I went into Nicksons Eatery in La Grange with every intention of ordering off the standard menu. In fact, I rarely take advantage of specials, figuring my best odds of an enjoyable meal are with something that the chef makes every day, and has mastered.
But the prospect of a brisket taco was too attractive to pass up. And in this instance, my risk taking very much paid off.
Nicksons' lunchtime menu features a number of salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and exotic burgers. Seeing that they're not content to simply drop a slab of meat on a bun, I was torn between the "cdk family farmed pasture raised burger," which features crispy onion, smoked mozzarella, sriracha mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato on a pretzel bun — or "the nicksons burger," which includes a half-pound of Midwest Angus beef, shredded lettuce, tomato, garlic herb mayo and Wisconsin cheddar on a soft bun.
After the colleague who had accompanied me had placed his order for a shrimp po' boy, our server could tell that I was struggling with my decision.
Technically, this is from the dinner menu , he volunteered. Our special is brisket tacos …
Aha! A special that the chef makes every day.
Relieved to be offered a way out of my conundrum, I ordered the tacos. I was not disappointed in my choice. The savory meat was tender and moist, the corn relish topping complemented it perfectly, and the portion was just the right size — big enough to sate my hunger, but no so large I felt like a glutton. The guacamole and green chile sauces on the side were great options for dipping, too — having a mild and slightly spicy option made for a lively, flavorful experience.
My colleague's shrimp po' boy came served on a large, perfectly toasted bun. It was loaded with fried shrimp, tomato and lettuce, and a tasty sauce. The sandwich came with a choice of sides.
"At first I didn't think I'd be able to finish it all," my colleague said. "But it was so good, I forced myself to clean my plate."
Both meals came with some fantastic fries, perfectly seasoned to be tasty without overwhelming.
Nicksons Eatery, right on the main strip on South La Grange Road, has a welcoming decor with hardwood floors and decorative tin ceilings. It has a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. According to the website, the chef likes to rotate the menus seasonally, so be sure to check online before you go to see what their current offerings are.
Aside from the tacos, the current dinner menu also includes braised beef short ribs, sage and sourdough crusted pork loin, native plank salmon, and a number of other options, in addition to the lunchtime delights.
Ultimately, I couldn't resist trying one of those burgers, too, so I ordered the "cdk family farmed pasture raised burger" to go, and had it for lunch the next day. While it's not generally fair to judge a meal after it's been refrigerated and reheated, it made for a much better lunch than I'm accustomed to when I stay in the office for my meal. As delicious as it was, I can only imagine how much better it would've been if I'd eaten it at the restaurant.
Guess I'll have to go back and find out!
The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Suburban Life Media. The diner's identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. Only positive dining experiences will result in published reviews.
Address: 30 S. La Grange Road, La Grange
Contact: 708-354-4995, nicksonseatery.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Dress code: Casual