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Costa's in Oakbrook - long

dickson d | Jul 22, 200312:48 PM

Must be Greek day. Okay, I have been busy and not posting, but I have been eating, so let me catch up with a few notable meals, and then I think I will do a catch all.

I had posted a couple of times on Greek Islands in Oakbrook Terrace, which I have found very good of late, and it was pointed out nicely to me each time that there is this other place, Costa's, that is also quite good. So I convinced the wife, and some friends to join me a couple of Saturdays ago for dinner and a movie.

Costa's is at the corner of Summit (Midwest) Road and Roosevelt. For those of us with a history in the neighborhood, the building once housed The Flame, an old school steak house, though it has been completely redone. The Flame was a "continental" steakhouse with large booths and a dark, plush atmosphere. Back when my office was in Oakbrook, this used to be a preferred spot for business dinners. Something makes me wonder if the ownership is not the same, but that is just a guess.

Nice bright room, very hopping, "live music" - okay a guy singing with a synthesizer (great range, too, we arrived to new age harp music, and he later went through a wide selection of pop covers). Fun. And the crowd is great. Now I know where the wise guys who moved out to Oakbrook from the near west suburbs, go with their wives or girlfriends for dinner on Saturday. The women tended to favor tight pants, either very brightly patterned capri, or tight blue jeans, and the men went with the casual, gold chain and big ring look. Big hair, a lot of the younger women clearly do the health club, beauty spa circuit, so you get the guy as toad, woman as princess effect. I could go on, but just wonderful people watching.

The food was quite respectable. We started with Taramosalata, Tzatziki and roasted peppers in a light vinaigrette (Peppers Florinis). The yogurt was the high point, though a little strong on the garlic. The fish roe seemed bland, not tangy and salty as it should be - I noted the same thing last time at Greek Islands which causes me to wonder if there is a trend to go for a sweeter, creamier taste, maybe like smoked salmon cream cheese? The peppers were edible, but entirely forgettable, no charring, no good olive oil flavor, just a tang of vinegar. Not unpleasant, but forgettable.

The ladies partook of a seafood pasta special, maybe scallops and shrimps, which I did not try, but they deemed good. The gentlemen ordered the roast leg of lamb special (perhaps it was the atmosphere, it is unusual that any two people order the same things, but both gender pairs duplciated orders this night), which was excellent. Tender, flavorful, rich veg gravy, wonderful browned potatoes on the side. Moist, good lamb flavor, well seasoned, just a stellar rendition of Greek roast lamb.

Desserts were good, but not notable. The Greek coffee seemed watery to me, which is not a term that should be applied to Greek coffee. We had a decent Retsina to start, and a St. George with the main courses. Both good, and priced fairly, I thought.

Sure, it was only one visit, but who I am to hesitate to judge? The ambience was wonderful, the crowd great, worth the admission. The food seemed to be working a mediterranean/continental angle with a Greek focus, as opposed to straight Greek food, perhaps to please the Italian clientele - don't know. Though there is a very good selection of Greek dishes, they are all there. Generally good and sometimes excellent, but not as in your face as most Greek places. Of course, that may just be what we ordered since I did not get stuffed squid, bacalao, fried smelt or skordalia. We will go back after a time, though it was somewhat pricy for what was on the fork (love that phrase). In the same price range as Greek Islands, but I would give the Islands a slight nod for food, Costas for atmosphere.

Costa's (link below)
1S130 Summit Ave., Oak Brook



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