Friday, May 29, 2009

Prairie Grass Cafe - Northbrook, IL

We first heard about this restaurant during an interview with Bill Kurtis about his Tallgrass Beef Company. We were going to be in the area, so we decided to give it a try.

We checked out their website before going so we knew that it wasn't anything fancy inside and the dress was casual. I worried, though, before we got there because I thought we were going to be underdressed. There were many people just as casual as we were, but also many who were in suits. It was a weeknight, so possibly people came straight from work.

The place was a little different than expected. First, it was in a weird location. It seemed like it was part of an office building. They had a back corner and the front corner was empty, so when you first drive up you are not really sure if they are open or not.

There was a bar area separate from the dining area. It looked like you could eat in the bar. The main dining area had a mixture of tables, booths and tables against a banquette. We were there early in the evening so we had our choice of tables. One thing we noticed is that the wood tables were really beat-up. I would suggest covering them with tableclothes; it looks really tacky.

I have read other reviews of this restaurant and the biggest complaint is the service. We thought the service was great. As soon as we were seated our servicer came and took our drink order. To our surprise the wine list was very reasonably priced.

This restaurant uses products from local farms, which makes the menu very interesting. They make their own sausages, salad dressings and ice cream.

I chose for my appetizer the Maine "Peeky Toe" Crab Cake over Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with a Citrus Butter Sauce. I was hesitant because I really don't like grapefruit, but I decided to chance it. It was well worth it. The flavors worked really well together and I really could not taste the bitterness of the grapefruit. The crab cake on its own was one of the best I've ever had.

My husband odered the Homemade Pate in a Crock with Apples and Port Wine-Balsamic Reduction. He spread the pate on the apples and drizzed the reduction on top and he loved it!

For entrees I had the halibut which had a brioche crust and what I think was a lemon butter sauce. We were told this dish used to be a special and people liked it so much, it was permanently put on the menu. The menu online is not updated with this dish so I can't confirm what the sauce was. The fish, which was perfectly cooked, was served over a warm green bean salad in a pesto sauce. Wow, was that good. I've never had anything like it.

My husband had the Tallgrass Beef filet special. It was served with sauteed mushrooms and roasted potatoes. However, he opted to substitute the Twice Baked Potato with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Cheese for the roasted potatoes. In fact, it was so big that we split it.

Unfortunately we had no room for dessert.

I would definitely dine here again.


  1. Hi, this is Jessica from, a community newspaper/web site from the Chicago Tribune. Very interested in this blog to feature in our paper next week--could you e-mail me at Thanks!!!

  2. How was the beef though? I haven't had much luck with grass fed beef.

    Also the price of said beef?

  3. My husband said the beef was very tender and had great flavor. He was expecting it to taste gamey like other grass fed beef he has had before, but it was not at all. If our memory is right, it was about $39.