Restaurant review: Beatrix in Oak Brook tempts with tweaked classics and decadent desserts
Lettuce Entertain You has clustered a number of its restaurants in Oakbrook Center's "restaurant row," with diners able to choose between Wildfire, Maggiano's Little Italy and the French bistro Mon Ami Gabi. Earlier this year, the Chicago-based restaurant group added one more: Beatrix, designed to appeal to fans of comfort food and those with a sweet tooth.
The first suburban outpost of Beatrix -- there are three Chicago locations -- offers an inviting, comfortable feel and a menu of tweaked classics that drew a mix of couples and families on the Saturday night we visited.
A bakery case near the front tempts with a variety of pastries, while the adjoining bar offers temptations of a different kind. A comfy seating area with couches and chairs, plus high-top tables near the bar, offer plenty of places to settle whether you want to relax with a cocktail -- or a cookie.
The spacious dining area past the bar features a number of tables, nicely spaced to keep an open feel. An eclectic mix of light fixtures overhead, and plants scattered throughout, create a look that is at once both urban and homey.
Learning that we were Beatrix newbies, our friendly server shared a few of her favorites, including Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts. She assured us they did not disappoint, and she was right. Lightly spicy and a little sweet, the sprouts packed big flavor, while the slivered almonds delivered a lovely, light crunch. We happily devoured them all.
Unfortunately, we must have caught the Brussels sprouts at the end of their seasonal menu run. The now-listed Kung Pao Cauliflower sounds delicious as well, but here's hoping the sprouts return when the time is right.
Seeing the impressive-looking Kennebec fries delivered to neighboring tables convinced us to give them a try as well. These aren't your usual taters. Rather, they come topped with a visually appealing -- and tasty -- mix of crispy lemons and chilies. They're paired with a creamy poached egg aioli that won't have you reaching for the more traditional ketchup. Plus, the generous platter could easily be shared with a group as a starter or side.
Moving on to entrees, I went with the Chili and Chocolate-Glazed Salmon, which, like the sprouts, proved to be a seasonal selection. The tortillas on the side were a nice touch, making the dish seem almost like two meals in one. While the salmon itself didn't leave much of an impression, I enjoyed the mini tacos I created with bites of fish and a splash of green salsa. The smoked almond slaw side, a refreshing departure on heavier versions I've tasted elsewhere, delivered a few surprises -- a nice kick from slivers of peppers and the pleasant crunch of almonds.
The tortillas and slaw are now sharing plate space with similarly glazed short ribs instead of salmon, while the current salmon offering boasts the intriguing pairing of miso and caramel.
My husband, meanwhile, was drawn to the turkey, greens and sweet potato meatloaf, but ultimately decided on the Burnt Honey Chicken, which our server described as a twist on a Jewish classic. I pictured a sweet-sticky coating, but the actual dish was much lighter. It came with perfectly roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach.
Skirt steak, burgers and the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Bebe are among the other entree options.
The dessert menu boasts chocolate cake, chia pudding and a few other selections, but our choice seemed clear when our server pointed out that the chef had won awards for his Oh My! Caramel Pie. With its rich creamy filling and crunchy shortbread crust, the pie was indeed a winner -- dense, delicious and utterly decadent.
Our server was helpful and attentive throughout our meal, offering suggestions, answering questions and quickly checking with the kitchen when ingredient questions came up.
On my way out, I couldn't help but do a bit of window shopping at the bakery counter. My caramel pie indulgence had left no room for anything else, but I'll have to go back for that Nutella-stuffed cookie.
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272 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 491-1415, beatrixrestaurants.com
Cuisine: Comfort foods and sweet treats
Setting: Inviting and spacious with an urban vibe
Prices: Appetizers: $6.95-$12.95; dinner salads, sandwiches and entrees: $12.95-$29.95; desserts: $6.95-$8.95, with other options at the bakery counter. Also serves breakfast, lunch and brunch.
Hours: Breakfast: 7 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday; lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; brunch: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; dinner: 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday
• Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.