Happy New Year, 'hounds. Thanks for the kind words, RST. Welcome back, Harry V.
1. I had an adequate $20 solo supper at Greek Islands in Lombard last evening. The high point was the dessert of yogurt with honey and walnuts, a beatific blend. The entree octopus kikonisti (sp?), octopus simmered in nutmeg-tomato sauce, was heartening but not exciting, giving me the feeling I had at Greek Islands on Halsted last month of being served food that has been on the stove pretty long and/or tamed for the general public's palates. Are there any restaurants serving Greek food with strong, fresh flavors?
300 E. 22nd, Lombard, 630/932-4545
2. Public Landing in Lockport is housed in an historic limestone building along the I&M Canal. The restaurant was founded by the owners of Tallgrass but is now in different hands. My wife and I ate there a week ago with two couples visiting from out of town, and everything--food, service, price, table--conduced to a satisfying evening. The food is competent regional American: good corn muffins, lamb, filet mignon, bread pudding. The atmosphere is Williamsburg-like without being cloying. Lockport and neighbor to the north Lemont are being drawn from Des Plaines River valley isolation into the metro sphere; 'hounds who find themselves in the area might want to try Public Landing, perhaps for lunch--the daylight view of the adjacent historical park-ette is fine. I'd like to hear comments about Public Landing.
200 W. 8th, Lockport 815/838-6500 (The restaurant is one block east of Lockport's main intersection, 9th St. and Rt. 171, and downhill south toward the Amtrak tracks. Rt. 171 is Chicago's Archer Ave.)
3. Cucina Aversa is a small, modest joint which has been open for six weeks on Jefferson St. (Rt. 52) in Joliet. I mention Cucina Aversa because owner-operator Aaron Aversa formerly cooked at Public Landing and at Courtright's in Willow Springs and because C. A. serves promising made-to-order pasta and Italian sandwiches on a main drag despoiled with every fast-food franchise. You can eat in, but the interior is charmless. Aaron likes to talk about his food, though, so ask him.
2210 W. Jefferson, Joliet, 815/725-5883 (Sunset Plaza, south side of Jefferson St. where Springfield Ave. dead-ends)