Before I get into the pure awesomeness that is Pinstripes, let me set this post up by giving you a brief rundown of what happened prior to me getting to the establishment. I was supposed to cover an event on the ROOF of a certain hotel and had the worst experience imaginable with a horrible doorman. It was a bad situation and I just decided to leave before I lost my composure. Safe to say, I was in an awful mood and there was no way anything could stop me from fuming. I was in such a bad mood I thought I should maybe stay in the rest of the night because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy anything else, but I had reservations at Pinstripes (I had never been before) and I didn’t want to break them at such short notice.
I’m getting more personal with this post because I want you to truly understand how much I enjoyed Pinstripes. By letting you know how terrible my evening had been prior to walking in the doors, I want you to imagine how great a place would have to be to make my day feel like a success, Pinstripes is that great. For those who are not familiar with Pinstripes, it’s a 40,000 square foot dining and entertainment venue that features a bistro with Italian/American cuisine and wine; bowling and bocce; a year-round outdoor patio and fire pit; and event space that can accommodate 20-600 people that’s perfect for anything from weddings to birthday parties. Yeah I know it sounds like a bit much for one place to offer, because going in I felt the same way.
My night started in the Bistro, which had me nervous because usually when a place has bowling or any kind of entertainment the dining aspect can sometimes be underwhelming, not here. My party of three started off by sharing a Margherita Pizza that was to die for. The crust was perfect, crispy exterior but buttery and soft on the inside, it was so good I almost ordered another one for my personal entrée. If you’re not into pizza as much as I am and would like a more traditional starter, they have a bunch of choices ranging from fried mozzarella to a jumbo lump crab cake. I would have tried one of the other starters, but after the pizza I was too curious to see how other things tasted on the menu, so I went with Cindy’s Roasted Chicken on the recommendation of our server, Hector Martinez, who was top notch.
Hector was probably one of the best servers I’ve had in a restaurant, he really was extra attentive to not only me but all of his tables, I could tell that the Bistro put a lot of emphasis on service, which is always appreciated. Even the manager on duty, Daniel, was bouncing around making sure everyone felt comfortable and were enjoying themselves, it was a breath of fresh air in a time where some restaurants feel they are doing you a favor just by letting you in. If you happen to head to the Oak Brook Location (7 Oakbrook Center Mall), make sure you say hello to Daniel and Hector.
The bottom line is the service isn’t the only thing great, the food was remarkable. It seriously tasted better than food I’ve had that cost three times as much in other restaurants. Besides my Cindy’s Roasted Chicken, I tasted a bit of my tablemates’ entrees (Chicken Club and Spicy Chicken Sandwich), and I enjoyed it all. I have to give kudos to the chef because I am not a fan of corn, but I rather enjoyed sweet corn that came as a side with my dish. Then came my favorite part of dinner, dessert. I try to stay away from desserts at restaurants, but I was pleasantly surprised with everything else that I had to try some. We ordered three desserts for the table; Cookies and Gelato, Apple Pear Bread Pudding, and Caramelized Cheesecake. It was magical, I posted the pictures I personally took of the desserts below, but my terrible phone pictures will never be able to convey how amazing these treats were, you have to just try them for yourself. As a matter of fact, a thousand words can’t sum up how good the food is at Pinstripes’ Bistro, eating is truly believing. I didn’t get a chance to taste the wine but the list is extensive. I’ve only given you a small sample of the menu, to see the full menu for yourself, click here.
After dinner and stuffing myself with a ton of food, I definitely needed to work some of those calories off. At Pinstripes you have the choice of either Bocce or Bowling, seeing as I have no idea what Bocce is I went with bowling. They have three separate Bocce areas and two floors of bowling lanes, it’s pretty impressive. They had the basketball game on the TVs next to the monitors so I got to fully enjoy winning at bowling (I’m not good at all) and watching the Indiana Pacers lose, good times. I’ve said all of this to let you know that if you are just hearing about Pinstripes or just have never been, you need to get there ASAP (I understand that if you’ve been there before I’m basically preaching to the choir because you know how awesome it is). It can literally turn your frown upside down. They have four locations (three in Illinois) in Oak Brook, Northbrook, South Barrington, and Minneapolis. To make reservations, get directions or just to learn more about Pinstripes, click here for their website. Let me stop gushing, but I’m going to leave you with this to sum it all up, my birthday is this upcoming Saturday (June 1st), I canceled reservations at my favorite restaurant to make reservations on the spot at Pinstripes. Maybe for my birthday I’ll learn how to play Bocce.