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posted: 6/19/2012 6:00 AM

Good value, hearty portions staples at Black Cow steakhouse

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  • Peter Kokones delivers plates of bone-in rib-eye and barbecue baby back ribs at Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect.

       Peter Kokones delivers plates of bone-in rib-eye and barbecue baby back ribs at Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Wood-roasted chicken comes with a choice of potato or fresh vegetables at Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect.

       Wood-roasted chicken comes with a choice of potato or fresh vegetables at Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect serves up a selection of steaks, roasted chicken, fresh fish, pasta and burgers.

       Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect serves up a selection of steaks, roasted chicken, fresh fish, pasta and burgers.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Bone-in rib-eye is one of the steak choices at Black Cow Kitchen & Bar.

       Bone-in rib-eye is one of the steak choices at Black Cow Kitchen & Bar.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Barbecue baby back ribs are basted with Black Cow Kitchen & Bar's special sauce.

       Barbecue baby back ribs are basted with Black Cow Kitchen & Bar's special sauce.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect offers a selection of specialty cocktails.

       Black Cow Kitchen & Bar in Mount Prospect offers a selection of specialty cocktails.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
By Carolyn Walkup
Daily Herald Correspondent

The name Black Cow makes sense when you see that the Mount Prospect restaurant's menu is dominated by charbroiled steaks, some of which come from Angus and other breeds with black hides.

Black Cow, which opened last fall, is the newest of eight restaurants owned by the Dining Out Enterprises Group. Others include Jimmy's Charhouse in Elgin and Libertyville, Johnny's Kitchen & Tap in Glenview and La Tasca Tapas in Arlington Heights. This location, on the prime corner of Busse and Golf roads, most recently was Artemis family restaurant.

"We are Greek-owned but not Greek cuisine," said partner George Kyriazis.

The clubby-looking eatery features steaks, chops, fish and wood-roasted chicken, ribs and pork.

Decor has a definite vintage supper club/masculine steakhouse vibe, with dim lighting, black leather upholstery and lots of dark wood. Fortunately, pin lights suspended from the ceiling are strategically placed over each booth and table, facilitating easy menu reading. Carpeting and an acoustical tiled ceiling keep down noise levels at busy times.

Wines by the glass are reasonably priced, starting at $7, and pours are generous. Most of the world's major wine regions are represented on the small list. Quite a few specialty cocktails are offered, as befits the atmosphere and largely 1940s-era background music.

Like most of the restaurants in the Dining Out group, Black Cow offers good value and hearty portions. Most entrees include soup or salad and potato or vegetables. Many entrees are priced as low as $12.95, with most steaks less than $20.

A few items are labeled "Mediterranean" or "Grecian style," and I recommend ordering anything bearing those descriptions, even though the owners try not to emphasize their Greek heritage. The Mediterranean shrimp, for example, which comes in both appetizer and entree portions, is excellent.

The appetizer is served in a hot iron skillet right from the oven. Easily serving two or three diners, the dish is filled with good-sized shrimp, accented with diced tomato, green pepper, the right amount of garlic, feta and asiago cheeses, olive oil and butter. This dish is a real winner.

Standard side salads that followed were pre-chilled and contained iceberg and romaine lettuces, a tomato wedge and a little red cabbage. The Greek dressing -- olive oil, citrus juice, chopped anchovies and oregano -- was quite tasty, but the balsamic on the second salad was much thicker than a vinaigrette.

Choosing entrees from the many choices was not easy. In addition to the hearty entrees, charbroiled burgers and chicken sandwiches, along with other sandwiches, are served at dinner as well as lunch. Choice-cut steaks range from an 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye to a six-ounce filet mignon.

Daily specials generally include a catch of the day. Grilled Alaskan halibut was a special on the day I visited. Though a tad overcooked, the fish was nicely seasoned with paprika and not oversalted. Other fish that are sometimes available include Lake Superior whitefish, tilapia, Atlantic salmon and, occasionally, swordfish.

Rotisserie-roasted pork is a house specialty, served with walnut and raisin stuffing, mashed potatoes and a thick gravy. This comfort food portion was sufficient for at least two meals, but the flavors were more suited to a more casual diner than to a steakhouse.

Next time I would order Grecian-style wood-roasted chicken, barbecued ribs, an entree portion of the Mediterranean shrimp or a charbroiled burger, billed as freshly ground and hand-packed.

Those who've saved room for dessert have several standards from which to choose -- such as cheesecake and chocolate lava cake. House-made desserts are tiramisu, apple crisp and flan. My choice, the creamy flan, was light and luscious, accented with caramel and a touch of orange.

Our server was personable and quite knowledgeable about answering any questions we had about the food. We did have to flag him down to get our check, but that's not such a bad thing. We were not rushed, and we plan to return to try more dishes.

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