Highly Recommended **** When Jane was having her knee surgery at Lake Forest Hospital, every day she was there , I drove past a building that had a sign saying Lake Forest Club. I assumed it was a private club of some kind for the residents of Lake Forest. Recently, I was invited to see this club which is undergoing some changes and to perhaps do a review of the dining room which is called 554 North ( the actual address of the facility on Westmoreland in Lake Forest). Since it is a private club, I was a bit shocked to have them ask me to write about the facility and of course the dining room, but after being there and seeing what the Lake Forest Club is all about, I understand why!
This is not what we call a “country club” as there is no golf course. It is a great place for family fun and entertainment with some wonderful dining as well. Being April, the pools are closed, but I can imagine the summer fun of dining out on the patio as the swimmers do their thing and we get to watch. There are also tennis courts and other outdoor activities to go along with the great food and social atmosphere created by the management of this facility. After all, everyone does not play golf!
As Jane and I entered the dining room with our friends, the Steinbergs, we were greeted by Andrew, the dining room manager and escorted to our table. With the sun setting, they closed some of the shades to make our experience one of pleasant viewing. The dining room is adjacent to the cocktail lounge/bar where large screen televisions were bringing the sports teams of Chicago to those who desired to partake. With both Chicago baseball teams off to a fine start, it made the bar scene one that felt good, and isn’t that what one would want at “their club”?
Our waiter, James made us very comfortable as he went over the wine list, the vast menu and the specials of the day. Chef Luke’s spring menu is delightful and offers a great variety of choices. Our small plates (appetizers) were Guacamole (made to order) served with warm white corn tortilla chips that were not salty. A treat and as you know, Janie loves guacamole. We also partook of the Angus Beef Sliders (aged cheddar,fried onion and kosher pickle on a brioche bun) delish! The third item was the LFC Nachos- smoked chicken, melted cheese, black beans, scallions, fresh avocado and cilantro-lime crema. There was plenty for four of us, with some to take home as well.
We skipped the salads, but they looked great as they were brought to other tables and as we perused the menu. We also bypassed the great assortment of sandwiches selecting a sour entrees the herb grilled Cobia ( a delish fish in a rich sauce with Brussel sprouts). We also ordered the Coffee crusted beef short ribs served with grilled asparagus and bread pudding (this was my favorite dish of the evening) and the bacon wrapped crab stuffed shrimp (to die for!) with creamed spinach and for the final item, the pork chops, done to perfection with veggies and mashed potatoes. The menu is much larger with pizza and pasta and grilled cheese so the kids will be happy as well.
The desert menu is not huge, but for those who have a sweet tooth, they have a special (we had the apple cobbler ala mode) and the Fudge Brownie with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and cherry- my sweet tooth was in heaven. They also have sherbet or ice cream for the purists and regular sundaes and shakes. We had the pleasure of meeting Chef Luke who came out to say hello and spend some time with us as we waited for our deserts. He loves what he does and we could see that. Larry’s son, who is a chef himself and my granddaughter, now in culinary school, have shown us that someone who loves cooking wants nothing more than to spread that happiness to those who eat whet they prepare (or create). The evening was a delightful experience.
You may ask, since this is a private club, why a review? Well, the reason is simple! They are expanding their menu and building a more family type atmosphere. In other words, they are reaching out to the younger families of the North Shore and the facility is available for parties and family functions. If you are looking at a club for your family- one that has sports lessons, tutoring and activities for you and your kids, you can arrange a tour for your family by calling the manager at 847-420-0082 or visiting their website www.lakeforestclubfamily.com. There you can see the many activities available and if this fits what you are looking for, learn more. It was an easy drive from Deerfield and a wonderful experience for the four of us.