BURR RIDGE – Lunch at Cooper’s Hawk? As a wine lover, it wasn’t hard to convince me. Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant has become known for its wide selection of wines and its carefully paired menu of modern American comfort food.
On a particularly lovely afternoon, I set out with a friend to the location in the Burr Ridge Village Center, and opted for a table on the patio. I ordered a glass of the housemade sangria, a delicious wine punch loaded with fresh fruit and served chilled, perfect for the sunny summer day. My companion chose an equally summery peach wine, which she described as fresh and light – sweet, but not syrupy. It is one of a variety of fruit wines produced by Cooper’s Hawk.
We whet our appetites with a starter of Mexican Drunken Shrimp, which were wrapped in bacon and served with fresh guacamole and a butter sauce laced with lime and tequila. The guacamole took center stage, fresh and delicious, pairing well with the saltiness of the crisp bacon.
We shared two entrees, opting for beef and chicken.
The Chicken Giardiniera was lightly breaded with panko crumbs and Parmesan, and its crispiness held up well to the vinegars and oils of the fresh giardiniera that topped it. The flavors were lovely, not too spicy, and the thought occurred that this combination would make a delightful sandwich.
The Short Rib Risotto was a satisfying combination of creamy carnaroli rice, tender boneless short ribs, and a rich and flavorful wine sauce melding mushrooms, sweet onions, shaved Parmesan and white truffle oil. I’m a sucker for any roast meat with the perfect sauce, and this certainly fit the bill. A sublime comfort food, it almost made me hope for fall weather.
I should mention that every single item on the Cooper’s Hawk menu includes a suggestion for one or more of the wines. It’s a great guide, and choosing a glass this way only enhances the culinary experience. The extensive menu tempts with seafood, chops, pasta, sandwiches, salads, a calorie-conscious collection and gluten-free dishes.
At Cooper’s Hawk, the desserts are as homespun and classic as the dishes themselves. The chocolate cake, filled with layers of chocolate mousse and ganache, was outstanding – a decadent treat without the heaviness some full-size desserts impart. The crumbled apple pie was not a slice, but rather a whole personal pie, capped with a flourish of crust and drizzled caramel sauce. Both dishes were served with vanilla ice cream, and definitely sized to share.
All in all, this was a wonderful lunch filled with deliciously satisfying food and great wine. I noticed an extensive children’s menu that offered classic kid fare, but also some alternatives to the typical chicken fingers and pizza that were clever, but no less approachable for the young ones – chicken pot stickers, pasta with homemade meatballs, junior filet medallions.
Founded in Illinois, the enterprise has several suburban restaurants, including a Naperville location. Each includes a Napa-style tasting room, full bar, gift shop and venues for private and corporate events. The combination makes Cooper’s Hawk an ideal destination for a family celebration, lunch with friends, or date night. Cheers!