I spent a couple days in the Chicago area last week and had a wonderful meal at Antico Posto in Oakbrook Center.
Yes, this is a Lettuce venue, but it was surprisingly good. Actually, I usually expect LEYE places to be at least pretty good, sometimes great (obviously--Ambria, etc.). But I had kind of soured on them after a bad experience at Scoozi a while back and mixed results at a couple others. (Not to mention the fact that a friend of mine, an observant Jew who was once a manager for the corporation, was fired for refusing to taste something with pork in it. True story.) Also, I'm a former restaurateur and I tend to prefer independent joints.
My wife and I arrived at Midway airport last Saturday evening famished after traveling. We had to drive out to Ottawa, Illinois, for a family get-together, but didn't have to be there for a while, so we decided to have dinner. Oakbrook was not very far out of our way.
I am sure that part of the pleasure of the experience had to do with the fact that Passover was just ending as we walked into the restaurant. We had been on Passover vittles for a week--no bread or anything else leavened; nothing with flour; etc. The wait was an hour but the bar had room. We sat down and ordered baked goat cheese with crostini and tomato sauce, fried calamari, and two wonderful big ol' martinis. It was just the right thing at the right time.
Pretty soon our table was ready. We ordered the fish special, a crusted, paneed whitefish filet with a terrific lemony cream sauce perched on sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes, along with an assortment of gnocchi and some chianti. It was delicious. Good bread, olive oil on the side seasoned just right (not too heavy-handed)--what a lovely meal.
We spent $82 including tips. It was worth it. I'd go back.