Longtime Oak Brook restaurant’s fresh take on seafood
Bacon-wrapped shrimp with mashed potatoes
For a variety of reasons, many restaurants find themselves treading water just to get through their first year or two.
So when a fine dining establishment finds itself going strong after nearly a decade, the dining public takes note. One such venue is Reel Club in Oakbrook Center, a Lettuce Entertain You property.
A recent dinner there quickly confirmed that Reel Club continues to operate on more than an even keel.
The wait staff is on the ball and Executive chef James Woodfork’s simple yet sophisticated menu focuses largely on fresh fish and seafood and made-to-order sushi rolls. The kitchen also appeases landlubbers by offering a handful of steak and chicken dishes.
Still-warm cheddar cheese popovers were brought to the table. But be forewarned — these tasty morsels, a house specialty, can be addictive.
Our meal started with a shared order of grilled calamari. The perfectly cooked squid went well with a balsamic glaze, a mild giardiniera and arugula.
Other available appetizers included Maryland shore lump crab cake, Gulf shrimp cocktail, seared sesame Ahi tuna and Alaskan King Crab cocktail, among others. Soup fans will want to consider a cup or bowl of New England clam chowder or seafood gumbo.
Rainbow trout, grilled to perfection, got a flavor boost from a lemon vinaigrette and candied pecan garnish. However, a side of roasted green beans could have lingered for a few more minutes in the skillet.
Meanwhile, a fellow diner relished his entree: Block Island sea scallops — eight beauties in all — gently roasted and served with an asparagus risotto with shaved parmesan.
Greek-style preparation is another option offered by Reel Club. The kitchen will grill or broil such fish as Chilean Sea Bass or Lake Superior Whitefish with olive oil, lemon and herbs served over long-grain basmati rice.
Still other specialties include seafood salad, grilled Mahi tacos, ginger-glazed Atlantic salmon and a Greek-style mixed grill.
A selection of familiar desserts — from lemon meringue pie to salted caramel pie to chocolate mousse cake — are all made in-house. The traditional New York cheesecake met expectations for something sweet but not cloying.
Reel Club’s beverage menu covers a lot of ground, too. The eclectic mix includes both artisan beers and well-established brands, signature cocktails and wines sold by the glass or bottle. Cocktails are blended from premium house-infused liquors, fresh fruits and herbs.
The restaurant, done up in mellow earth tones, has a contemporary feel that’s warm and inviting. Guests sit at cozy booths or strategically placed tables and chairs.
A special hats-off to the attentive staff for its top-notch service.
Food is served daily at lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and happy hour.
272 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook
Grilled calamari, rainbow trout and roasted sea scallops
Starters: $7 to $17
Fish: $28 to $56
Sandwiches: $13 - $21
Mon - Thur: 11:15 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Fri - Sat: 11:15 a.m. - 10: 30 p.m.
Sun 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Valet parking ($4)