Chicago and the suburbs are well-stocked in the meatery department, but Vidalia Steakhouse fits nicely into the mix, especially given the prices are a bit more down to earth.
The restaurant at 680 Mall Drive is the kind of place where kiddos are welcome, a fact that bodes well for its locale in Woodfield's shadow. In an effort to be all things to all people, though, there's live entertainment Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays beginning at 7 p.m.
Vidalia Steakhouse680 Mall Drive, Schaumburg, (847) 995-0188, vidaliasteakhouse.com
Setting: Family-friendly and casual
Entrees: $10.95 to $59.95
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday
The setting, admittedly, is a bit less snazzy than many of its counterparts: The setting feels a bit corporate hotel dining room-meets-Greek-diner. If you can get past that, though, a pretty enjoyable meal awaits.
We started with the appropriately garlicky shrimp De Jonghe, its lemony breadcrumb mixture doing the Chicago original proud. The seared ahi was a pleasing choice, too, given it was offset by crisp Asian slaw and citrusy ponzu sauce.
All the usual suspects are on offer -- crabcakes, shrimp cocktail, fried calamari -- but you'll also find a few first course surprises, like baked oysters studded with prosciutto, red roasted peppers, spinach and a shower of parmesan.
Salads are substantial (read: entrée-worthy), be it the chopped chicken, classic Caesar with grilled shrimp or the grilled filet and blue cheese salad, finished with grilled Vidalia onions and shoestring onions.
A handful of sandwiches are available, in the event you want to eat lighter (or just keep tabs down). The signature burger, which we tried, is a perfectly acceptable take, finished with classic accoutrements and, again, the restaurant's sweet, crisp namesake onions.
However, steaks and chops form the backbone of the menu, and the filet au poivre does not disappoint. Arriving perfectly medium-rare, saucy and peppery with an added side of sautéed mushrooms, it was everything we anticipated it to be.
And speaking of steaks, there are seven enhancements, ranging from a parmesan crust to the addition of horseradish cream.
In the event you feel like splurging, there's lobster tail for $59.95. For something different, try the pork tenderloin in Burgundy mushroom sauce or the Greek-style pork chops. More tempting, though, is the king- or queen-cut of prime rib or the option to combine a small filet with salmon, shrimp or lobster. Seafood plays a prominent role, be it crisp, hazelnut-crusted tilapia or crowd-pleasing shrimp scampi. There's pasta, too, so the menu holds plenty of broad appeal.
Dessert is hard to save room for, but the lemon-raspberry crème brûlée with its crackly sugar crust is a best bet. Warm chocolate cake, ubiquitous as it may be, is another fine, moist reward.
Service throughout our meal was friendly without being chummy and ready to make recommendations without being pushy. A full bar and smallish wine list tie the experience together, and while it may not knock your socks off, it's a meal that you'll no doubt enjoy.
• Reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.