Monday, February 22, 2010

Fantastic Chicago Area Restaurant

Last night I enjoyed one of the best meals I've had in memory. I joined friends at Marion Street Cheese Market in downtown Oak Park for a dining experience I am looking forward to enjoying more often. Oak Park Illinois is western suburb boarding Chicago known for it's Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and as the birth place of Ernest Hemingway. I've spent many an evening and weekend exploring Oak Park during the 6 years I attended graduate school at Dominican University in neighboring River Forest, Illinois. Last night's dinner at Marion Street Cheese Market will definitely keep me coming back for regular visits.

The Market includes a cheese and wine shop/cafe as well as a full restaurant and wine bar. The chef prepares and sells seasonal food from local farmers, breweries and wineries. Last evening I enjoyed cheeses from Indiana, Iowa and Illinois and wine from small vineyards across the US. I liked the choice of selecting cheeses and creating a "cheese flight" which came with Marcona almonds in an organic trail mix and selection of flat crackers and breads. I also tried a "beer flight" and "wine flight", small samples from a variety of breweries and vineyards. My main dish was barrimundi fish served over a risotto cake that was delicious.

After dining your receipt entitles you to 10% off your entire purchase in the shop and I happily bought locally made organic peanut butter, wine, fresh gherkins, cheese and breads. I'm looking forward to going back regularly especially in the evenings for live music nights and for tastings done by local farmers and brewers. The staff was very knowledgeable about everything we ate, where it was made and receptive to any requests we had. The restaurant interior is cozy and modern and we enjoyed our meal in front of the fireplace. If you are a Chicagoan or in the City for a visit, don't miss the Marion Street Cheese Market, it's truly worth an eat.

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