Lunch recommendation between Oak Brook and ORD?
- klmonline Jan 18, 2010 08:32 AM
I have a morning business meeting in Oak Brook and then I'll be taking a cab back to the airport for an afternoon flight. Can you suggest a lunch spot I should try anywhere on the general path between the two that would be better than eating at the airport? Okay, anything is better than eating at the airport, but you get the idea.
There are almost no restrictions on cuisine or price. I'll have on a suit and tie so I can fit into a nice place, but I'm just as happy walking into a greasy little dive and standing at a counter if the food is good. I eat all ethnic cuisine variants. Just looking to avoid a nationwide chain.
Ok, a couple of suggestions:
Staying in Oakbrook, I think I'd hit Reza's for Middle Eastern (Persian,) or India House for Indian. Neither will be a dive, suit will fit you right in if you are concerned.. Both are usually solid, but you'll be paying for the room a little bit. I'd say that at India House, you'll notice that a little more. Both will, however, have lunch buffets, and Reza's, I believe, still has lunch specials. Like I said, both are solid, IMO, but you could do better for the price around the city of Chicago, but I don't think you'll do better in Oak Brook. If you're from a city with lots of Indian and Middle Eastern choices, you probably won't be disappointed in the food, but the prices might be like one or two bux more than you'd expect to be paying for the food. India House's buffet has a tendency to be a little dumbed down as far as heat, but that's understandable. If I was in your situation, I'd be confident in going to either, and trying a spoonful or two of a lot of things. I'm drawing a blank on a grease joint for you that would be an easy stop "on the way" to O'Hare.
However, if you want to go to a straight up dive/hole in the wall for Indian food, one of my favorite places EVER is "on the way." It's called Desi Grill And Pizza on Roosevelt Road in Lombard. It is a DIVE, like serious DIVE, but the food is just as good (maybe better) as it is at India House, and it will probably run you 4 bux less per dish. It's an ordering counter and 6 or 7 tables, and I love it to death. Never eaten "in" once. It's really a dive. I'm not saying I wouldn't eat there, I see ppl eating there all the time, but it's really a dive. Anyway, if India House or Reza's is near where you'll be, It might be easier to get there, have a leisurely grazing lunch, and call a cab from there to go straight to the airport. Either is a decent, solid choice for ethnic eats, in a slightly upscale but still totally casual room.
If you like chicken thighs:
Chicken naan roll.
Chili chicken lunch box, or a chicken kerahi lunch box.
Their veggie selections vary. If you call ahead, you have to grill them on what they have for specials. Keep asking "anything else?"
Their luch box is either chili chicken, or chicken kerahi with rice, dal, raita, a full naan, and a can of soda (VERY good deal.) The dal selection varies from day to day, sometimes it's phenomenal, sometimes it's just kind of blah. You'll know when you get the good stuff. Sometimes, it's red, sometimes it's yellow. If you ask them, and the right person is on the phone or at the counter, you can switch out the dal for one of their veggie selections if what they have ineterests you more than the dal. The chili chicken is boneless, and the kerahi is chopped up chicken pieces on the bone.
The veggie dishes I've had there that I loved are their aloo gobi and saag aloo, but they will be differetn every time you order them, and they are not always on the menu. They have a heat lamp case with fried thingies in it, their samosa are not the same each time I go - I've had great ones, and not so great ones. Also, there is another divey take out joint a few blocks west of there - same side of the street: Al-Wahid grocery. Good samosa. Better paratha. If I'm in the mood for paratha, I'll get it from Al-Wahid. Desi's naan can be kinda rubbery, but it's serviceable.
Try it a few times. If you like their chili chicken, and get a good batch of dal, that chili chicken lunchbox is a great deal. Normally, for two ppl, we'll get a lunchbox, a cihcken naan roll, and a few samosa with a few extra naan. No way we can finish it all, so we use the extra naan for the leftovers the next day. It's not the best Indian food in Chicagoland, but when they are firing on all cylinders, it will rival the best Indian food for the price - IMO.
First of all, Oak Brook is only about 15 minutes from O'Hare, and it's tollway the entire way. And there are lots and lots of places to eat in Oak Brook. So don't worry about looking for something in between the two. Just have lunch in Oak Brook, and then head straight to the airport.
I often get together with associates for lunch in the Oak Brook area. My two favorite lunch places are right in the mall (Oak Brook Center - www.oakbrookcenter.com ). Reel Club ( www.reel-club.com ) specializes in fresh seafood. And Mon Ami Gabi ( www.monamigabi.com ) is a French bistro. Both have lunch specials, and both are very nice places, with excellent food cooked to order. Highly recommended.
You folks are great. I'll see what conditions and tastes dictate at the time and let you know how it came out. Thanks much!
I have not been to Antico Posto, but Lettuce Entertain You - the local restaurant group that has several dozen restaurants, mostly in the Chicago area and with widely varying concepts (including Reel Club and Mon Ami Gabi) - does a very good job with just about any kind of food. They originated Maggiano's before they sold it to Brinker's and it spread nationwide, and obviously they still have Italian concepts in their stable. (Speaking of which, Maggiano's also has a restaurant in the mall.) I think you're in good hands going to Antico Posto if you're up for Italian.
I'll present the moral of the story first... When you ask for restaurant recommendations and people take the time and effort to respond with heartfelt suggestions, try listening to them instead of going someplace else on a whim.
Suffice it to say I wasn't overly impressed with my meal at Antico Posto. Service was fine, ambience was fine, choice was fine. I only had the one entree, so my views only represent this one dish. Gnocchi Bolognese had fascinating light and fluffy pillows made from ricotta cheese rather than the usual potatoes. Those were good. But the bolognese sauce was pedestrian and watery and didn't suit the dish at all. Stay away from that particular sauce choice.
They do an interesting dessert deal at lunch. Tiny little one-bite desserts for a buck each. I avoided a decision process and splurged for the big bucks ($5 !) sampler platter with five items. None of them made me wish I had ordered more.
Sigh. Indian food or middle eastern food. Sounds good right about now. Thanks anyway, guys. Next time I'm in town I'll listen.
More of a dive but a Great Burger near O'Hare. Paradise Pup,1724 South River Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018-2253
Be prepared to wait in line. Very limited seating in the winter. (Maybe 5 stools?) About 8 or 10 orders taken at a time so everything is made to order. Highly recommended if you like burgers.
Also, just about 2 miles west of Oak Brook, a little place called Labriola.
Try this place if you want something in the area that is more of an upscale "panera type" place to catch a quick but tasty bite. You order, sit down and the food is brought to you. They make pizzas and you can watch them bake in their little wood fired oven. They also have an array of sandwiches and salads. The guy that owns this place has a commercial bakery as his main business. I suspect he is a major foodie hence everything is pretty good here. It's not cheap. A standout in the area. I wouldn't drive 20 miles to get here... but I would drive 20 miles to get to Paradise Pup!