I live in Oak Park and was invited to check out the new Cooper's Hawk location on Lake Street. This was greatly anticipated by the community, as we don't have many close options for wine tasting in the neighborhood. I have been to Cooper's Hawk before, in South Barrington and Burr Ridge, and enjoyed the experience of tasting through their wines and found the food to be very good.
I took my wife and we started out in the tasting room. It is really welcoming with a large L shaped bar, staff ready to help, televisions for sports viewing in the bar, and tons of wine chatchskis for purchase. When we started tasting, I was startled by the amount of different wines Cooper's Hawk had in their personal portfolio: Sparkling, Sparkling Rose, Moscato, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay (both oaked and unoaked, and a premium Lux brand), Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Lux Pinot, Barbera, Merlot, Malbec, Zin, Cabernet and Lux Cabernet, Lux Meritage, Tempranillo, "Super Tuscan" (Sangiovese based blend from Tuscany), Cotes du Rhone, and Shiraz. I tried a few of the wines and found the Sparkling Rose, Pinot Gris, Barbera and Super Tuscan to be quite good, plus the Cotes du Rhone collaboration with Jean-Charles Boisset was excellent as well. Some of the other wines were in the mediocre category, but definitely worth a taste.
In The Barrels
Enjoying some Cooper's Hawk OP!
We later shuffled over to our booth and ordered our food. After speaking with the GM and our Waiter, we found that the restaurant employed over 200 staff members, mostly comprised of the surrounding neighborhoods of Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and Austin Chicago. That is a huge bonus for the community. Back to the cuisine, the tuna tacos are an excellent starter with nice Asian/Mexican fusion flavors. My wife loved her chicken entree but I found my NY Strip to be slighly overcooked (I ordered it Medium Rare) and kinda flavorless. I am unsure where the beef is from, but I would go GrassFed as it tends to have loads more flavor. Our dessert was delicious, the Key Lime Pie, which was our waiter's fav.
All in all, it is a great addition to the 'hood and a fun time whether you are a wine club member or a casual diner. I will definitely go back to sample the new wines!