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Abigail's Bistro - Highland Park

Abigail's Bistro - Highland Park
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  • Post #31 - April 18th, 2009, 9:16 am
    Post #31 - April 18th, 2009, 9:16 am Post #31 - April 18th, 2009, 9:16 am
    Update: Fantastic dinner at Abigail's last night

    Abigail's was in full swing Friday evening. We arrived at 6:30 with six two-tops and one-four top remaining. We were a party of four and were seated at the table with a huge pillar that blocks views of the gorgeous dining room. The six two-tops were in pairs of two so we asked to be moved to another area, but the hostess smiled and said No without an explanation. Knowing they don't take reservations, it seemed odd. Nonetheless, the restaurant filled quickly as did the bar.

    The service was very good but the highlight, as it should be, was the food. So for those who care, here's the rundown.

    The sauteed feta cheese with raisins, capers and pine nuts was delicious and at the perfect consistency. Some of us wished for some crostini to pair with it. We also had the rock shrimp done buffalo style and declared it a winner, although slightly off the beaten track from the flavor profiles that run through the restaurant's fantastic menu. But who cares, I suppose, when something is that good. The favorite starter was the fava bean crostini - perfectly seasoned, full of that special fava taste and not the least bit overpowered by the garlic toast that supported it. The weakest starter was the asparagus-watercress soup with a cod fritter and a crispy slice of prosciutto. The flavors were a little too subtle for our palettes and the cod fritter didn't seem to add much to the dish.

    For main courses, we had the striped bass, the lamb leg, the pappardelle with sausage and the roasted lemon rosemary chicken. Our waiter said the chicken was the moistest he'd ever eaten and my husband agreed wholeheartedly. The lamb was accompanied by a fantastic roasted radicchio. Our companions raved about their fish and the pasta dishes.

    We also ordered the brussel sprouts and frites with truffle aioli as sides. We like the sprouts a lot, but didn't find they were any better than we make at our homes. However, for those not yet introduced to the sweet transformation that brussel sprouts undergo when roasted, you've got to try them. The frites tasted as they should, although a tad limp.

    We finished with a creme brulee accompanied by an outstanding raspberry sorbet. I don't normally order creme brulee in restaurants because it doesn't seem that special of a dessert. This one was. We also buckled under pressure from our companions and tried the cookie plate. Oh my, the pecan sandies have inspired me to try re-creating them in my kitchen this weekend. If you order the cookies, try to persuade the waiter to make them all sandies.

    Our tab, including two bottles of Quintera zinfandel (phenomenal), came to just $200 before tip. An outstanding value.
  • Post #32 - April 18th, 2009, 9:53 am
    Post #32 - April 18th, 2009, 9:53 am Post #32 - April 18th, 2009, 9:53 am
    Katie wrote:Sigh ... wasted joke.

    No, not really. :D
  • Post #33 - April 18th, 2009, 5:45 pm
    Post #33 - April 18th, 2009, 5:45 pm Post #33 - April 18th, 2009, 5:45 pm
    Northshorefoodie:

    Thanks for the excellent write up. We are excited to give Abigails a try as it is so close to our home.
  • Post #34 - April 19th, 2009, 8:50 am
    Post #34 - April 19th, 2009, 8:50 am Post #34 - April 19th, 2009, 8:50 am
    My wife and her girlfriend tried Abigail's Thursday eve. She had a chicken entree and salad. Based on her enthusiasm, I am excited to try it myself. She felt it had an urban feel and much better than average food. The service was also very good. It is a welcome addition to our neighborhood.
  • Post #35 - April 19th, 2009, 5:09 pm
    Post #35 - April 19th, 2009, 5:09 pm Post #35 - April 19th, 2009, 5:09 pm
    My husband and I ate at Abigail's on Friday evening. Although the place was full when we arrived shortly before 7:00, the hostess told us the wait was likely to be only 20 minutes or so. We had a glass of wine (there was a good selection of wines by the glass, most in the $6-10 range) and were seated about a half hour later.

    We really enjoyed the meal. We both ordered the same thing - salads and the wild striped bass entree. The fish was properly cooked with a nice crust and the citrus sauce was light and tasty. Instead of bread, they served some warm cheddar-topped biscuits, which I loved, but my husband didn't care for. For dessert we shared the pear/white wine upside-down cake with butter pecan ice cream - delicious. Our server was very pleasant and efficient.

    If our meal is any indication, Abigail's should do well. The food is good and the prices reasonable - most entrees are in the $15-20 range. A great addition to the rather limited north shore restaurant scene!
  • Post #36 - April 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Post #36 - April 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm Post #36 - April 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Went to Abigail's last night and we were quite pleased, especially considering the restaurant is newly opened. Cocktails were outstanding. Martinis that were exactly as ordered plus an after-dinner "nuts and berries" that was honestly the best I've ever had. The wine list was nice with plenty of choices, though I would like to see even more variety going forward. The food was very good. We had a bunch of different appetizers and middle-sized plates. Our favorites were the buffalo-style shrimp (much more interesting than it sounds), asparagus-watercress soup, and the scallop risotto. None of the dishes would qualify as "misses". My only complaint was the kitchen was a bit heavy handed with the salt - nothing that can't be fixed. Dessert was an outstanding walnut-chocolate strudel-type thing. Amazing. Service was very good - attentive, especially with our kids there. I would love to see a couple of more kids-choice on the menu, however I like the fact that although it is family-friendly it it still a very good night out for adults.

    Happy to have you in the area.
  • Post #37 - April 20th, 2009, 3:04 pm
    Post #37 - April 20th, 2009, 3:04 pm Post #37 - April 20th, 2009, 3:04 pm
    Thanks, for the early write-ups, folks. I'm looking forward to trying out Abigail's in the very near future.

    =R=

    Abigail's Bistro
    493 Roger Williams
    Highland Park, IL 60035
    847 849-1009
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    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 #38 - April 25th, 2009, 6:21 pm
    Post #38 - April 25th, 2009, 6:21 pm Post #38 - April 25th, 2009, 6:21 pm
    Long time coming due to permit issues. I live 2 blocks away and can't wait to get there.
  • Post #39 - May 1st, 2009, 12:03 am
    Post #39 - May 1st, 2009, 12:03 am Post #39 - May 1st, 2009, 12:03 am
    I had dinner with my family at Abigail's earlier this week and enjoyed the experience . . .

    Image
    Abigail's American Bistro is located at 493 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park

    The stylish, comfortable interior is accented with stone, dark wood and contemporary light fixtures that create soft amber zones. I started at the bar while I waited for my family to arrive (what I sometimes refer to as 'the best 30 minutes of my day' :wink:) and had a bourbon on the rocks -- fairly expensive at $10.25 but it was a decidedly generous pour. About 30 minutes later, I decided to have a second beverage and opted for an Old Fashioned. It was okay but I probably should have ordered one of the custom libations from the cocktail menu, which is interesting and fairly extensive. I've been spoiled by the Old Fashioneds at Bar DeVille and no others really do it for me anymore. Next time, I'll try a custom drink. The Lawn Sipper (clementine-infused Knob Creek bourbon, lemon and orange bitters) sounds promising. The wine list was also interesting. It contained some uncommon offerings and many selections by the glass and carafe.

    My family arrived and we sat in a banquette near the window that faces Roger Williams Ave.

    Before we ordered, a few nice bites were brought to the table . . .

    Image
    Cheese Biscuits
    Made with buttermilk and Wisconsin cheddar, these biscuits were outstanding. The buttermilk provided a distinctive, tangy flavor and the cheese was a nice element.


    Image
    Cheese Biscuit interior
    Very tender and flaky.


    Image
    Amuse of Salmon Tartare in a Squid Ink Cone
    Thomas Keller-inspired amuse that was an effective palate opener. The salmon was very fresh, and the inky cone was a good complement.


    The menu at Abigail's is divided into 3 sections -- "little things," "neither small nor large" and "bigger than the rest" -- and we sampled a few items from each of the sections (followed by dessert, which is a separate menu).

    Round 1 . . .
    Image
    Meat & Cheese
    None of this was made in-house but it was all of good quality. Meats included prosciutto, genoa salami and fennel salami. The cheese portion -- brie, manchego, blue of some sort and what appeared to be munster -- was absolutely massive. I love charcuterie but generally only order it when it's made in-house. As nice as this plate was, it didn't change my mind about that.


    Image
    Rock Shrimp Buffalo Style with Blue Cheese Dressing and Celery
    Crispy and light, I appreciated this play on the traditional wing appetizer.


    Image
    Chicken Liver Pate with Pickled Vegetable and Toasted Brioche
    Here, the pate is served with about 1/4" of rendered chicken fat atop it. It's intended to be mixed into the pate as desired by the diner but the fat was very cold when it was served and mixing it in was not possible. So, I removed it en masse and ate the delicious pate without it. Being hypertensive, I appreciated the very lightly-pickled veggies but the pickling was so light, the veggies weren't really pickled at all. When you're used to Vie's pickles, you get spoiled by them.


    Image
    A Schmear
    The liver and the brioche was a nice combination.


    Round 2 . . .
    Image
    Duck Confit with Honey-Onion Marmalade, Salad Frisee, Frites, Apple-Smoked Bacon and Poached Egg
    Loved the combination of elements and flavors here. The confit and the bacon were both excellent and the sweet-tangy marmalade foiled them well. Only issue here is that the frites were limp. Not sure if that was because they were atop the marmalade or if there was another reason.


    Image
    Braised Pork Shoulder with Chive Gnocchi
    A great dish with Parisienne-style gnocchi. I really enjoyed everything about it.


    Image
    Wild Mushroom Risotto with Pan-Seared Diver Scallops and Mushroom Cappuccino
    Another stellar dish. I thought the earthy risotto (including the excellent cappuccino) and the nicely-seared, tender-sweet scallops were both great on their own. Together, they were even better. This may have been my favorite dish of the meal and neither large nor small was definitely my favorite section of the menu.


    Round 3 . . .
    Image
    Asparagus-Watercress Soup with Crispy Cod Fritter and Prosciutto
    This was actually part of the little things section of the menu but we ordered it with our entrees. I loved the way the richness of the asparagus and the slight astringency of the watercress worked together. The fritter (guessing baccala) was tasty, as was the crispy prosciutto on top of it.


    Image
    Burger with Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar, Red Onion Marmalade and Frites
    Nice flavors. The components -- including the boldly-flavored marmalade -- were great together. Frites here weren't much crispier than they were on the confit dish.


    Image
    Burger interior
    Unfortunately, we ordered the burger medium-rare and it came out medium-well. It was still tasty and held some moisture but I decided not to waste any further room on it after the initial taste.


    Image
    Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Honey-caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Fingerling Potatoes
    Excellent, moist bird with crispy skin and good flavor. I loved the sprouts, too and their honey-glazing was restrained.


    The Final Round . . .
    Image
    Chocolate Walnut Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream
    This one, I didn't really care for. Even with the nuts, the filling was just a bit too mushy for me, and there was just too much of it in proportion to the fillo dough. I found myself wishing for more layers of dough througout instead of the one big compartment of filling.


    Image
    Housemade Cookies
    Fantastic cookies. The lemon cream sandwich cookie on the right balanced nicely between tart and sweet. The pecan knot in the center was delectable (pretty sure those nuts were roasted before they went into the cookies) and the tea cookie on the left was buttery-licious.

    So, all in all it was a mixed but positive experience at Abigail's. I think it's a nice addition to the area and I'll definitely be back. The space is comfortable and the food is more inventive than I expected it would be. Ingredients were of good quality and preparations were skilled and thoughtful. Pricing was in-line with other North Shore spots. Our meal above, with a total of 3 cocktails, came to $140 w/tax (before tip). I look forward to trying some of their other offerings and also ordering that excellent Risotto and Scallop dish again. :)

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    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 #40 - May 3rd, 2009, 8:34 pm
    Post #40 - May 3rd, 2009, 8:34 pm Post #40 - May 3rd, 2009, 8:34 pm
    Determined to hit AB before the inevitable compromise to HP "tastes," I snuck in with a 'rent tonight. Hint: this is the busiest--at least for the next month--restaurant in town at 6PM, the emptiest (presumably) at 8.

    Things that I also know:
    1) I can say with near-certainty that there will definitely not be as much pork on the menu in a month as there is now. I'd be shocked if the charcouterie and smoked trout dishes were still there, too; I'm not surprised to hear the buffalo-style shrimp are the most popular menu item, put it that way.
    2) I like the menu's concision and portion variation, but I can't see that lasting long. Everyone around us was ordering a salad or soup and an entree.
    3) Highland Parkers are, without being overly tautological, very Highland Park-ish (Fill in the blank, if you will). Hope the chef has a lot of chicken recipes...

    I could go all night about the context, but the food is promising and will benefit greatly when the chef has local produce to draw upon. Case in point: I had a nice grilled asparagus starter with the now-typical accompaniments--poached egg, prosciutto--and an additional fennel puree that was a nice touch. Familiar, but refreshing. The asparagus-watercress soup, as Ronnie noted above, has a nice interplay between the creamy vegetable and the salty-briny crunch of the cod fritter. Very good.

    The aforementioned risotto and its accompanying mushroom foam were quite nice, but the scallops were of noticeably lower quality than the ones depicted in Ronnie's photos and were of an unfortunately vulcanized texture. The pork shoulder dish--we were the first table of our server's to ever order it--was fine, though nowhere in the realm of the shoulder I had at the Publican two weeks back; however, the chive gnocchi, while a bit greasy, were addictive. A side of roasted brussel sprouts and ham were on the level, though the quality of the sprouts was grocery store-level--I echo the sentiment above that you can do as well at home and would encourage the chef to find a farmer growing a better product and just charge more for the dish.

    I want to remain cautiously optimistic that the upcoming Ravinia season and folk like Ronnie and iblock will help sustain business so that the restaurant has the time it needs to find its groove, because I think it can be, if not a special place, the sort of ingredient-driven neighborhood restaurant that any town, but particularly Highland Park, deserves; I'd encourage the chef to continue to focus on producing the best food he can first, and then make concessions to the demographic, rather than the other way around. Perhaps, then, with AB's opening and the early June arrival of ex-Bank Lane wunderkind De Rossier's place in Lake Bluff, some culinary momentum will carry forth on the North Shore. Hold on hope.
    Last edited by chezbrad on May 4th, 2009, 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #41 - May 3rd, 2009, 9:23 pm
    Post #41 - May 3rd, 2009, 9:23 pm Post #41 - May 3rd, 2009, 9:23 pm
    chezbrad,

    What you are predicting may happen to the menu at Abigail's is completely logical given the way things often evolve in Highland Park but like you, I hope you're wrong about it. I often kid that all folks up north really want is a piece of broiled fish and some steamed vegetables. Or, in the case of Abigail's, "does that pork shoulder come in chicken breast?" It's funny because people I know who don't give a rat's ass about food have proudly reported to me that they have already been to Abigail's. As you point out -- and as this demonstrates -- right now it's clearly the "hot spot" in town. But who knows, maybe they can stick to their guns, distinguish themselves, develop a following and not be completely assimilated. I certainly hope that's case because viable choices in the Northern Suburbs are too scarce.

    Relatedly, I wonder what's going to be the plan at Abigail's once Ravinia season starts, because it seems that parking will be tough. Usually by about 6:30-7:00 pm, the train lot across the street, which serves as a 'park and ride' bus depot, is completely full, as are the spots on the street where parking is permitted during concerts. Will they offer valet? Will some spots be set aside for their customers? I'm guessing they have plan, which they will definitely need. I asked our server and she didn't know but I forgot to ask the manager about it.

    In any case, I wish these guys nothing but the best.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    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 #42 - May 4th, 2009, 6:20 am
    Post #42 - May 4th, 2009, 6:20 am Post #42 - May 4th, 2009, 6:20 am
    chezbrad wrote:3) Highland Parkers are, without being overly tautological, very Highland Park-ish (Fill in the blank, if you will). Hope the chef has a lot of chicken recipes...


    This is a correct statement on many different levels. I like nortonsravinabbqcityparkgrillbbqpit just fine but if we have to endure another restaurant specializing in cole slaw, grilled chicken and steamed veggies I might puke. I better get to Abigails quickly.

    Ill also be interested to see what happens when Ravinia opens. I never notice problems with traffic, etc on Roger Williams during Ravinia because it seems like most people are diverted uptown or down lake cook rd (roger williams doesn't go all the way west to 41) Maybe it won't be a big issue but then again I never try to park as far east as Abigails.
  • Post #43 - May 4th, 2009, 11:02 am
    Post #43 - May 4th, 2009, 11:02 am Post #43 - May 4th, 2009, 11:02 am
    My guess is that the Metra crowd will keep things busy in the hours leading up to a performance. If the culinary ideology can hold, I think this will be a really nice place to grab dinner around 8ish--should have the chef's undivided attention by then, methinks.

    I don't want to single out HP'rs for a pathology that many newbies on here or roadfood.com display--the need to display self-righteous indignation when a restaurant does not live up to the hype. But there seems to be a special strain up on in HP where people crowd a restaurant at its inception and then look for petty ways to demean it, returning again to their Norton's and such; my parent, who was enthusiastic at the start of the meal, fell back on this reverse elitism by meal's end. Sigh...

    By the way, nearly everyone around us ordered the chicken or veal meatloaf. C'mon, folks, there's prosciutto in at least four dishes! :D
  • Post #44 - May 4th, 2009, 11:38 am
    Post #44 - May 4th, 2009, 11:38 am Post #44 - May 4th, 2009, 11:38 am
    iblock9 wrote:
    chezbrad wrote:3) Highland Parkers are, without being overly tautological, very Highland Park-ish (Fill in the blank, if you will). Hope the chef has a lot of chicken recipes...


    This is a correct statement on many different levels. I like nortonsravinabbqcityparkgrillbbqpit just fine but if we have to endure another restaurant specializing in cole slaw, grilled chicken and steamed veggies I might puke. I better get to Abigails quickly.

    Ill also be interested to see what happens when Ravinia opens. I never notice problems with traffic, etc on Roger Williams during Ravinia because it seems like most people are diverted uptown or down lake cook rd (roger williams doesn't go all the way west to 41) Maybe it won't be a big issue but then again I never try to park as far east as Abigails.


    I wholeheartedly agree. We definitely need something different in the 'hood. :wink:
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #45 - May 4th, 2009, 3:35 pm
    Post #45 - May 4th, 2009, 3:35 pm Post #45 - May 4th, 2009, 3:35 pm
    Hi Chez,
    Before jumping to conclusions could you please clarify the following:

    inevitable compromise to HP "tastes,"

    not be as much pork on the menu in a month

    Highland Parkers are, without being overly tautological, very Highland Park-ish (Fill in the blank, if you will). Hope the chef has a lot of chicken recipes...

    make concessions to the demographic

    I don't want to single out HP'rs for a pathology

    the need to display self-righteous indignation

    there seems to be a special strain up on in HP where people crowd a restaurant at its inception and then look for petty ways to demean it


    The way I see it; If I had the same attitude about a community I might seek out other places to eat.
  • Post #46 - May 4th, 2009, 3:55 pm
    Post #46 - May 4th, 2009, 3:55 pm Post #46 - May 4th, 2009, 3:55 pm
    Jerry D wrote:The way I see it; If I had the same attitude about a community I might seek out other places to eat.


    Simple answer: my folks live up there; I don't have a choice. If it helps, they think I'm a massive and terrible snob. :D

    I don't want to suggest that Highland Park lacks good food, for I still believe Ravinia BBQ and Grill makes an oddly excellent north shore variation of Prince's Hot Chicken--well, that's what I tell myself--and the other places that seemingly blend together--Norton's et. al--all do their thing effortlessly, and many have been since I was a wee Braeside lad. But there seems to be a silent doctrine that every restaurant, no matter its intentions, must conform to the half-chicken-and-massive-potato mantra that most places in town subscribe to; it gets tiring.

    As has been said repeatedly in this thread, some fresh new blood in the 'hood is welcomed--but I feel in this case that it's really up to the clientele, not the restaurateur, to ensure this place gets a chance to succeed. Surprise me! :twisted:
  • Post #47 - May 4th, 2009, 8:00 pm
    Post #47 - May 4th, 2009, 8:00 pm Post #47 - May 4th, 2009, 8:00 pm
    My parents, who live in the neighborhood, checked it out the other night and raved about it. I'm hoping to get up there sometime soon to try it myself. Eying that pork shoulder... and the buffalo shrimp. Like any nice, Jewish boy should :)
  • Post #48 - May 5th, 2009, 11:10 am
    Post #48 - May 5th, 2009, 11:10 am Post #48 - May 5th, 2009, 11:10 am
    chezbrad wrote:Simple answer: my folks live up there; I don't have a choice. If it helps, they think I'm a massive and terrible snob. :D
    I don't want to suggest that Highland Park lacks good food

    Actually, you didn't say much of anything about the availability of good food in HP (other than the abundance of roasted half chickens); you did however say a lot about the people who live there.

    I grew up in Highland Park, lived there more than 30 years, and while I have a few biases of my own about the residents (some of the North Shore's rudest drivers, if you ask me), but nothing in my experience living there warrants your list of digs at them.

    A, you want more variety in dining options in HP. You're not alone. It's come a long way since the "dry days" when nothing uptown was open at night except Baskin Robbins, but it has a long way to go to offer the variety of Highwood or even Milwaukee Avenue. But is that the fault of the diners, or the restaurateurs? "Woe is me ... I wanted to serve inventive appetizers and great seafood and mouthwatering steak, but all they would order was grilled chicken and mashed potatoes ..."? If that were true, why are so many of them going up to Highwood to eat?

    B, you don't like Highland Parkers. There might be a forum for that somewhere, but let's concentrate on the food.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #49 - May 8th, 2009, 4:17 pm
    Post #49 - May 8th, 2009, 4:17 pm Post #49 - May 8th, 2009, 4:17 pm
    Wednesday evening we dined at Abigail’s and found that we generally agree with previous posts. We live two-minutes from Abigail’s and watched construction during the extended gestation period. On recent evening walks I’ve seen that Abigail’s was full while other restaurants on Roger Williams had open tables.

    Knowing Abigail’s doesn’t take reservations we arrived early and snagged the last remaining booth for our group of four. The room is small (about 40-50 seats + a bar area), but attractively designed. It has a clean look – sophisticated, yet comfortable. The lighting is about right – low enough to be relaxing, but not so low that you can’t read the menu. It would be a romantic place, except the noise level is on the high side. You can carry on a conversation, but will have to speak up.

    There are still some service issues to be worked out, but the friendly, knowledgeable staff are trying hard to please and problems were addressed directly.

    We got off to a slow start because it was so busy, and it was about 20 minutes until our order was taken. A serving of excellent cheesy biscuits was complimentary. They used the right amount of cheese – enough to add a piquant touch without overwhelming the light biscuits. When there was a delay in bringing our first course, they provided a second serving of biscuits.

    I started with the special of asparagus, prosciutto, egg and fennel puree which I hope makes it onto the regular menu. The prosciutto was lightly charred at the edges and the egg perfectly cooked (warm and runny). Ham and eggs for dinner – Yum! I’m not a big fan of anise, but the fennel puree was pleasant surprise as the anise was subtle and added a nice counterpoint to the dish. Wife Number One allowed me one spoon of her tasty asparagus-watercress soup. One of our companions had the creamy smoked trout and pronounced it good.

    For the main I ordered roasted lemon rosemary chicken which has been praised in other posts. As mentioned it was flavorful and the skin was very crisp. It was adequately moist though not exceptionally so. There were several delays that evening due to power outages (it was raining and I suspect the wiring in the old building is not the best) and they may have had to hold it longer than planned. Nevertheless it was a good dish and I would order it again. If it were as juicy as others have experienced it would truly be excellent.

    Everyone else ordered the mushroom risotto with scallops which was the weakest dish of the evening. While it had decent flavor, the risotto’s texture was gummy and the dish was on the salty side. Note: the risotto is listed as medium-size, but these dishes are available entree-size for an additional charge (double portion for double price).

    We finished with sharing the chocolate walnut strudel with vanilla ice cream. I’m not a big dessert person, but do have to say this was outstanding with wonderful chocolate flavor and nice crunchy texture. Because of earlier delays the dessert was complimentary.

    Due to computer problems there was also a delay in getting our check, so while we waited they also served us a dish of excellent cookies.

    This gave us time to chat with the owner’s wife who told us they are now working on a lunch menu and also hope to have outside seating when the weather gets warmer.

    We asked about the no-reservation policy and she said they stopped taking reservations due to excessive no-shows.

    Abigail’s is already a good addition to the Highland Park dining scene. The owners are making a real effort and it can only get better as kinks are worked out. We definitely plan to return.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #50 - May 8th, 2009, 4:25 pm
    Post #50 - May 8th, 2009, 4:25 pm Post #50 - May 8th, 2009, 4:25 pm
    IBlock9 wrote:
    Ill also be interested to see what happens when Ravinia opens. I never notice problems with traffic, etc on Roger Williams during Ravinia because it seems like most people are diverted uptown or down lake cook rd (roger williams doesn't go all the way west to 41) Maybe it won't be a big issue but then again I never try to park as far east as Abigails.


    Take a look at the new parking signs on Roger Williams. The two-hour limit has been extended to 9:00 pm during Ravinia season. The purpose was to make more parking available for customers of local businesses when concerts are going on.

    As noted above concert-goers are diverted to other areas because parking is limited along Roger Williams. This will continue. In keeping with this the parking lot on St. Johns just north of Roger Williams won't be available for Ravinia patrons.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #51 - May 9th, 2009, 6:55 am
    Post #51 - May 9th, 2009, 6:55 am Post #51 - May 9th, 2009, 6:55 am
    George R wrote:In keeping with this the parking lot on St. Johns just north of Roger Williams won't be available for Ravinia patrons.


    This is good news. I hope the usher/attendant with the big straw hat who works that lot didnt lose his job. He put a smile on my face every time I drove by.
  • Post #52 - May 10th, 2009, 7:14 pm
    Post #52 - May 10th, 2009, 7:14 pm Post #52 - May 10th, 2009, 7:14 pm
    don't bother...service is terrible....they have no clue on how to actually manage a restaurant
  • Post #53 - May 10th, 2009, 7:24 pm
    Post #53 - May 10th, 2009, 7:24 pm Post #53 - May 10th, 2009, 7:24 pm
    sammy wrote:don't bother...service is terrible....they have no clue on how to actually manage a restaurant

    In case you hadn't noticed, we aim for a slighly higher level of discourse around here.

    Would you care to elaborate on your experience at Abigail's? I think it would be potentially more illuminating if you could include some actual details along with the advice and the assertions. Don't get me wrong -- there's nothing technically wrong with your post but considering it's your first post here and you've provided no details, I doubt anyone is going to give it much credence.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    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 #54 - June 2nd, 2009, 2:54 pm
    Post #54 - June 2nd, 2009, 2:54 pm Post #54 - June 2nd, 2009, 2:54 pm
    I noticed that Abigail's is now open for lunch Wed-Sat 11:30-2:30.
  • Post #55 - June 2nd, 2009, 3:50 pm
    Post #55 - June 2nd, 2009, 3:50 pm Post #55 - June 2nd, 2009, 3:50 pm
    The lunch menu has been posted outside the restaurant. Some dinner items are carried over such as the Burger + some sandwiches and salads have been added.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #56 - June 2nd, 2009, 4:32 pm
    Post #56 - June 2nd, 2009, 4:32 pm Post #56 - June 2nd, 2009, 4:32 pm
    Marija wrote:I noticed that Abigail's is now open for lunch Wed-Sat 11:30-2:30.

    My understanding is that lunch service was to start on or around May 13.

    With my office in HP, I'm glad to hear that it's now in play.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    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 #57 - June 3rd, 2009, 5:08 pm
    Post #57 - June 3rd, 2009, 5:08 pm Post #57 - June 3rd, 2009, 5:08 pm
    I've heard that the food is very good there and that it is a welcomed addition to Ravinia! Can't wait to check it out myself :)
  • Post #58 - June 10th, 2009, 7:55 pm
    Post #58 - June 10th, 2009, 7:55 pm Post #58 - June 10th, 2009, 7:55 pm
    Made my first visit to Abigail's tonite. Sat at the bar at around 7:30. the place was full, line out the door. Nice to see this much action in the neighborhood on a wed night. I was impressed with the menu and the decor. For an upscale yet casual restaurant, I managed to actually feel like I was in a sophisticated restaurant which is a very un-highland parky feeling. The menu, which changes weekly according to my server, was not very porky. Some more adventurous items still appeared on the menu, including the fish salad. Hopefully the absence of pork reflects on what was available at the market this week rather then as an act of contrition on the chef's part.

    I opted for the burger which was cooked a perfect medium-rare. Frites were perfect. I have high hopes for many more meals at Abigail's. This is exactly the kind of place our little neighborhood needed.
  • Post #59 - June 11th, 2009, 8:50 am
    Post #59 - June 11th, 2009, 8:50 am Post #59 - June 11th, 2009, 8:50 am
    With the Ravinia Farmer's market season underway is there any word on whether Abigail's will be buying their produce from the market? One would hope so, at least as much as possible.
  • Post #60 - June 11th, 2009, 10:07 am
    Post #60 - June 11th, 2009, 10:07 am Post #60 - June 11th, 2009, 10:07 am
    Matt -

    I'd think that they'd be better off doing their local produce buying at the Evanston market, as they are sticklers about provenance, and such, and don't space for the sale of snacks and trinkets - I like the Ravinia market as a stopgap, but other than the very nice fellow who sells lovely stone fruit and berries from Michigan (the one with the MSU Spartan tarp) and the big veg stand at the very end, it's not intended as a source for restaurant supply. I don't think anyone even sells organic produce, where Evanston has multiple purveyors. It is handy to have it right there as a fill-in though, and the pastry chef should be really, really happy to have the Fruit Guy right there.

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