Oceanique Re-launches With New 25th Anniversary Look And Menu

For 25 years, Oceanique Restaurant in Evanston, Illinois (505 Main St., Evanston IL; 847-864-3435) has been quietly and steadily amazing a large, loyal following of food and wine enthusiasts by offering one of the best fine dining experiences in the Chicago area. Those in Chicago's culinary circles know that owner, Chef Mark Grosz, is one of Chicago's finest. But this quiet and intimate restaurant, which has been content to be a highly successful best kept secret in the North Shore, has decided to celebrate its 25th anniversary by telling Chicagoans its story with a little more Chicago-style bravado.

The timing couldn't be better. Oceanique has just undergone a complete re-design, from ceiling to floor and everything in between. Gone are the traditional country French furnishings and fixtures with their soulful, homey countenance. In their place is a light, airy, stylish and contemporary new look. There are fewer tables than before, making room for comfortable banquettes. Tables, chairs, table settings and lighting all form a new and cohesive atmosphere that brings out the beauty of Grosz's food while adding even more comfort and style to the Oceanique experience. Guests also may notice that Oceanique has actually reduced the number of seats in the restaurant to make it more comfortable and roomy.

Oceanique's new look is more contemporary, lighter and airier," says Wine Director Philippe Andre. "We've created a brighter and more dramatic ambiance with new lighting that makes our tables-and Mark's amazing food-almost glow. But we haven't lost any of the intimacy and casual congeniality that has been our trademark since the beginning. In addition, we've have added some new dining options including a brand new small plates menu for the bar area."

Over the years, this North Shore dining destination has quietly garnered a steady stream of acclaim as one of the area's best restaurants. Since 1993, Oceanique has been ranked as the number one seafood restaurant in the Chicago metropolitan area by the prestigious Zagat Guide. Oceanique's wine program is also world class, and attracts wine aficionados from throughout the Chicago area. Every year since 1994, Oceanique has earned Wine Spectator Magazine's "Best of" Award of Excellence. The magazine has declared the wine list as one of the world's 750 best.

Longtime regular customers are pleased that Grosz's approach to the seasonal cuisine has remained basically the same, yet Grosz is confident that new customers will find the experience to be very contemporary. "Our food has always evolved, never staying the same," says Grosz. "The evolution of my culinary style stems from my travels around the world, where I've experienced wonderful dishes from a wide range of cuisines. When Oceanique started, it was primarily a contemporary French restaurant. But over the years, our food has become much more international. We have always used the finest local ingredients and that certainly won't change. We also love to draw upon on the interplay of fresh herbs to create interesting flavors and textures-that also won't change. But in today's menu, you'll find more ingredients that are global in nature; we particular like to draw upon Asian ingredients."

Oceanique has introduced a new small plates-focused menu for the bar area to satisfy the cravings of Oceanique's guests who wish to opt for a lighter, more casual meal, the restaurant has introduced a new Bar Menu, which features shareable small plates that can serve as accompaniments to the wine, beer and cocktails or can be combined to form a delicious, value-priced light meal.

"The bar menu features shareable small plates to satisfy guests who aren't in the mood for a full, multi-course dinner," says Grosz's wife and partner Renee Andre. "We


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Cindy Kurman or Lee Barrie
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