La Grange's dining options worth the drive

January 25, 2010 4:48:17 AM PST
They're called "bedroom communities," places like Western Springs and Glencoe, where most people take the train to work. La Grange would fall under that category too. But don't underestimate the dining options there, especially three that are worth the drive. Franklin Cossitt would be proud. The wholesale grocer incorporated La Grange in 1879, naming it after a town in Tennessee where he was raised. One hundred thirty years later, local residents have plenty to celebrate, including the addition of three new restaurants offering plenty of delicious alternatives.

This bedroom community has always had its share of restaurants, but few dynamic independents. Yet for the past three months, authentic Northern Indian food has been served at Kama Indian Bistro, just across from the train tracks.

"The dishes that other people are preparing are old fashioned. We are doing the authentic way; the way it's supposed to be done. The way I have been having food all my life," said Vikram Singh, owner of Kama Indian Bistro.

All of the garam masalas -- or spice blends -- are created from scratch. Red chili and yogurt are used to marinate giant shrimp, while whole pomfret is rubbed in ginger, tumeric and garlic paste. Even the "chilly crispy potatoes" seem as unlikely as whole, diced lobster bathed in garlic, onion and cream.

"A lot of things we do here is fresh, in-house and done in a way that my father thinks is the right way to do it. Stuff that you will not see outside. That's why it changes a lot," Singh said.

Just a few blocks South, Q BBQ is harnessing the best of several regional styles taking an almost zealous approach to slow-cooking over hardwood.

"We took the Memphis style dry rub, we took the Carolina succulent pulled pork, and Texans are fanatics about brisket but we also 'qued it up a notch and added our little flair to it," said Michael LaPidus, owner of Q BBQ.

Combos are the way to go and homemade sides of mac 'n cheese, barbequed baked beans and slaw are stellar. Memphis wings are brined, rubbed, smoked and fried, while the Texas smoked sausage is simply delicious. Four homemade sauces keep your options lively.

Across the street, Prasino is a complete departure, not just for La Grange, but the entire region. Recycled cardboard light fixtures and wood reclaimed from Sportsman's Park give it eco-green credentials.. while the food is just as clean: tuna tartar topped with chunky guac and grilled veggie flatbreads with an abundance of organic items.

"We do our best to provide people with organic food we follow sustainability, we're eco-friendly. We follow the journey dozen-hormone free, organic, using less pesticides," said Peggy Maglaris-Coplay, owner of Prasino.

Miso chili-glazed black cod is from a sustainable source, while the braised short ribs get a thick blanket of wild mushroom and red wine sauce. There's even a juice bar, which stays busy for three meals everyday.

"We're super people! We're here, breakfast, lunch and dinner and because we love what we do we don't even think about it," Maglaris-Coplay said.

Prasino is in the process of opening its second location in St. Charles and Q BBQ is also looking at opening another location closer to the city. So maybe La Grange will become the next incubator of great restaurants?

Kama Indian Bistro
8 W. Burlington Ave.

70 S. La Grange Rd.

93 S. La Grange Rd.
also opening soon in St. Charles