Jul 4, 2011

A Commoner Reviews Stockholm’s in Geneva, Ill.

When you’re traveling as a commoner, sometimes the most memorable experiences come from discovering places you never intended to find.  Such was the case a few weeks ago, as Gypsy and I made our way home from Lake-in-the-Hills, Ill., and made an unexpected stop in Geneva, Ill., at Stockholm’s.  

We found ourselves in historic downtown Geneva while meandering through Chicago’s far west suburbs.  The city is nestled on the Fox River, and the downtown features a good variety of specialty shops, antique stores and restaurants.  I can see many a Chicago resident taking advantage of the scenery and shopping in Geneva and nearby St. Charles for a weekend getaway.     
Somehow, we found ourselves in the heart of downtown on a Sunday afternoon, and since we were feeling particularly hungry for a late lunch (or early dinner), the façade of Stockholm’s on State Street looked especially inviting.  Ok, maybe I was a little thirsty, too.  It may have influenced our decision to stop.  Plus, it looked open and had a decent amount of traffic compared to other shops nearby. 

As it turns out, one reason for the traffic was a beer tasting they were hosting in the beer garden behind the pub.   Stockholm’s is apparently just as well-known for being a microbrewery as it is for being a restaurant.  Since we arrived midway through the tasting, we decided to sit indoors and concentrate on lunch.   Actually, I concentrated on the Sunday $3 flights special, so I could sample some of Stockholm’s brews.  Gypsy opted for another special, a $3 bloody mary.  They were very good deals, made even better by the quality of the drinks.  Gypsy reported her bloody mary was quite delicious (though not quite as good as my recipe … maybe they didn’t have any Clamato to throw in them?).

Like other brewpubs I’ve been to where you can order flights, each one consisted of five 4-ounce samples of a different microbrew.  My personal favorite was the “Blend of Silk,” a combination of their honey brown ale and raspberry-flavored wheat ale.  My flight steered toward the lighter ales and pilsners and was perfect for quenching a thirst on a warm summer afternoon.   However, I considered their complete selection of mircobrews to be quite impressive, ranging from a porter and bitter ale to the aforementioned pilsner and raspberry wheat beer. 
Source:  Stockholm's website.
The décor inside looked like your classic pub with long bar, table seating toward the back and smaller round pub-style tables toward the storefront window.  Gypsy and I sat toward the front to watch the world go by. 

But to me the most impressive part of Stockholm’s was the diverse menu and quality of food.  By the time I ordered, I was already planning my next meal here, and I have no idea if I’m ever coming back.  The menu literally had something for every taste.  The entrees leaned toward the Italian and seafood, but you could also order a good steak dinner.  ON the lighter side, appetizers, wraps and sandwiches covered a wide range of pub fare, from the typical wings to pot stickers, to shrimp tacos and build-you-own burgers. 

Sometimes such a far-reaching menu means a place specializes in nothing, resulting in everything being mediocre.  That was NOT the case based on what we ate.  Being a sucker for everything New Orleans, I ordered the New Orleans wrap.  It was more than enough for lunch and came stuffed to the gills with breaded buffalo shrimp and crawfish, perfectly seasoned and complemented with a spicy bistro sauce that reminded me a bit of a classic remoulade (I’m betting that’s what they were going for anyway).  All together, it was a delicious choice.
Gypsy opted for the beef tenderloin salad and the bowl it was served in practically covered half of our table.  I challenge you to tell me this doesn’t look delicious.

Yes, that’s three types of berries, blueberry Stilton cheese, candied pecans and perfectly grilled (at least according to Gypsy) steak tenderloins.  Despite the excellent quality of my food choice, I was jealous the whole time staring at this salad.  What can I say?  It’s tough being a foodie, sometimes. 
So, while Gypsy may be more interested in returning to Geneva to check out the shops (and perhaps network for her jewelry business), I know I’ll be looking forward to our next visit to Stockholm’s. 

No comments:

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...