Sunday, August 26, 2012
The Baker and I headed to Chesterton, IN one afternoon last week. Our destination was an early dinner with our friends at a restaurant we'd been hearing good things about.
The Octave Grill at 137 S. Calumet, Chesterton, IN opened about three years ago and was an immediate success--so successful that one either arrives early (it opens at 3 p.m. most days) or has a wait since they don't take reservations.
It's small, twenty or so tables, and narrow. I was told that it was actually an alley at one time. At some point, the town decided to erect a front and back and turn it into a building that eventually housed the Octave Grill.
I thought the name was a musical reference. It isn't. The name honors Octave Chanute (1832-1910), a French-born civil engineer and champion of the invention of the airplane. If you click on the above photo, you can better see two of his "machines" that he came to the Lake Michigan dunes to test. Chanute's "crafts" proved to be influential on the designs of the Wright brothers. Chanute Air Force Base (now decommissioned) in Rantoul, IL houses a museum dedicated to him and the history of military aviation.
The daily specials are colorfully displayed on a large chalkboard.
We opted to share an order of the perch cakes appetizer. It was a delicious choice! Fresh lake perch is combined with peppers, onions and seasonings and served with a dill caper tartar and ancho-chile sauce. The taste is pure perch lightly enhanced by these additions.
I was seated facing the kitchen. Bad choice in that I wanted to try every dish that passed by me! However, we had come for a burger and a burger it was to be. All of their burgers are made with 6 ounces of grass fed beef and cooked to order. The Baker's burger was a tasty combination of meat, cheddar and aioli.
I am a hamburger purist. Good beef, grilled to medium. Regular mustard on a toasted bun. Onion, raw and sweet. Dill pickle. I had to make a slight concession. They had no raw onion. They were able to provide a very nice delicately pickled onion that still had a bit of crunch and I was happy!
The men enjoyed one of the beers on tap. The restaurant has an excellent selection. Jane and I opted for wine.
We ordered a piece of toasted lemon poundcake topped with vanilla ice cream and a warm berry sauce and asked for four spoons. Those spoons were put to such rapid use that I failed to get a photo. It was delicious!
If you finish dinner before sunset, head over to the Indiana Dunes and watch the sun go down over Lake Michigan.