From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, November 9, 2017
We had the opportunity to celebrate our dear friend’s monumental “29th” birthday this past Saturday night at the newly-opened Michael Jordan’s Restaurant
in Oak Brook.
It seemed like a perfect time for this columnist to go a different direction and get out of my comfort-zone. There have certainly been pieces in the past that I’ve written on restaurants and their owners, but this is a shot at my first review, with a twist.
We had an ideal 7:30 p.m. seating time with enough room built-in to stop at the basketball icon’s massive 90-seat bar for some libations. The atmosphere was electric and packed, but we were in luck when an upright table opened up just in the nick of time. Looking through the menu, the rhubarb bitters caught my eye as an interesting (but risky) ingredient for a signature cocktails. So I gave the “Twisted Manhattan” a whirl. The jumbo ice cube was drowned with the delicious concoction that I could never had made on my own, and was made perfect by the two scrumptious cherries garnish. The others in my group had a spattering of martinis, while the boys enjoyed their Pipeworks, Ninja Versus Unicorn freshly drawn from the keg.
Having grown up in the MJ era, and witnessing the two three-peat championships of the Chicago Bulls, it wasn’t hard to gawk at all of the photos of His Airness. There were plenty of photos of Michael for sure, but to me, it seemed subtle compared to the greatness he achieved. So when we were escorted to our dining area, I took my time to study a few of the photos that had never been made public.
The cocktails were doing their job, so by the time we were seated, this group was hungry. As another round of celebratory drinks were served, we put in our order of appetizers. The big appetites and eyes led us to two orders of Nueske’s double-smoked bacon, a couple orders of their ultra-rich, signature garlic bread with blue cheese fondue, a Wagyu meatball with a tomato gravy, served with grilled ciabatta, and prepped tableside, the 23-ingredient chopped salad (subtle hint).
It was a feast. The bacon was probably favored by most, and was quickly devoured, but the birthday girl fancied the meatball.
By the time the starters were being cleared, the realization of over-ordering was becoming apparent, and the talk around the table was turning to sharing, and ordering light. That was about the time when our waitress swished the three-pointer, and began sharing the chef specials. We had three “yes’s” for their seared sea scallops, and I chose the medium rare, wet-aged Petite 8 once strip steak accompanied by three scallops. The surf and turf was a perfect choice, given the amount of decadent consumption that had already taken place. If we were at The Hall of Fame, football coach Mike Ditka’s
place, I would say to go for the 30-ounce bone-in Tomahawk rib eye. But we’re dining at a place the star of the movie Space Jam owns (how my children know him), and if you want to soar and fly higher, go a little lighter.
The icing on the cake was actually a cake with a candle and a song with Michael Jordan himself making an appearance. Did you know that he’s a tenor and carries a lovely tune?—Well, not this time, but maybe at our next visit, we’ll see Michael hanging out in the bar of his namesake restaurant.
Overall, the food was delicious, the service was what you would expect in fine dining, and the décor was perfect for anyone living through the victory years. I loved the experience of celebrating our friends there. I give it two thumbs up—or maybe a restaurant review should be stars; I give MJ’s five stars.
From the inside cover of the menu:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan
Mike is a Clarendon Hills
resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history
. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.