For many years Wheeling and Milwaukee Avenue were known as “Restaurant Row”. Think back to the old days of Hackney’s, La Francois (the best of the best), Toppers, Hans Bavarian Lodge, Billy and Company ( all memories of yesteryear) and of course Bob Chin’s that has made it through all the years. Many of the great names of dining and others that did not make it. Toppers is one that I recall from my youth. We drove out to the Northwest suburbs from the city to dine on the great bar-b-que. For many years they were strong and then went out leaving behind a beautiful facility. Cy’s from the city- Steak House and Crab House took residence on Milwaukee Avenue and then due to the economic situation, left us as well. A “wheeling landmark” was gone.
Well, friends, let me spring forward in time to the present day, and this location at 301 N. Milwaukee Avenue. First of all, it is no longer Wheeling, but in fact Buffalo Grove, and the building has been renovated to a whole new concept in family dining- Grill on the Rock is the name and Isaac I. Yoon is the President of this amazingly different, and healthy way of doing BBQ! While many of us are used to doing the Japanese Steak House “thing” where the chefs cook at our table with some great antics, Grill on the Rock is more of a Korean Fusion dining experience with some super flavors and tastes.
On Labor Day, we dined at this restaurant with our friends, Casey and Barry. We had never experienced anything like this, but after coming from a movie with popcorn and treats,we were only able to partake of a few of the dishes they offer. We enjoyed the meal but felt that it would be even better to have the full experience, so we went back tonight to do just that. Our original idea was to eat from the menu of “Dishes From The Kitchen” where the food is prepared back in the kitchen and just served asin any other restaurant. In reviewing the menu, we all decided that since the house was built on the concept of having your food cooked “on the rock”, that would be the better way to go- we did and enjoyed it from start to finish!
At this point, I need to say a special thanks to our server, Sunny. A pure delight who certainly has a disposition equal to her name. In fact, it appears that every employee of this restaurant has a positive attitude and they all shine at exceeding the expectations of every diner. This is something special in any dining room, anywhere. We began our meal with some mini-egg rolls, Jopchae ( a tasty noodle made from potatoes that caused a bit of conversation between Casey and Barry) and a seafood pancake (baby shrimp,calamari, mussel and imitation crab with scallions, green peppers and a flour and egg mix) that was divine.
While we were enjoying this and our house salad and soup, the grill/table began the warm-up to become our” Grill on the Rock “. . We enjoyed with great satisfaction the BULGOGI (marinated tender Rib Eye), KALBI (marinated short rib with bones) and BULGOKI (Steak) and the Rib Eye steak as well. On our first visit we enjoyed the Brisket (thinly sliced) and the Seafood Combo, also prepared with vegetables on the grill. We did top off our dinner with some green tea ice cream which truly hits the spot. I forgot to mention that we also had rice (both white and brown) to go along with our dinner. I will also say that the second visit where we came in wanting a complete meal was a much better experience for all of us.
The only negative to the experience is that the table bottom is the bottom of the grill and when sitting close to the table, you might hit your knees on the metal. They should alert the diners to this as they are seated. That being said, no one in our party had any injuries or even came close, just noticed it. The experience is one that is worth the trip to Buffalo Grove (even though you may think it Wheeling), but be aware that they have some different hours for a restaurant.
Monday thru Friday 11 am- 2:30 p.m.301 Milwaukee Ave., Buffalo Grove,IL60089
4:30 pm- 9 p.m.
Saturday 11 am- 10:30 p.m.
Sundays CLOSED ( that is strange, BUT Mr. Yoon feels that families should be together on Sundays, including his employees and their families. Great attitude. I just hope it does not hurt him in the long run.
They are open on holidays and special occasions ( I think on those that fall on Sundays will allow for being open). To call and make reservations call 847-777-1234 or email@example.com.
To read more about this unique dining experience, visit www.grillontherock.com
I am glad to see that someone has taken over this famed location and brought something that allows us to have some great food at fair prices ( our meal which can easily be shared ) with wine and tea came out to around $37 per person and we had some of the choicest of steaks one could imagine.
photos courtesy of Barry Segal