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james restaurant in prospect heights

wandered in unplanned on friday night at around nine thirty, due to the fact that beast was bursting at the seams and we didnt want to wait. what a pleasant surprise!! james was busy but we were seated fairly promptly. i knew they opened this week, so expectations were kept in check.

the negatives? too brightly lit in the room; too dimly lit in the 'loo.

the redecor is lovely, especially the new bar area and the chandelier.

the food was really fantastic and reasonably priced. i had a salad that included shitakes and pine nuts and slivers of toasted parm. tasty, minimally dressed, and large portion. also, the scallop appetizer with some sort of minty sauce. very interesting. not the best scallop dish i've had, but i appreciated the twist on tastes and the newness of it. scallops were plump and fresh. my eating partner had the burger. she was enraptured the entire time she was consuming it. completely stopped relating to me, in fact, and raved about it all the way home. it was served on brioche with l&t and little cups of condiments. she opted for a veg side instead of fries and it was swiss chard with orzo [i think]. also good, except i wished she had gotten the fries for me to steal.

we each had a glass of wine. several red and white options south of nine bucks that were fine. nice cocktail menu, too, but we were cocktailed-out.

i'm looking forward to going back soon!! like maybe even tomorrow....

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  1. wow. thanks for the report. i was wondering when it was going open. the neighborhood could use a good burger. or more good food for that matter.

    1. The revamped space looks terrific and we've wondered how the food is. Thanks for the report - we are going to check it out!

      1. Ate there last night. It was great.

        The sweetbreads are exceptionally good. Had the steak with bone marrow. Also great.

        The fried ricotta desert too.

        Highly recommed you try it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sushiman

          I havent been yet, but a neighbor panned the food as tasteless - what did you think of the level of seasoning?

          1. re: jen kalb

            I do not know what you neighbor tried. We had the lamb and the steak for mains. I had the sweetbreads for a starter.

        2. Where in Prospect Heights is this place, please?

          3 Replies
          1. re: elecsheep9

            corner of st.marks and carlton ave.

          2. I've been to James a couple of times now. Clearly they are not content with being just another decent neighborhood joint. The quality of the ingredients, the preparation, and the carefully composed short menu all indicate superiority. They show a real knack for perfectly crispy outsides and pillowy insides. Try the sweetbreads, the scallops and the ricotta beignets (but don't expect the wonderful chewiness of Cafe Du Monde's) Like Franny's, James seems to be striving for a higher standard. Note to other restaurants: the bar has been raised.

            1. Hi everyone - just wondering if anyone had been here recently. Am planning to go for the first time this weekend and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations (I already know I'm going to get the sweetbreads, this is the whole reason I'm going in the first place!) I'd really appreciate it since it seems like the menu has changed a bit to reflect the season. Thanks!

              3 Replies
              1. re: pslopian

                We had brunch at James in late November. The turkey sausage was excellent. The blood orange mimosa was also good.

                The bartender was friendly (we sat at the bar to avoid a wait for a table), and he had good suggestions about the menu. I'm sure this would be applicable at dinnertime, too.

                1. re: sadpanda75

                  Can also comment on the brunch at James, also in November. I did the simple eggs with duck sausage; the duck sausage was outstanding. Dunno if it was made in-house or not, but it was gamey (in that good way that duck is) and perfectly seasoned. For $9, it was quite a tasty breakfast option. Also, their "raisin bread" stood out for its inclusion of fennel seeds; I thought it was going to be a bizarre taste combo but I ended up wanting to order a second plate.

                  I was impressed, and have been meaning to make it back for dinner.

                  1. re: lambretta76

                    Thanks very much for the update - I will have to try the brunch! I went on a friday night with SO, and we had a very pleasant and short wait at the bar. The food (crispy sweetbreads and scallops (both DELICIOUS) for apps, steak with marrow and arctic char for entrees) was very good and the place is quite charming.