I was visiting my parents in the suburbs a few months ago and they took me to Bistro 22 on the corner of Ela Road and Route 22 in Lake Zurich. I am a city girl and generally know better than to venture out to the suburbs looking for unique and interesting food. Usually, the local options involve some sort of chain restaurant like a Biaggi's, or some small bistro with a chef who has eyes and tastes that are a little bigger than their minimally trained skill level. Bistro 22 was different. I have been there about 3 times in the last 5 months or so and have been impressed every time. From their Bouillabaisse to their Beef Tenderloin, all have been flavored to perfection with excellent ingredients. They have a unique menu option that they call Lumiere Selections. These are smaller portioned servings of some of their best entree offerings. Personally, I think these are the perfect size (especially for women), but I can understand the owner's desire to appeal to the "Hungry Man" suburbanite who often rates a restaurant by the number of belt notches s/he need to adjust after eating there. With the lumiere portions, you can really enjoy a several coursed meal. I recommend getting a salad (the Lyonnaise is my personal fav while my parents swear by their caesar) or a starter, and saving a little room for dessert such as the creme brulee trio or the house made ice creams.
Decent wine list with diverse offerings. Knowledgable bar staff who are eager to help you find the perfect pairing or just to recommend you experimenting outside of your comfort zone (which for my father means any wine produced outside of California).
There is a catch, however, in that the ambiance is a little different from the norm with a modern build and contemporary decor. Depending on where you sit in the restaurant, it can feel very intimate, or you can feel like you are on a stage. Also, if the restaurant is very busy, it can get loud in there as the decor minimally includes sound absorbing items like rugs/carpets or wall tapestries, etc. The sound issue is slightly resolved on Saturday nights when they have a talented accoustic guitar player come in and strum some elegant and ambient chords that fill the space and yet keep things quiet and calm.
If you want to check it out on a weekend, I recommend making a reservation, otherwise, you can usually get a table during the week without one. Worst case scenario, you eat at the bar where the staff is friendly.
500 Ela Road, Lake Zurich, IL