The fabulousness of Michigan Avenue's Grand Lux Cafe is no accident. When owner David Overton decided to open the restaurant, he first spent months canvassing the cafes of Europe, noting the ornate atmosphere and giving special attention to dessert. Grand Lux's 2002 debut made good on his travels, incorporating the grandeur of the Old World with emphasis on marble tables and floors, hand-blown glass fixtures and intriguing mosaics.
Foodies and finicky eaters alike will have no trouble selecting from Grand Lux’s extensive multi-national cuisine. A round of applause goes out to the buffalo chicken rolls with chicken breasts, cheese and homemade buffalo sauce rolled into a spiced wrapper and fried. Veggies speak highly of the meatless wild mushroom burger, stacked with portabella, shiitake, cremini and button mushrooms blended with garlic, cheese and thyme. For something a bit more exotic, try the Pacific-inspired Indochine shrimp and chicken, packed with jumbo shrimp, chicken, onions and ginger sauteed in curry, plum wine, and cream topped with cherries and apricots. A staggering number of salads please those looking for a lettuce-filled lunch.
Since Grand Lux is owned by the same people who brought us The Cheesecake Factory, dessert is an integral part of the experience. Unlike Cheesecake Factory’s dizzying pages of selections, Grand Lux offers fine-tuned dessert options (all of which have to be ordered before the meal as they take 30 minutes to prepare). The molten chocolate cake oozes chocolate over vanilla ice cream. A take-home box of a baker’s dozen chocolate chip pecan cookies are possibly the best use of $5.95.
Those who prefer liquid sweets should indulge in the Grand Lux Margarita with Hornitos tequila, Cointreau and Grand Mariner, hand shaken with lime juice. Mojitos dot the dining room pretty prevalently as well.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright