WHERE: 93 S. La Grange Road, La Grange
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
DRESS CODE: Casual
INFO: 708-469-7058, www.prasino.com
The western suburbs are full of amazing, unique restaurants, and La Grange has become known as a dining destination. Still, there aren't many places like prasino, located just across the street from its sister restaurant, the beer and gastropub haven called Wild Monk.
Restaurants like prasino abound in big cities, where culinary trends gravitate toward sustainable, seasonal and local with chef-centric menus appealing to a foodie crowd. A dish is displayed simply and beautifully, all of it just begging to be Instagrammed (of which I'm guilty).
The word "prasino" means green in Greek, and the restaurant takes the sentiment to heart, focusing on ingredients that are organic and hormone- and antibiotic-free. On the menu is a key that identifies the letters next to food and drink items to let diners know what's vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
My dining companion and I began our meal with a pan of absolutely outstanding, fresh and delicately flavored mussels. I love mussels – I know not all do – but if you want to give them a spin, prasino is a good place to try. The mussels are steamed in the pan, bathed in a white wine, garlic, butter and herb broth, where the garlic does not overpower, and the flavor is light and rewarding. The grilled bread is smokey and great for soaking up all the flavor.
For our second course, we decided to try one of several flatbread offerings on the menu. We went for the farm flatbread, made with a blend of cheeses, sprinkled with chives and drizzled with truffle honey. If you like honey in your Greek yogurt, you'll like this. The creamy and sweet combination works well together atop cracker-thin flatbread that's perfectly crispy on the edges, with just a little chew in the center.
Before moving on to the final course, I'll take a moment to discuss the cocktail menu at prasino, which, like everything else, exceeds expectation. We ordered two: the urban and the germain and juice. The urban, made with rye whiskey, St. Germain, apple juice, lemon and Baked Apple bitters was a little on the sweet side for me, but I like my whiskey beverage full flavored. For most, it would be just right. I definitely would go back to this cocktail on a crisp fall evening.
The germain and juice (Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain, grapefruit, lemon and agave) is a perfect summer cocktail. Before the season is over, I will attempt to recreate it to impress my friends. It's sweet, a bit tart and not too heavy on the gin.
A filling meal already had been had, but we split a lobster roll anyway, and I'm glad we did. It comes on a sizable hunk of brioche-style bun grilled on both sides and split down the middle before being filled with buttery, lemony lobster – prasino doesn't skimp.
The menu is well varied, with tempting steak, salmon and chicken options – even maki sushi rolls. Since we went with cocktails, we didn't dive into the lengthy list of wine choices either, nor the well-rounded beer offerings. I've heard buzz about the breakfast menu too.
There's always next time, and there will be a next time, perhaps brunch, with a Bloody Mary. Definitely a Bloody Mary.
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.
(To view the Mystery Diner's photos taken at prasino, go to http://shawurl.com/qtn; visit its website at www.prasino.com.)