The Stained Glass

Open since 1999, this Evanston favorite has not lost a step; actually, it gets better each time I go. Owner Victoria Fonseca and Chef/owner Victor Hernandez create a delightful dining experience. The menu is filled with delectable choices – so much so that it is difficult to choose. My solution? I return again and again.

Favorite appetizers include the Alaskan King Crab Salad, served with a smooth and savory ginger-carrot panna cotta. The flavors literally dance in your mouth. I’ve also enjoyed the Surf Flight, a tasting of three raw preparations: Halibut Ceviche with Avocado; Tuna Tartare; and Salmon Salad. For vegetarians, I recommend the Red and Golden Beet Carpaccio, accompanied by frisee, baked goat cheese, and poached citrus fruit – a wonderful combination. I’ve never been disappointed by the Lamb preparation; this month it is an Australian Rack of Lamb served with chanterelle mushrooms, mint pesto, and an unbelievable Parmesan and White Truffle Creme Brulee. The Wild Alaskan Halibut was cooked to a turn and served with arancini (risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella), slightly bitter broccoli rabe, and a cherry tomato confit.

Even if you didn’t save space for dessert, you’re going to have to make room… it’s that good. The Chocolate “Cubed” Dessert was presented on a long rectangular plate that drew interested stares from every table it passed on the way to ours. A Chocolate-graham Cracker Tart with burnt marshmallow topping, mini chocolate dome in a tuile cookie, and a small chocolate milk shake really hit the spot. Loved the Lemon-Lime Plate with tangy but sweet lemon cheesecake, mini Key Lime Pie, and a Fresh Berry Coulis – very refreshing and light.

But perhaps the crown jewel at The Stained Glass is their wine service. They have a huge cruvinet that keeps 32 wines fresh to pour by the glass, and a dozen wine samplers to choose (or mix and match) from, with a special wine carrier to ensure that the glasses stay in their assigned order en route to the table. These wines are also available by the bottle, and are but part of a much larger wine list. The servers are particularly knowledgeable about the wines, and especially helpful with food and wine pairings.

So stop by for a glass of wine and their fabulous charcuterie plate at the bar, or bring friends and share a delicious meal. You might have to come back a few times just to work your way through the menu, but it will be worth it.