NSML April 2016 : Page 140

FOOD & DR INK g ui d e MEAT YOUR MATCH Braised pork stuffed inside arepas with slaw and salsa verde ($9) suckling pig. 7931 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, 847.674.8100, libertad7931.com $$ Little Ricky’s Rib Joint Get your rib fix at this local family hot spot in the heart of Winnetka. The bar is usually hopping— rare in the ‘burbs—and everyone in your party will find something to love on the well-thought-out menu. 540 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, 847.784.1444, littlerickysrestaurant.com $ Longitud315 At this hidden gem in Highwood’s restaurant row, you’ll find South American fusion food served with genuine hospitality. Start with the to-die-for housemade plantains with chimichurri sauce or the Patagonian montaditos—toasted bread topped with grilled tomato, goat cheese, anchovies and Argentinian chimichurri sauce. 315 Waukegan Ave., Highwood, 847.926.7495, longitud315.com $$ LYFE Kitchen The all-star team behind this fast-casual spot makes healthy, nutrient-rich cuisine that actually tastes good. Each meal is under 600 calories with gluten-free and vegetarian, and vegan options alongside a menu of smoothies, wine and beer. 1603 Orrington Ave., Evanston, lyfekitchen.com Market House on the Square The revamped Lake Forest stalwart on Market Square serves up regional American classics, such as meatloaf and pot roast, using locally sourced ingredients in a leather and wood club room atmosphere. The adjoining MH Express offers a full range of carryout items. 655 Forest Ave., Lake Forest, 847.234.8800, themarkethouse.com $$ Merlo’s Italian Restaurant Ravinia’s newest Italian eatery embraces Italian tradition straight from the chef ’s own grandmother. Portions are generous with a well-stocked wine list to complement each dish. Try the crispy yet moist brick chicken that’s sauteed under a cooking stone or the popular roasted Brussels sprouts with capers, bacon, shaved red onion, Parmesan cheese and lemons. 581 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park, 847.266.0600, merlosrestaurant.com $$ Miramar Bistro The decor may have a Cuban feel at this Gabriel Viti eatery, but the cuisine leans more toward classic French bistro. Try a signature mojito at the lively bar or book a private party in the back room. Three varieties of steak frites are all-time favorites. 301 Waukegan Ave., Highwood, 847.433.1078, miramarbistro.com $$$ Mickey Finn’s Serving classic American fare, this Libertyville favorite is the perfect place to enjoy a laid back night out. And with its own in-house micro-brewery, that evening won’t be complete without a brew in hand. 345 North Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, 847.362.6688, mickeyfinnsbrewery.com $ Milwalky Trace Named after the Native American trail that once linked Milwaukee to Chicago, Milwalky Trace charms on so many levels. From its thoughtful, rustic decor with sepia-tone photos of historic Libertyville to the messy-in-a-good-way food from chef and partner Lee Kuebler. The menu changes frequently, but right now we’re loving the crispy chicken drumsticks with black-eyed peas, salsa verde, grilled leeks, delicata squash and parsley. 603 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, 847.530.7172, milwalkytrace.com $$ Napolita With a wood-burning oven from Italy and ingredients sourced mostly from Italy or else seasonally local, Napolita is looking to be the fourth area restaurant to earn the prestigious Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. With or without the seal of approval, the pizzas are thin and crispy with an interesting menu of classic and cool toppings. 1126 Central Ave., Wilmette, 224.215.0305, napolitapizza.com Nieto’s The former Carlos’ Restaurant is now an American grill and wine bar, offering dishes such as lobster cobb salad, build-your-own burger, half roasted chicken and old-fashioned chocolate pudding for dessert. Private event room available. 429 Temple Ave., Highland Park, 847.432.0770 $$ The Noodle This tiny cafe is always packed—a testament to the freshly made pasta and sauces— but don’t miss out on the soups or non-pasta entrees. 708 Twelfth St., Wilmette, 847.251.2228, thenoodlecafe.com $$ Norton’s Restaurant The friendly, lively atmosphere of this casual eatery caters to families, couples and sports enthusiasts. When Hurricane Isaac struck New Orleans in 2012, Venezuela-born Benoit Angulo sought refuge in the Windy City with his partner and La Cocinita food truck co-owner, Rachel Angulo. Four years later, the Wilmette duo has leapt into the brick-and-mortar world with the opening of La Cocinita Restaurant in Evanston. An extension of its vehicular siblings, La Cocinita serves Latin American street food, like stuffed cornmeal patties called arepas. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will appreciate the range of tacos ($8 to $10), including a sweet-potato and black-bean taco with roasted garlic crema, cilantro purple cabbage slaw and cotija cheese. Also, Angulo will use his expertise as a sommelier to develop cocktails and wine pairings. Salud! 1625 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847.332.1625, lacocinitarestaurant.com –Alaura Hernandez TRUCK STOP are complimentary at this restaurant that tastes and feels like traditional Mexico. You’ll find old favorites as well as specials like King David’s quesadillas. 431 Temple Ave., 847.433.5550 and 2014 First St., 847.433.7400, Highland Park, lacasadeisaac.com $ La Macchina Cafe With an Italian owner who still travels frequently back to Italy to see his family and to get new menu ideas, this restaurant’s strengths are, of course, its pastas, but don’t overlook the piadina—a flatbread married with Italian cheese, meat or a combination. Lunch salads are light and delicious, and the restaurant always has specials. 1620 Orrington Ave., Evanston, 847.425.1080, lamacchinacafe.com $$ Lao Sze Chuan Evanston Restaurateur Tony Hu brings a taste Szechuan cuisine to Evanston, offering favorites like dry chili chicken and twice-cooked pork. Just be warned: spicy means spicy! 1633 Orrington Ave., Evanston, 847.868.8989,, tonygourmetgroup.com $$ Libertad The eclectic cuisines of Latin America are spotlighted at this neighborhood spot with small plates that include scallops with black rice, braised duck with housemade chorizo, and poblano tempura with goat cheese, wild mushroom and epazote. Or, if you’re in the mood for an adventure, opt for the fork-tender 14 0 NS S P R I N G 2 0 1 6

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