Dry-aged sirloin on Anson Mills grits at Inovasi
Inovasi’s dry-aged sirloin on Anson Mills grits


28 East Center Avenue, Lake Bluff; 847-295-1000


Inovasi proves that the term “small plates” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “let’s confuse diners into overordering so we can finally turn a buck on food instead of liquor.” Perhaps it’s because John des Rosiers packs a full plate’s worth of flavor into his precise little creations, such as a lovely grilled Dutch white sea bass with Anson Mills grits, green apple, “za’atar-seasoned crispy things,” and an Italian wild sour cherry glaze ($13). His deft touch peaks with the Scarborough Fair dessert: four mini scoops of intense parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme ice creams resting on phyllo discs. Small plate or not, this creation once was a true love of mine. Still is, actually.

TIP: The Tallgrass sirloin, dry-aged for six weeks and served with caramelized onion, apple, and more Anson Mills grits, is so tender you don’t need a knife.



PRICE KEY: ¢ $10 to $19  $ $20 to $29   $$ $30 to $39  $$$ $40 to $49   $$$$ $50-plus
[Cost per person for dinner, excluding wine, tax, or tip]


Photograph: Anna Knott