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Abigail's Bistro - Highland Park

Abigail's Bistro - Highland Park
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  • Post #91 - June 2nd, 2014, 11:50 am
    Post #91 - June 2nd, 2014, 11:50 am Post #91 - June 2nd, 2014, 11:50 am
    I equate bistro with "loud" as well. I remember reading in a guide book for Paris that the word stems from a time when the Cossacks who inhabited Paris were prone to slamming their fists on the bar and yelling bystro (быстро) meaning "quickly."

    I am neither an historian nor a scholar, but I remember reading that.

    Davooda
    Life is a garden, Dude - DIG IT!
    -- anonymous Colorado snowboarder whizzing past me March 2010
  • Post #92 - June 2nd, 2014, 4:48 pm
    Post #92 - June 2nd, 2014, 4:48 pm Post #92 - June 2nd, 2014, 4:48 pm
    Yes, but what would you equate vistro with? :)
  • Post #93 - October 19th, 2014, 8:43 am
    Post #93 - October 19th, 2014, 8:43 am Post #93 - October 19th, 2014, 8:43 am
    Birthday dinner last night at Abigail’s. In a word, wow! I guess I’m late to the party but I wish I had eaten here long ago because I can only see that we’ve missed the chance to return many times since. But having had a really excellent meal last night, it’s plainly in the cards for future visits. We got there at 5:30 when there were still a number of empty tables. By the time we left about 7:30, there was a long line, the place was jammed and loud. Couldn’t hear the conversation on the other side of the table. But if you’re interested in inventive food, beautifully presented, well-executed, and delicious, mark this place down.

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    Cheddar chive biscuit
    This was the amuse, sent from the kitchen in a small iron skillet. Dense, hot, and delicious.

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    Cheese plate app (from bottom: aged cheddar, Maytag blue, camembert, tomme*)
    A stunner. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a beautiful plate with such a well-chosen, almost perfectly presented selection. The accompaniments were ideal, sufficient in number to allow everyone at the table to sample, and the cheeses just about perfect. The camembert, in particular, was a real standout. Wow! (*I KNOW there was a fifth cheese: I cannot find it in the picture nor can either of us recall what it was….)

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    Flatiron steak
    Not mine but judging from the (exceedingly few) traces remaining, it must have been a standout.

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    Roasted beets, goat cheese fritters, mache
    Again, not mine, but the diner in question professed herself extremely happy. A lovely presentation.

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    Crispy [brussels] sprout leaves with shrimp, cucumber, Fresno chilis, raisins, and peanuts
    The Lovely Dining Companion found a single fault--they were bay shrimp, not the larger variety--but that's it. (I'm not sure I agree with her, but it was her dish so....) Yuzu dressing, by the way, was a distinct plus. It was a generous portion and, again, a beautiful presentation of a combination of things I would never have thought would work. Silly me.

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    Salmon, caramelized leeks, pear sauce
    I so regret the fuzzy pic of my dinner. I am not a fan of salmon but the description of this dish just begged for me to order it: “salmon/black rice/red cabbage puree/caramelized leeks/fruit mostarda/pear sauce.” The presentation, again, speaks for itself. As to the dish, each element was damn near ideal and, taken together, made for an ethereal experience: rich, not-too-filling, a variety of tastes and textures. I should also particularly single out the caramelized leeks; I wasn't expecting anything special but they were fabulous. Hands down, a winner.

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    Squash soup
    A real stunner—wonderful depth of flavor, rich without being heavy, extremely flavorful…a pleasure to behold and to taste.

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    Sticky toffee pudding cake, sour cream ice cream
    Everything it should be: rich and dense and sweet and heavy and just damned good.

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    Chocolate bread pudding, coffee chocolate chip ice cream
    Never got a taste but it sure disappeared awfully fast.

    Can’t wait to return, though likely early and on a weeknight.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #94 - March 5th, 2015, 3:25 pm
    Post #94 - March 5th, 2015, 3:25 pm Post #94 - March 5th, 2015, 3:25 pm
    I really don't like this place, but only because their food is so good, and yet their reservation policy effectively makes it impossible to go there. We got a 5:30 reservation on a Thursday and this is some of the best food in the area. They are 10 minutes from my house, and I liked their food even better than Guildhall, the only other good local joint.

    The problem, as I said, is their reservation policy. The only take reservations up to 6:00, but every time I call, all they have available is 5:00. We've also gone there on a Friday night and were told the wait was 1.5 hours. So, even though they may have the best food in the area, it will be a long time before I'm back.

    Please note the complaining part of this review is tongue in cheek. I admire what they are doing, and the no reservation policy seems to work because they are packed. It's just frustrating for me!
  • Post #95 - March 6th, 2015, 5:25 pm
    Post #95 - March 6th, 2015, 5:25 pm Post #95 - March 6th, 2015, 5:25 pm
    Jonah wrote:The problem, as I said, is their reservation policy. The only take reservations up to 6:00, but every time I call, all they have available is 5:00. We've also gone there on a Friday night and were told the wait was 1.5 hours.

    How far in advance are you calling? I've called 3-4 weeks ahead and had no problems getting a 5:30 or 6:00 reservation. And that was during the nice weather, when Ravinia was in session.
  • Post #96 - March 6th, 2015, 9:04 pm
    Post #96 - March 6th, 2015, 9:04 pm Post #96 - March 6th, 2015, 9:04 pm
    Good to know. I've only called early in the week. I've never tried more than a week ahead.
  • Post #97 - January 20th, 2017, 1:04 pm
    Post #97 - January 20th, 2017, 1:04 pm Post #97 - January 20th, 2017, 1:04 pm
    This is just a general note; if you want to avoid the wait at Abigail's just show up for what you perceive to be the last seating. ie @ 9:15. I realize, this being the U.S. and, even more so, this being the North Shore, most good citizens are ready for bed, but you can usually expect to be seated right away.

    I fully get why Abigail's has its reservation policy, there is a need to maximize limited seating. Just have a drink outside on a pleasant night and the time flies.
  • Post #98 - October 6th, 2020, 8:55 pm
    Post #98 - October 6th, 2020, 8:55 pm Post #98 - October 6th, 2020, 8:55 pm
    Amazing dinner at Abigail's in Highland Park tonight. Taking advantage of the nice weather, my wife and I, celebrating the anniversary of our first date back when John Waite's "Missing You" was the No. 1 song and some Nick Nolte film called "Teachers" was ruling the box office, decided to splurge on a weeknight. Everything was perfect! Being lame, we ended up both ordering the same cocktail and cherry-focused old fashioned, which was spot on and not too sweet as I feared. The cheddar-chive biscuits were delicious as always. The star of the show was the cheeseburger. How this isn't on more top burger lists is a mystery. Cooked to a perfect medium rare with the right amount of salt and savory sweet red onion jam, it hit the spot and the accompanying fries were amazing, as well, crispy, hot, wonderful. The waiter brought out some comp bubbly and we ended up with a peanut butter mouse with dark chocolate shell and banana ice cream that the waiter described perfectly as a gourmet Reese's. Seriously, a great meal, excellent service, nice spaced-out outdoor tables, beautiful night. Just really excellent. We walk by often and it is always bustling and deservedly so.
  • Post #99 - October 7th, 2020, 5:00 am
    Post #99 - October 7th, 2020, 5:00 am Post #99 - October 7th, 2020, 5:00 am
    I walk past every night and not only are they always crowded with people outside and in, but there are always cars waiting for pickup where masked people bring the food out to the car.

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