27 July 2007
Michael Lachowicz is, as would be no surprise, the boss at the restaurant that shares his name. Michael is located on Green Bay Road in Winneta and offers well-priced French cuisine. Lachowicz honed his skills under the tutiledge of the masters (Jean Banchet and Roland Liccioni) at the Chicago area's original home of haute cuisine, Le Francais. Michael is a great spot that offers fine dining priced below your typical four-star Chicago dining outpost without skimping on all the bells and whistles that come with haute cuisine.
The menu has few vegetarian options. However, we had called ahead and the staff assured us that veggie options would in fact be available. After making a comment about the shortage of vegetarian options on the menu, a jovial man at the next table guaranteed us that the chef could do great vegetarian food. That jovial man turned out to be none other than chef Michael Lachowicz.
The staff was equally as friendly and helpful as Lachowicz, deftly explaining the food and drinks while providing great, timely service. The wine list is Gallic-heavy, but it is balanced with a great selection of fairly-priced international options that compliment the beautifully prepared courses.
My starter course was a chilled tomato vodka soup (pictured above). The cold soup was refreshing on a hot summer day, and provided an herbal undertone that followed through on the rich finish. The vegetables in the center of the soup provided a great textural contrast to the silky smooth tomato base.
My main entree was a special order not featured on the menu, but the staff actually gave me two different options that fit my strict vegetarian world view. Lachowicz prepared a selection of grilled vegetables prepared with a mushroom risotto, garlic mashed potatoes and a cold gazpacho-like sauce as a garnish. It was outstanding.
The after dinner menu features a number of classic desserts as well as a library list of dessert wine, cognac, armagnac and calvados. The selections are very good, and like everything else on the menu, well priced.
This is the type of restaurant for people on the North Shore who want top-notch cuisine but don't have the time to drive downtown to get their fine dining. They can even spend the money they saved at dinner from Michael on lunch the next day. Great food, great price, great deal.