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updated: 8/11/2014 2:22 PM

Stylish menu, setting reel in diners at Devon Seafood and Steak

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  • Pretzel-crusted trout is one of the hard-to-resist dinners served at Devon Seafood and Steak in Oakbrook Terrace.

       Pretzel-crusted trout is one of the hard-to-resist dinners served at Devon Seafood and Steak in Oakbrook Terrace.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Fresh oysters are a bargain at a buck each during happy hour at Devon Seafood and Steak in Oakbrook Terrace.

       Fresh oysters are a bargain at a buck each during happy hour at Devon Seafood and Steak in Oakbrook Terrace.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • The bar at Devon Seafood and Steak in Oakbrook Terrace seats more than 25 guests.

       The bar at Devon Seafood and Steak in Oakbrook Terrace seats more than 25 guests.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Devon Seafood and Steak opened in Oakbrook Terrace in 2013. It also has locations in Chicago and Milwaukee.

       Devon Seafood and Steak opened in Oakbrook Terrace in 2013. It also has locations in Chicago and Milwaukee.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
By Jennifer Olvera
Daily Herald correspondent

At Devon Seafood and Steak in Oakbrook Terrace modern wood walls, abstract, nature-driven art, low lighting and sleek seating are favored over the tired maritime theme you see at many seafood spots. A spacious patio with equally stylish furnishings furthers the contemporary, civilized vibe at this redo of Braxton Seafood Grill. Meanwhile, a bar area up front offers happy hour specials daily.

Fresh catches and steak are the main thrust of the menu. That includes raw bar selections, a daily array of simply prepared fresh fish and shellfish and more inventive entrees emphasizing the same.

We kicked things off with oysters, opting for lightly briny Beau Soleil from New Brunswick, cucumber-y Hammersley Inlets from Washington State and Naked Cowboy, a varietal hailing from Long Island Sound. They were all as fresh as can be, though there's room for improvement in the shucking department. Twice we encountered bits of shell.

The simple and summery Vietnamese crab spring rolls were a nice counterpoint to the bivalves. They were tucked with crunchy daikon radish, creamy avocado, mint, basil, pea shoots and carrots. Other staring options range from a roasted duck flatbread with fig barbecue sauce to chipotle grilled shrimp atop corn-black bean relish or shrimp scampi bathed in garlic butter.

You can make a meal out of soups and salads, if you prefer. There's creole gumbo and Maine lobster bisque, plus strawberry-pistachio salad in sherry vinaigrette, a classic wedge and heirloom tomatoes with arugula, burrata and basil ice cream that's finished with a balsamic glaze. There's also an entrée-sized lobster Cobb and a grilled salmon panzanella salad that features spinach, Montrachet goat cheese, balsamic red onions, tomatoes, a whirl of basil oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

Purveyors are of importance here. Naturally, not all of the farms and fishmongers are local. Much of the seafood comes from Fortune Fish Company, and all of the sources are top-notch. In short, high quality is all-but-guaranteed, a fact that was reinforced throughout our dining experience.

Hard, no really impossible for me to resist was the pretzel-crusted trout, which took cues from a Lyonnaise salad, arriving swathed in bacon-mustard vinaigrette with frisee, herb-roasted potatoes and French green beans. Tempting, though, was the almond-crusted tilapia with orange beurre blanc; the seafood mixed grill with shrimp, scallops, a jumbo lump crabcake, whipped potatoes and grilled asparagus; and the pork chop with cherry mostarda.

We went for the flat iron steak and sweet potato frites accented with melty ancho butter. It was prepared to a perfect medium-rare. If you go the route of straight-up steaks -- a prime KC strip or filet Oscar, for example -- you get a choice of two sides, which can be upgraded to gooey lobster mac and cheese for an extra $3. Alternately, you'll find beyond-basics like apple and celery root slaw, a grilled artichoke with garlic-parmesan aioli and lemon-asparagus risotto.

If you're looking to simplify the whole experience, opt for the prix fixe menu. Starter options include a baby green salad and tempura shrimp sushi. Then, it's on to choices like seared scallops with bacon-flecked sweet potato-corn hash in corn butter sauce or mesquite-grilled chicken. You can also upgrade to a half-pound lobster tail. Finale options include vanilla bean crème brûlée and triple chocolate mousse cake.

Speaking of the crème brûlée, it's a winner, its crackly top offset by juicy raspberries and a chocolate-almond tuille. Like most seafood spots, this one offers tart-sweet Key lime pie, but here there's a welcome twist: roasted pineapple-maraschino cherry relish and mango sorbet. It's like instant vacation. Chocolate lovers will find the requisite lava cake, and there's carrot cake in the rotation too, only here it features pecan praline filling and toasted coconut.

Lest you get the impression it's all meat and fish, Devon offers a number of vegetarian items as well as dishes for those for gluten-sensitive guests.

The wine list is large, thoughtful and largely accessible, with global leanings. On Sundays, bottles up to $100 are half off. Those over $100 are 25 percent off.

During the daily happy hour (4 to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday) raw oysters cost $1 each. Lobster claws are $3, and appetizers, such as tuna tartare and a New England lobster roll, are $7. Cocktails range from standard (like a lemon drop martini) to classic (a Moscow mule). They're joined by an edited list of craft beers.

Service was cheery and knowledgeable throughout our meal, making the overall experience a positive one, one worth returning for time and time again.

• Reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.

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