Maestro is tucked away in an industrial park where you'd never expect to find a restaurant, much less one of its caliber. The restaurant/bar is reached by a steep flight of stairs adjoining a massive building that used to be an airplane hangar back when this site was Northbrook's historic Sky Harbor Airport.
The bistro-style room is casual, comfortable, and attractive. We visited at lunchtime. In addition to the regular menu, there is a list of $8.00 lunch specials. Compared with their regular lunch and dinner menu prices, this is a terrific value. Specials include a cup of soup and a soft drink, but salad can be had instead of soup.
On this visit, the cream of mushroom soup was velvety and rich. Lentil soup also received high marks. The parmesan croutons in the soup were so tasty that our table begged for - and received - more. Salads were fresh and brilliantly colored. A fried calamari appetizer accompanied by two dipping sauces equaled Tuscany's or Maggiano's in quality.
All entree platters, whether lunch specials or not, were generously portioned. The panninis we sampled were topnotch, their perfectly crisped breads bursting with meat, veggies, cheeses and condiments. The sandwiches were accompanied by fries and a petite salad. Others in our group marveled at the breadth of pricier but well-executed entrees including Chilean Sea Bass with Hawaiian salsa, Seafood Paella Valencia, enormous pork chops, and a pasta of the day.
Though stuffed, a few brave souls decided to share the "Super Duper Ice Cream." The cutesy name makes us wince, but this sundae turned out to be unique and fun ... hey, just order it!
Similar to Zhivago's in Skokie, Maestro's owner and staff are Russian, but the food is American and Continental, with a flair. Service is friendly and attentive.
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