Benjamin Restaurant: Now Open in Highland Park

New North Shore Eatery Offers Locally Sourced Fare Set in Stunning Atmosphere

Benjamin Restaurant recently opened in the heart of downtown Highland Park on Chicago’s North Shore. Owned by Executive Chef Benjamin Brittsan, along with his father and business partner Dave Brittsan, Benjamin offers locally-sourced, seasonal American cuisine during dinner service five nights a week (Tuesday-Saturday). A student of Kendall College and a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Benjamin Brittsan further honed his skills in the kitchen through working with acclaimed chefs Rick Tramanto, Gale Gand and Art Smith as well as holding positions in high-end catering, at country clubs and as a private chef.

With a creative culinary team and adventurous kitchen, Benjamin’s “farm to fork” philosophy incorporates farm-fresh ingredients into small plates and starters, salads and soups, main courses and desserts. The newly released Fall/Winter menu offers small plate, starting selections that range from classic offerings (roasted marinated olives; local cheese fries; charcuterie and cheese plate; Prairie Fruits Farm goat cheese with local beets and wild mushrooms) to more unique options (beef bone marrow; ahi tuna crudo; bison brisket sloppy joe sliders and incredible Mishima Ranch wagyu beef presented on a Himalayan salt brick, heated to 600-degrees). Soups (French onion; selection of the evening) and salads (roasted pumpkin, blood orange and frisee; heirloom carrot) transition nicely to an array of main entrées (White Marble Farms pork shoulder; Midwestern Farms braised lamb shank; cedar planked Jail Island salmon, 20-ounce Kansas City black angus ribeye of beef, Miller Amish chicken pot pie, grouper en papilotte). The decadent desserts are crafted in-house daily (chocolate mousse and cherry trifle with Michigan cherry compote; banana caramelo served in a crepe cup with cake batter ice cream; pumpkin, maple and cranberry brioche bread pudding). The complete dinner menu is listed below.

Pairing libations with the menu is easily achieved through Benjamin’s palate-pleasing beverage program. The value-driven wine list features 94 bottles that are hand-selected by general manager and certified wine expert Michael Brockob. Over 30 glass pour selections are offered, and the menu includes a “Chef’s Selection” list that showcases the chef’s personal favorites. A selection of Midwestern beers are available by the bottle and draft, sourced from Two Brothers Brewery of Illinois, Founders Brewing Company of Michigan, New Holland Brewing Company of Michigan and Great Lakes Brewing Company of Ohio. Seasonal cocktails (Ginger Gimlet, The Snow Angel, Pumpkin Martini, Winter Mojito) also incorporate Midwest-made spirits, such as Koval’s Distillery of Illinois, 4 Rebels Premium Vodkas of Wisconsin and New Holland Artisan Spirits of Michigan. The after dinner drink menu features housemade limoncello along with a impressive selection of scotch, brandy and other digestifs.

In addition to Benjamin’s progressive menu, the décor of the new 75-seat restaurant is unique to the Highland Park area. The atmosphere is relaxed urban chic, more often found in SoHo or Paris. The design of the renovated space was a collaboration between Benjamin Brittsan and Chicago designer Tim Kitzrow (Rednofive nightclub and Blue 13 restaurant). The duo shared a combined vision that resulted in a sophisticated yet playful, elegant design with a touch of whimsy. The bi-level dining room is an eclectic blend of elements and eras, ranging from the stunning, Parisian black and white mosaic-tiled floor, to the hand-crafted bar made from an antique Asian sideboard. The plush, mezzanine seating area with baby grand piano (pianist performs Friday and Saturday evenings) overlooks the main dining room and boasts a private booth draped in black sheers and a side-by-side “loveseat” table for two (lofted area seats 20). Warm lighting, interesting textures, rich finishes and rare pieces featured throughout the venue make Benjamin one of the most engaging, seductive rooms to arrive on the North Shore scene.

Dinner is offered Tuesday and Wednesday 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Benjamin is closed Sunday and Monday. Street parking is plentiful in the downtown district of Highland Park.

Benjamin Restaurant
1849 Second Street
Highland Park, IL 60035

Fall/Winter Dinner Menu

Small Plates & Starters

Roasted Marinated Olives grilled citrus 6
Beef Bone Marrow bacon & onion jam/ petite parsley salad/ grilled baguette 10
Local Cheese Fries frites/ local white cheddar curd/ wagyu beef gravy/ bacon lardons 9
Pesto Gnocchi Gratin parmesan/ pecorino romano/ truffle/ pistachio pesto 10
Charcuterie & Cheese local artisan cheeses/ la quercia meats/ cremenelli salumi/ accoutrement 14
Prairie Fruits Farm Goat Cheese & Local Beets petite basil/ preserved lemon/ horseradish crème 10
Ahi Tuna Crudo winter sprout salad/ housemade yuzu/ crispy garlic, ginger & shallot/ EVOO 13
Mishima Ranch Wagyu Beef hot himalayan salt brick/ sauce trio 17
House Cured Gravlax capers/ pickled red onion/ roasted tomato jam/ boursin cheese/grilled ciabatta 12
Grilled Garlic Shrimp Scampi crispy parmesan polenta/ garlic garlic garlic/ parsley 11
Housemade Pork Cracklins hot sauce/ draft beer of choice 8
Bison Brisket Sloppy Joe Sliders goose island root beer glaze/ rustic winter slaw 12
Wild Mushrooms On Toast grilled ciabatta/ arugula/ parmesan/ smoked blue 9

Salads & Soups

Roasted Pumpkin, Blood Orange & Frisee pumpkin seeds/ curry/ chervil/ housemade ricotta toasts/ pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette 10
Benjamin Signature Salad cucumber/ greenhouse tomato/ local goat cheese/ arugula/ dried michigan cherries/ hazelnut/ radish/ citrus vinaigrette 10
Heirloom Carrot Salad avocado/ radish/ fennel/ butter lettuce/ pagne caldo dressing 10
French Onion Soup toasted ciabatta croutons 7
Soup Of The Evening seasonal garnish 6

Main Courses

Benjamin Midwestern Wagyu Beef Burger brioche/ red onion jam/ jones farm bacon/ merkts cheddar/smoked gouda/ greenhouse tomato/ greens/ frite 17
Cedar Planked Jail Island Salmon roasted cauliflower/ rapini/ housemade michigan cherry BBQ 24
20 oz Kansas City, MO Black Angus Ribeye Of Beef pepper & potato hash/ arugula/ parmesan 32
White Marble Farms Pork Shoulder corned beef hash cake/ potato gruyere fondue/ fried egg/
chipotle crema 23
Miller Amish Chicken Pot Pie seasonal root vegetables/ sweet potato mash/ puff pastry/ petite salad 19
Midwestern Farms Braised Lamb Shank lentils/ glazed root vegetables/ natural reduction 26
Pasta Of The Evening seasonal ingredients/ pastificio! inc. pasta 19
Grouper En Papilotte fennel/ wild mushrooms/celery/ herbs/ petite salad 25
Midwestern Farms Filet Mignon potato hash 35


Roasted Brussels Sprouts bacon/ pomegranate
Roasted Cauliflower brown butter/ dill
Fingerling Potato Hash wild mushrooms/ herbs
Buttered Cabbage white wine/ parsley
Frites pecorino romano/ truffle essence/ truffle salt

Dessert Menu

Chocolate Mousse & Cherry Trifle michigan cherry compote/ ganache cake/ sea salt
Banana Caramelo housemade crepe cup/ cake batter ice cream/ candied pistachios/ warm butterscotch
Apple Galette seasonal apples/ housemade sea salt caramel/ vanilla ice cream
Pumpkin, Maple & Cranberry Brioche Bread Pudding maple custard/ candied pecans/ caramel
Cheese Board seasonal cheeses/ quince paste/accoutrement

Signature and Seasonal Cocktails

Benjamin Signature Martini
crystal head vodka/ pickled liqueur/ dry vermouth/ local blue cheese stuffed olives/ tabasco/ fresh ground pepper

Ginger Gimlet
koval rye vodka/ koval organic ginger liqueur/ fresh lime juice/ fresh ginger root/ candied ginger/ orange bitters

New “Old Fashioned”
benjamin prichard’s whiskey/ amaretto/ cherry/ orange bitters

The Snow Angel
peppermint essence/ local vodka/ cotton candy/ godiva white chocolate

Apple Jack Winter Mojito
apple jack brandy/ black seal rum/ local apple cider/ lime/ mint/ simple syrup spice

Pumpkin Martini
pumpkin liqueur/ 4 rebels vodka/ amaretto/ cinnamon sugar

The Huntress
acai liqueur/ prickly pear/ sour/ cream

Coffee & Chocolate
van gogh double espresso/ kahlua/ adult chocolate milk/ housemade chocolate liqueur


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