Elevated farm fresh fare in the heart of La Grange
Lamb rack with foraged mushrooms
You can tell it’s a good dining experience when the patron at the table next to you gets up and hugs her server — who she’s never met before — thanking her and the chef for a delicious meal and attention to detail.
After eating at Fourteensixteen in La Grange, you might be tempted to hug the staff, too. The restaurant prides itself on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, inventive fresh foods, and handmade cocktails. It’s also a standout for impeccable service and an inviting atmosphere.
You can find your own corner of comfort at Fourteensixteen, which offers dining and a full bar on the main level, an intimate area on the second level, and a third-level rooftop deck complete with lush, colorful planters, strings of patio lights and a view of downtown La Grange. In summer, the rooftop view offers glimpses of sunsets that are an Instagrammable backdrop to one of Fourteensixteen’s signature drinks, like a Sumo Collins, a Margarita Awareness or The Hoff, a likely homage to La Grange’s native son, actor David Hasselhoff.
Chef Bret Bohning’s fare infuses the elusive “wow” factor into stalwart Midwest ingredients. A meatball appetizer is rustic yet hardly basic, thanks to the blend of Wagyu beef, Parmigiano-Reggiano, bone marrow and Bordelaise sauce, which mops up nicely with slices of ciabatta bread.
Another starter offers up perfectly cooked scallops served with lobster polenta, ham hock, pork belly and a touch of serrano pepper. Midwest ingredients shine in other creative appetizers, like frog legs prepared with ramp, garlic, lemon and a touch of nasturtium and, yes, even pig ears turned delicate when gently prepared with cabbage, sweet chili, scallions, pea shoots, lime and cilantro.
That’s just the beginning. Soups and salads are a similar showcase for seasonal ingredients, like a beet and baby kale salad with goat cheese and pistachios and a cherry gazpacho topped with goat cheese, basil and yogurt.
A hallmark of the main course menu is an assortment of wood-fired steaks that can include hanger, flat iron, filet, culotte, and New York or Kansas City strip cuts. The steak selections rotate weekly and are typically served with fingerling potatoes and a small pitcher filled with a Bordelaise sauce so flavorful that it invites double dipping.
Bohning does a masterful job with other proteins, too, such as walleye served on a bed of chopped asparagus blended with morel, knob onions and garlic; “green circle” chicken in a rosemary-lemon jus; pork tenderloin plated with cauliflower, marbled potato and bordelaise; and venison with a hint of licorice that complements subtle pea and asparagus flavors. Those who prefer plant-based foods can choose from a hearty cauliflower prepared with grape, mint and capers or ravioli filled with fiddlehead fern, pea, morel and ramp.
Switch flavor gears for dessert. The key lime pie is topped with coconut cream, a colorful macaroon and a small scoop of raspberry sorbet. Chocoholics will love the salted candy bar dessert — sumptuous chocolate ganache embedded with shortbread biscuit and almond nougat that makes you wonder if you will ever look at a store-bought candy bar the same way again.
Contact: 14 W. Calendar Ave., La Grange, 708-469-7896 www.1416lagrange.com
Recommended Dishes: Scallop starter, Green Circle chicken, wood-fired steaks, lamb rack
Cost: Starters: $10 – $25, Soups & salads: $6 – $11, Entrées: $14 – $58
Hours: M – F, 4 – 9 p.m., Sat & Sun, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4 – 9 p.m.
Extras: Full bar, weekend brunch, rooftop alfresco diningEdit Module