Banana cream pie at Prairie Fire
215 North Clinton Avenue; 312-382-8300
Six years ago Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris left the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room to open Prairie Grass Cafe, a comfort-food haven in Northbrook. Even when word of Stegner’s mom’s amazing homemade pies drifted our way, we wondered if the fine-dining pair could dial down and be happy. At Prairie Fire, Prairie Grass’s city sib, they do all that and more. There’s as much finesse in a crock of slow-cooked French lentils as in any la-di-da slab of foie gras pâté. And the kicky peashoot tendril salad, filled with surprises like crispy shallots and creamy goat cheese, is downright ritzy. Handcrafted lamb sausages and lightly breaded pork schnitzel are homier-than-thou, but that’s the point.
TIP: Sign up to be Tuesday night’s guest bartender, and your tips will go to charity.
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 Food Styling: Susan Skoog