Monday, December 7, 2009


Inovasi is promoted as a casual, contemporary and American restaurant. Inovasi opened in the space that was once held by Holly’s at 28 E Center Avenue in Lake Bluff. I stopped in for a quick lunch and was delightfully amazed at how remarkable the food was, especially for the price.

The lunch menu features a number of sandwiches and salads, all for around $10. My roasted Walleye Pike Sandwich was served with grilled zucchini, organic tomato, thai chile-black truffle mayo on a soft brioche roll. The combination of flavors was delicious. The only negative that I can say is that the sandwich had a bit too much truffle mayo on it for my taste and I should have ordered the sauce on the side. Other than that, I felt the quality of the food was exceptional. I know at least a half dozen foodies who will love this place. It’s now high on my list of places to go and would be hard pressed to find a better restaurant for the price.

John des Rosiers is an established and innovative chef who is not afraid to experiment and says that his creativity almost always works. He is a product of Gabriels in Highwood and Charlie Trotters so it is no surprise that the dining room was full. As always, I checked out the food ordered by the guests around me and I must say that I could have ordered any of their dishes as well. All of them looked really good and had a beautiful presentation.

Next time you are in the mood for a drive, or a train ride from the city (Inovasi’s is one block from the Lake Bluff station), stop in at this charming restaurant. Inovasi makes fine dining feel less formal despite the white tablecloths. The staff was friendly and the service was good.

The dinner menu features entrees from $10 -$16 and my next trip will include a sampling of the seared diver scallops, marinated in middle eastern spices, brown butter brussel sprouts, grilled shiitake mushrooms and persimmon sauce. I hate to ask them what’s on their menu for dessert!

Bon Appetit!