SOUTH BARRINGTON – What if one of those country-style highway restaurants decided to upgrade to a fine dining experience?
Well, chances are a chain restaurant trying something like that wouldn't fare too well. But if they did manage the impossible, it would probably look something like the Millrose Restaurant in South Barrington.
I was part of a trio looking for dinner after a day spent perusing the booths at the Barrington Art Festival. We had a tasty lunch at the festival itself, but by dinnertime we were headed south and looking for something a little more upscale.
By the time we reached Interstate 90, the sign that had most captured our interest on Barrington Road was for Millrose, so after a quick U-turn we found our way back to the South Barrington eatery.
My companions wanted to check out the attached shop, Rose's Country Store, which gave me time to put in a reservation for dinner. I don't know for sure that the reservation was needed, but by the time we ate there was a good crowd, so reservations are probable a good idea.
The shop is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside, with many appealing items. We gave ourselves plenty of time to browse before our reservation slot, so we were truly ravenous by the time we settled in to eat.
Bread and a crudité plate arrived swiftly, and an appetizer order soon followed. We opted for the sampler, since our tastes varied and it was the surest way to make sure everyone was pleased. I particularly enjoyed the sausage and the stuffed mushrooms, but everything in the sampler was terrific. I'd definitely recommend it.
For entrees, I chose the chicken Milanese, while one of my compatriots chose the pecan walleye pike and the other chose the swordfish off the specials list. Our waiter was glad to suggest which wines would best pair with our meal selections, and we were happy to take advantage of his recommendations.
It's safe to say that all three meals went over like gangbusters. I was a big fan of the way the mozzarella and red pepper accompanied the flavor of the chicken, and the lemony spinach was especially tasty. I might have to see if I can replicate that flavor at home.
My companions were just as pleased with their choices. These entrees didn't stand a chance against our appetites.
Believe it or not, we somehow found room for dessert, too. We placed orders for the pistachio pie, the kahlua lava cake, and the milk chocolate bourbon pecan pie. I really enjoyed the pecan pie immensely, and the other desserts were soon polished off, too.
Millrose was built by William R. Rose, owner of Rose Packing Company. The structure was created by combining six 125-year-old barns into the restaurant, banquet rooms and the country store. It all adds up to a unique and highly enjoyable dining experience.
The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Suburban Life Media. The diner's identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. Only positive dining experiences will result in published reviews.
Where: 45 S. Barrington Road, South Barrington
Hours: Closed Monday; 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Breakfast served from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sundays.
Dress code: Signage says short-sleeved shirts not allowed, but that doesn't appear to be strictly enforced.
Info: 847-382-7673, www.millroserestaurant.com