Sunday, October 6, 2013

Glen Prairie

While you do have to travel further between them, there are some good restaurants that are located in the suburbs.  I went to visit friends in Lombard recently and we went to Glen Prairie which is located in the Crown Plaza Hotel in Glen Ellyn.  The space has elements of modern and classic with beam ceilings and hanging lights.  The tables are round and the chairs are padded and look to have some prairie style elements.  The restaurant specializes in local and seasonal cuisine.  Having said that, my appetizer was a bit of a stretch on that front.  I had Shrimp and Grits with Neuske's Bacon and a Honey Glaze.  I will grant that the grits, the 2 year aged cheddar that was used in the grits, the Neuske's Applewood Smoked Bacon, and the honey used for the glaze all very well could have been local, but the shrimp was definitely a salt water variety and Illinois is definitely not on the ocean.  I like shrimp and grits although I once had a dish at Mindy's Hot Chocolate that I now compare all Shrimp and Grits to.  While this dish had shrimp, grits, and bacon as shrimp and grits is expected to have, most dishes are buttery and served with a brown gravy.  Glen Prairie's shrimp and grits are buttery and cheesy but the honey glaze used makes the dish different enough that I couldn't really compare it to the other versions of shrimp and grits that I have had.  I will say that the dish was very good.  The grits were creamy, cheesy, and buttery, the shrimp was cooked perfectly allowing it to have a good chew without the rubberiness that results when shrimp are overcooked which is not uncommon.  The bacon was flavorful and chewy as I would expect of well cooked Neuske's bacon.  The homey glaze threw me off a little though because with most versions, they will go savory and this one went sweet.  The glaze did go well with the rest of the dish and brought out the sweetness in the bacon and shrimp.

For my entree, I went with the Espresso Rubbed Pork Tenderloin topped with Spicy Peach Chutney, and served with Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Caramelized Cauliflower.  The tenderloin was well cooked and juicy but the primary flavor of this was, like the shrimp and grits, sweet.  The espresso rub on the tenderloin did provide some moderating bitterness and the spicy chutney was a little spicy as should be expected but the whipped sweet potatoes and carmelized cauliflower contributed to the prevailing sweetness of the dish.  This was not just what I chose either.  While there did seem to be some savory dishes on the menu, it seemed if there was a way to bring out or emphasize sweetness, it would be done.  I can understand some logic to this because sweet is the first flavor that people learn and like, most people's palates do grow beyond being simply liking sweet and so I think that this plays things simple.  

I will make an exception for sweet for those things dessert.  Dessert should very definitely be sweet (although not simply sweet).  For my dessert I ordered a Creme Brulee served with Seasonal Berries which, at this time of year, were Blueberries and Raspberries.  The blueberries and raspberries were fresh and provided a little tartness and the the custard was creamy and sweet.  This would have been a great creme brulee if the crust had been evenly caramelized.  I like my creme brulees with a substantial crust and in the center it was definitely there but the edges were definitely on the thin side.  Overall it was good but it would have been great if they had gotten the crust even.

Overall, I did like my meal here.  It was good but not great and they seemed to take the simple route on most dishes by giving everything at least a sweet edge.  I like the fresh and seasonal theme and the restaurant has a nice look but if they could make improve the dishes by aiming for a more complex flavor profile.

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