Eat: Cooper’s Hawk Winery + Restaurant

Cooper’s Hawk Winery + Restaurant is a mid-west based upscale chain restaurant which began in a south suburb of Chicago in 2005. It boasts a private on-site winery at each of it’s locations and flies in grapes from vineyards and crushes them on-site to make some tasty homemade brews. Most of it’s locations are in the suburbs of Chicago, but it also has a few other midwest locations in Indiana, Missouri,Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as in Florida.

I’ve heard tons of great things about Cooper’s Hawk but haven’t had the opportunity to dine there before. Last week, JP and decided to have a celebratory lunch marking her first day as an official strictly full-time nursing student.  We’ve had mixed feelings and worries during this whole process, and it was great to just have made a great decision for the both of us and celebrate her focusing on her schoolwork and personal well-being for the next year. After bouncing around several dining ideas, we settled on Cooper’s Hawk because it was somewhere we both wanted to try.

When we arrived, we walked right in the front entrance, which is a winery/tasting room. Wine bottles line the walls and patrons are trying blends and making purchases at the counter. We had to walk through this area to get to the hostess table, where we were promptly greeted and seated at a 4-person table in the middle of the dining room. Our waiter was super chatty, but knew a ton about the restaurant, wine options and food pairings.  We selected a bottle of the Moscato to have with our dinner – we love sweet white wines (ok, I love sweet white wines and I think JP just goes with what I like). It was super sweet, but really tasty and I’m pretty sure I had most of the bottle. Yum.  We also received a roll of the hot pretzel bread and butter to start with.

Moscato

Moscato

For an appetizer, we selected the chicken al pastor stuffed mushrooms. I love anything that has to do with mushrooms and when they’re infused with Mexican spices, it’s even better. We received four plump white mushrooms, with grilled chicken, chilies, sour cream, avocado and more stuffed into their little rounds. The chipotle tomato sauce was extra delicious, and our waiter kept telling us to dip our pretzel bread into the sauce. I tried it. It was ok. But I was over the moon for the mushrooms and could have eaten about 10 of those little guys. Really tasty and the creamy sour cream and avocado finished them off perfectly.

Chicken al pastor stuffed mushrooms

Chicken al pastor stuffed mushrooms

For our entrees, JP picked a steak with mashed potatoes which was mixed with butter and oh so creamy in the mouth, and steamed broccoli. I chose the Life Balance ahi tuna tacos and a cup of the chicken fajita soup. I’m glad I picked the soup because the portion on the tacos was ultra tiny. If I had not had the mushrooms and bread, I would have been starving after lunch. The good news is those tacos are waist-friendly with only 442 calories to the dish. There are three tiny tacos stuffed with pico de gallo, sriracha cream, avocado and ahi tuna over a bed of Asian slaw. It was ultra tasty and even the slaw tasted great mixing an Asian-inspired flavor with the Mexican flavors of the tacos.

Life Balance ahi tuna tacos

Life Balance ahi tuna tacos

Overall, we were really full after our meal and loved everything about it. Tasty food, friendly wait staff, delicious wines. It’s a bit pricey so it’s something to save for a special occasion – or don’t eat everything off of the menu like we did!

Celebration smiles!

Celebration smiles!

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