DEKA Review - A North Shore Restaurant You'll Revisit Time and Again

First impressions are everlasting. When my husband and I went for dinner to Deka, a French Brasserie in Wheeling, we were initially delighted by the simplicity and elegance of the dining room. Beautiful oil paintings by local artists appear on every wall adorning the white-tablecloth tables. Navy drapes with crystal beading add to the restaurant’s allure. Romantic background music played soothingly in the background.

Take a seat at Deka

As we were later told by co-owner Alex Vaysman, the large, smartly appointed room contains seating for only 100 dining guests, but the artisan-made wooden tables are situated far apart so that you don’t hear other diners’ conversations. That was the first clue that we would be sharing a romantic dinner for two, which was my intention.

 

Unfortunately, the last time we dined at an upscale restaurant, my husband and I had to repeat our sentences over and over to be heard.  Not so at Deka: we had our conversations all to ourselves!

Vodka

 

Before we glanced at the extensive menus, drinks were in order. Told that Deka offers the largest vodka selection on Chicago’s North Shore, with over 50 varieties from around the world, my husband decided to join the vodka drinkers in the separate bar room. I didn’t see him for about 20 minutes, so I assumed he was having some fun time. Meanwhile, I had a delicious vodka designer drink with a sprig of thyme for decoration. It was called Autumn, and had an eclectic combination of vodka, fresh lime juice, raspberries and peach bitters.

 

LAVA FILLET

The menu is 95% French with a 5% touch of Russian influence. The menu was created by Chef Michael Richie, who had been trained by the award-winning owner of the beloved Le Francais, Jean Benchet.

 

Oysters

Honestly, the menu offers many choices and I went with our waiter’s suggestion. Benjamin suggested Chicken Pelemeni, which is chicken-filled dumplings with shaved fennel and red pepper coulis for my husband.  I was more daring and oyster shooters, which was a first for me. Each Atlantic Oyster was served with a hint of one of their specialty vodkas. Both dishes were delicious.

 

Muscovy duck

For the main course, we chose Rack of New Zealand Lamb and Veal Cutlets. These dishes may sound like the traditional foods we’re used to, but they were uniquely prepared with spices and rubbings which help create memorable meals. And I had tough decisions to make as our waiter also suggested the Chilean Sea Bass en Papillote, Maple Leaf Duck Breast and Frenched Veal Chops, which all were house favorites.

 

Scallops

Deka is what I call a progressive restaurant, which means it goes beyond simple dining pleasures. There is Friday evening entertainment, video slot machines in a Vegas-style lounge which, I imagine, are great for younger diners (and older ones too) who might grow restless at the tables, and a Sunday Brunch which has over 50 food items. And you can make your reservations online, which makes the restaurant dining experience simpler. There is also outdoor patio dining for 75 during warmer weather.

 

Caviar and blini

All in all, we dined there, never once feeling rushed while we had a relaxing, delicious meal.  One thing we know: diners will never get tired of the extensive menu as it truly is cooked by masters of the kitchen.

Deka is located at 401 East Dundee in Wheeling. For more information check the Deka website

Photos: Courtesy of Deka

 

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