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“A great addition to the area—some room for improvement” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Orom

308 West First St., Dixon, IL
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Ranked #2 of 52 Restaurants in Dixon
Cuisines: Native American, Hungarian
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“A great addition to the area—some room for improvement”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

First of all, to attempt a restaurant of this type in the Dixon/Sterling area is commendable and a welcome player on the barren landscape of deep-fried food and greasy pizza. The atmosphere is also nicely done: minimalist storefront rejuvenation with cool colors, quality table appointments, and interesting artwork. It's an incredibly welcoming space.

The menu is small and well-controlled, and there were 2 specials available on the Saturday night we dined: a salmon dish and a grass-fed T-bone. Our table started with the goat cheese, walnut and honey points and a cajun-style shrimp plate. The goat cheese was mild, creamy, and earthy. It was spread on slices of a nondescript white Italian-style loaf that is also their table bread, and the whole dish came off as something that may serve better as a cook's hello signature bite or amuse bouche rather than a course by itself. The shrimp was well-seasoned and served split in the shell, which is always attractive and amplifies the flavor. However, it was well overcooked and became the harbinger the one major flaw Orom has: overcooking.

Cooking meat for people in this part of the Midwest is a challenge: most are scared to death of natural meat textures or any hint of pinkness. I understand the tightrope Orom probably has to walk here.

The entrees around the table were the free-range chicken, sliced pork shoulder, and the fish special. Each entree included a choice of mixed green salad or soup. The salad was fresh and crispy, and the soup—a sweet potato puree—was the star of the night. Bright, creamy, and perfectly seasoned; I could have eaten a vat of it.

The chicken looked attractive and was enjoyed. The addition of a dark-meat "streudel" as an accompaniment was interesting but also well-received. The fish was a beautiful piece of Alaskan salmon that was, unfortunately, also overcooked to my taste. Again, I understand that most people in this area want to know their fish has been COOKED, but a pan-seared treatment may have been a better option. The corn pancake and glaze were nice touches, although the pancake was a bit bland—I was expecting a round, full corn flavor as a backdrop for the salmon, but it fell far short of that. Carrots and haricot vert were also added, and although crisply cooked, were worked over with a bit too much butter. The pork shoulder was decent, but sliced too thick and presented as overpowering slabs. This dish also could have been improved with the addition of a tangy reduction sauce, as the meat, although tender, exhibited dryness after slicing. The garlic mashed potatoes were very well prepared—something that is often a gummy mess in less skillful hands.

The staff was energetic and extremely friendly, and it's apparent that the chef here is not messing around. This is not quite city-level cuisine and execution, but it's pretty darn close, and for a storefront in downtown Dixon, that's a great accomplishment. I look forward to a return visit as Orom is not only a decent meal, but also a unique dining experience in this area and a great place to share a meal with another couple.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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21 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“What a treat!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

This great little gem is totally worth it! Treat yourself to wonderful cuisine and a unique atmosphere. The chef was amazing and friendly; the best of the big city and your favorite small town all in one place!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oregon, Illinois
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Not Quite”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

I wanted to like Orom. I really did. It is a cute little gourmet bistro in Dixon. Before I arrived, I wondered whether this type of restaurant would work in Dixon. I was surprised at the full house. There are only about 13 tables and a 4-seat bar, so reservations would be crucial. The menu is very small. There are about 6 starters/appetizers and 5 entrees to choose from. The entrees seem to change periodically because the menu on the website was different than the one we received. When we were there it included a chicken dish, pork dish, a steak, duck and a fish option. Sadly, no vegetarian option. My husband and I shared a beet and goat cheese salad starter. It was quite good. Then we both had the chicken dish. Neither of us cared for it. It was probably free-range chicken as the restaurant prides itself on using fresh local ingredients, but it included white and dark and not very well-trimmed pieces. I had to leave about half on my plate because when I order chicken in a restaurant, I generally expect just chicken breast. The dish was well-seasoned, but got tiring after a while. There were no sides to go with it, so it was a large dish of one thing. The other couple we were with were not overly impressed with their entrees either. The salsa that went with the fish was too sweet and the steak was overdone for what was requested. We finished off with a nice piece of chocolate cake. It was the only dessert option, but it was a good finale after the disappointing entree.

My overall impression is that Orom has a good concept and the potential to be a great place. The staff members working the floor were very nice and very apologetic that they were short-handed for the number of tables on this particular night. I just think the menu needs some work. I would suggest adding a vegetarian option like a pasta and putting in a little more attention to detail like what passes for an acceptable piece of chicken, how the steak is grilled, how sweet the accompaniment to the fish should be.

With a little work, Orom has the potential to play in the league of larger city fine dining establishments.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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