Dan McGee Restaurant & Catering

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Owner/Chef McGee donned his toque from Paris to Peru, and in downtown Chi-town from Swissotel to Charlie Trotter's,. But alas, he was called back to the southern 'burbs where his large Irish American family raised their brood. Don't let the strip mall setting dissuade you from checking out this 46-seat gem. Tom Nahabedian (who designed his cousin's city space, Naha) chose sleek colors of chocolate and slate blue to give diners a setting of urban chic. The contemporary American menu changes at least seasonally, if not more often. Standout appetizers include risotto cakes stuffed with Fontina and lump crab cakes ringed by roasted red peppers, wild mushrooms and rosemary oil. Soup poured tableside is a nice touch; try the wild mushroom version with a fat, stuffed agnoletti and earthy 'shrooms. McGee uses wild fish exclusively (none farm-raised) for entrees such as the honey Dijon-glazed salmon with wild rice and grilled swordfish on Mediterranean eggplant stew. Steaks, poultry and a pasta dish round out the menu. Desserts also transform as the seasons do, so fall and winter bring a lovely pumpkin creme brulee or a chocolate truffle cake served warm. At the bar, patrons can watch the kitchen antics through a window, while the wine list checks in at 50 bottles, nearly all from the Americas.