You can count on comfort food with an Asian-meets-Southwestern zip in downtown Deerfield thanks to Red Star Tavern. It's all about eclecticism here: country music and understated Texan memorabilia warm the airy, upscale dining room, where children and schoolteachers dine alongside lunching suits.
Kick-start your meal at the massive mahogany bar, where you'll choose from eight bottled or draft beers, an extensive wine and champagne list, and cocktails of the mojito and margarita variety, ranging in price from $4 - $8. Then dig into the chewable courses, beginning with a basket of honey butter and molasses-flavored cornbread, pork potstickers and chicken and andouille gumbo. Lunch and dinner entrees offer a similar smorgasbord of options: blackened fish accented with remoulade sauce, burgers and fries, a California chicken club and an entrée salad dotted with pecans, pears, bleu cheese and craisins. Dinner steps it up a notch with dishes like the horseradish-crusted salmon, sweet balsamic-glazed halibut and Asian noodles with marinated steak. Mix-and-match sides like caramelized onion-garlic mashed potatoes, black beans and rice and sauteed spinach round out any pick. Entrees range between $8-$11 for lunch and average around $16 for dinner.
The portions are huge, but if you still have room for dessert, try the pumpkin creme brule topped with cinnamon nutmeg crust and served with anglasie chocolate sauce. Beware of the old-fashioned chocolate cake: it's large enough to serve four.
If you're looking to have a private party in the 'burbs, look no further: Not only does this place offer a separate room seating 25 guests but the room comes complete with a fireplace.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Colin Douglas