized on, then my sauteed (more pan-fried) Lake Superior whitefish, which was piccata-esque with capers and diced tomatoes in a light lemon sauce, over steamed but crunchy broccoli and sliced portabello mushrooms. Really nice presentation, flaky and flavorful. A good choice by me, except I had to give too many bites away!

    Whitefish1.jpg Lake Superior Whitefish
  • Post #110 - October 30th, 2016, 7:56 pm
    Post #110 - October 30th, 2016, 7:56 pm Post #110 - October 30th, 2016, 7:56 pm
    jnm123 wrote:Seeing that there have been no posts in over 2 years, thought I would chime in on our maiden trip to Prairie Grass Cafe, for brunch today. Nice, airy room, and for a family party of six that was anxious to catch up on our respective lives, the circular table was the perfect placement.

    Everybody was very pleased with their breakfastish selections, including various iterations of the Benedict that have been duly documented upthread, but I was more impressed with the non-brunch items, first the white beans & Swiss chard side dish that we appetized on, then my sauteed (more pan-fried) Lake Superior whitefish, which was piccata-esque with capers and diced tomatoes in a light lemon sauce, over steamed but crunchy broccoli and sliced portabello mushrooms. Really nice presentation, flaky and flavorful. A good choice by me, except I had to give too many bites away!

    Whitefish1.jpg


    I love them. But I live far away and I am rarely meeting anyone on that side of the world alas.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #111 - March 18th, 2020, 9:52 am
    Post #111 - March 18th, 2020, 9:52 am Post #111 - March 18th, 2020, 9:52 am
    Most people who live nearby are probably already aware of this but just in case, PGC is now offering take-out items with curbside pick-up . . .

    Wednesday, March 18th
    Sirloin Burger for Curbside Pick Up

    Served with Amish blue cheese topping, warm grilled tomato, grilled onions, and crispy potato wedges for $18 or $9 with the purchase of a salad, appetizer or dessert
    ______

    Thursday, March 19th
    Pre-Order Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Thyme for Curbside Pickup ($22)

    Available with a range of sides:
    Mashed Potatoes, pint $5 / quart $10
    PGC House Apple Slaw, pint $5 / quart $10
    Sauteed Broccoli, pint $6 / quart $12
    Wild Rice with Toasted Pecans, pint $6 / quart $12
    ______

    Friday, March 20th & Saturday, March 21st
    Pre-Order Untraditional Shepherds Pie for Curbside Pickup

    Slow Braised All-Natural Beef, Swiss Chard, Carrots, Onions, Celery & Potato Puree Topping ($24)
    ______

    I think it's really important to support our favorite local places right now and since PGC is one of mine, they'll definitely be in my regular carry-out rotation.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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