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Don Roth's Blackhawk - Wheeling, Il

abf005 Sep 9, 2008 01:45 PM

Last night I was in the mood for a good steak and since I’ve been spending a fair amount of time near the Wheeling area, I wanted hit a place nearby that I haven’t been to before; I choose Don Roth’s Blackhawk.

Now if I said that over the last 15-20 years I’ve passed by Don Roth’s probably a thousand times, I wouldn’t be far from the truth. But each time I’ve driven by, I have to say that I’ve never quite been sure what to exactly make of it. From the outside, it’s clear that it is an older Victorian era/style house, and yet, it’s also quite dingy looking. It seems to be lacking some of the attributes of what an upscale restaurant in the northern burbs should look like. So based on looks, I’ve never been inspired to go in. Alright, looks aside I was going to go last night, as it turns out it’s raining like crazy out, so I pull up to the door…no valet. Bummer! Guess I’ll have to get wet.

As I step inside, I’m instantly transported to 1940. Apparently, when the Wheeling location opened back in the 70’s, much of the memorabilia from the original in Downtown Blackhawk restaurant was brought over by the son of the original owner. Pictures and autographs from the likes of Guy Lombardo & Danny Kaye etc. are everywhere. But the 1970’s tables & woodwork are also still in place, either way, it’s interesting but I’m not very impressed by the décor, not that I’m huge on this kind of stuff anyway, but it there and unique so I’m commenting on it.

The crowd is light, but they all could have been people out of those pictures too! Don’t get me wrong, I’m in my mid 40’s and even so, I was by far the youngest “kid” in this crowd, again, I don’t care that much, but I’m way out of my element here and I know it.

The food; they brought out a bowl of tasty garlic bread chips, heavy with butter and fresh chopped garlic. I ordered the blackened shrimp appetizer with the famous “spinning salad” and a ribeye steak a baked potato on the side.

The shrimp was awful! The blackened spices made it smell bad and the shrimp was tough too, so I sent it back. The salad was great! The presentation was fantastic, and it had a very nice flavor. The steak was good, I think they slightly overcooked it, but not badly enough that I was going to complain. The char crust on the meat was excellent and the meat tasted like it was wet aged prime beef, and for $29 bucks, not a bad value. The fresh bread that came with the meal was also worth a mention, I really liked it.

Alll in all, not bad. If they gave the place an update, and painted the exterior, this place would really feel allot nicer. But for the money, along with a very competent wait staff, it’s not a bad place if you don’t want to pay double to eat out in Wheeling, like at Tramonto’s or Pete Miller’s, but then again, it’s really not quite in that league either…

  1. f
    feta Sep 11, 2008 01:53 PM

    My husband and I went there this summer- we had not been in a long time. I remember the salads being the best! I have to tell you our dinner was one of the worst experiences. They could not get my steak cooked! I am NOT a fussy person and hate to complain at restaurants. I sent the steak back and it came back raw. By the time I got my third steat I was not hungry. Made for good leftovers

    I will say that the manager was wonderful, and he comped the whole meal! All in all, my conclusion is that everyone has a bad night, they showed that they are truly trying to please their customer. We will give it a whirl again.

    I agree that the place needs an update- that said there is something about a restaurant staying the same, and having a meal you can count on. I hope Don Roths is around a long time. I also agree that Pete Millers is a more expensive version, younger crowd of Don Roths. I am anxious to hear what other chi-chows think.

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