The Graceful Ordinary - St. Charles
The Graceful Ordinary in St. Charles is described on their site as “a traditional tavern with a fresh twist: new, and yet familiar, which also describes our menu; prepared on an open hearth, we call it ‘rustic refined.’” In the kitchen is Chef Chris Curren, formerly of Fulton Market Kitchen, Seven Lions, and Blue 13, who serves up food he describes as "comfortable yet very refined."
One of the refined comfort foods on the menu is a roasted chicken, and Curran's version includes a wood-roasted breast, along with a fried leg and thigh, sided with collard greens and jus, enhanced with earthy truffle. The Waldorf salad gets a lot of added dimension from smoked grapes, pickled apples, candied walnuts, and smoked vinaigrette -- it's a lot more interesting than your traditional WS and no less satisfying.
Also on the very focused menu is a carpaccio...with a difference. Unlike beef, the usual protein in this preparation, Curren uses...octopus, which is a cool variation on a traditional theme. The popular and delicious cephalopod is amped up with lemon puree, chili oil and pickled mustard seeds.
The Cajun Marinated Pork Chop comes with Hoppin' John (a downhome recipe of peas, onions, chopped bacon and rice), along with lemon caper butter sauce, and herb salad; it's comfort food, enhanced.
The Wood Roasted Dry Aged Ribeye Steak is dressed to advantage with accompaniments including smoked cauliflower puree, seafood croquette, red chimichurri, a daring combination of flavors.
St. Charles is a drive of about 50 minutes for many Chicagoans, but as Curren mentioned to Restaurant Hospitality, "“We think the suburbs are truly going to have their moment… with so many people relocating to the area from the city in the past year in particular, Megan and I have always known there was incredible potential for this type of dining in St. Charles,”
In case you were wondering, the website explains "In Colonial times, the town tavern was called the ordinary. It was more than a place to drink and eat. It was a place to connect and collaborate, or relax and celebrate, with the community. This is our version, refined."
Believe us, it is.