This local restaurateur continues to impress his clientele. Step inside his latest creation and discover a vegetarian dish that’s in popular demand.
Popular chef Dave Perlick continues to make a name for himself with diners and restaurant critics. His latest debut, Region Kitchen and Bar, at 718 W. Northwest Highway in Barrington, features classy, contemporary American fare with a creative touch.
“I always felt a natural draw toward the kitchen but never thought it would develop into a career path,” Perlick says.
Perlick, now 41, looks back on his decision to pursue a degree in culinary arts and hospitality management from Elgin Community College. It was a smart move – one that put him on the fast track as a restaurateur.
He honed his culinary skills at various hotel and resort kitchens before joining Montarra Grill in Algonquin in 2004. Within 18 months he became executive chef.
In May 2017, Perlick teamed up with business partners to create M Supper Club in Crystal Lake, which led to numerous commendations, including a nod for excellence in fine dining.
His latest venture, his first one going solo, opened this past August. Region Kitchen is owned and operated by Perlick and his wife, Jillian, who employ a staff of 35. The venue accommodates 150 diners inside, with a private-party space for 40. A covered seasonal patio seats 30 guests.
Appetizers average $12, and entrees range in price from the mid-$20s and up. With a starter, main course and split dessert expect to pay $40 a person, excluding alcohol.
Tempura Bang Bang Cauliflower ranks as the most in-demand appetizer. It comes with a spicy red chile aioli, toasted sesame dressing and togarashi salt, a flavor-enhancing Japanese spice. Diners can’t get enough of this appetizer, says Perlick, adding that its popularity came as a pleasant surprise given that it’s a vegetarian dish.
About one-third of the menu has been updated for spring, and it reflects a wide range of flavors with regional American and global influences. For example, Perlick serves pecan butter-crusted fresh walleye accompanied by braised red cabbage, pork belly and a locally grown Honeycrisp apple.
Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Poké Bowl provides another taste of spring. This entree salad – made with such ingredients as English cucumber, pickled radish, avocado and hijki seaweed – is served over quinoa and brown rice. Perlick says it offers flavor and freshness, and “it’s filling but not overly heavy.”
There are high expectations for farm-raised trout from Rushing Waters, a Palmyra, Wis., supplier. It’s prepared schnitzel-style with toasted hazelnuts, baked brie, sage and a charred lemon brown butter sauce.
Region Kitchen’s unique bar top incorporates ancient planks of Mediterranean olive wood. The bar itself is stocked with a variety of spirits and beers, both major brands and artisan. Oenophiles can find a diverse selection of domestic and imported wines, accompanied with tasting notes to assist them in making an informed decision.
“Our main focus is quality, regardless of where the beverage is produced,” says Perlick.
The main dining room features an eye-catching, 30-foot-long mural depicting waiters serving lunch to two high-rise construction workers precariously seated on steel beams.
Perlick anticipates the focus on farm-to-table, gluten-free, sustainable products and new flavor combinations will continue to drive the dining-out industry. He also cites a greater availability of product options compared to 20 years ago when, for example, microgreens were strangers to most U.S. menus.
For Perlick, the future looks wide open. He’s contemplated someday pursuing a special event venue, a wine bar, or perhaps something like a banquet/catering facility.
There’s no secret for success or magic formula in this business, Perlick says. “It’s simply caring for the customer’s every need. When you serve delicious food and a well thought-out wine list, and you offer gracious service in a swanky-looking restaurant, you will not have issues with surpassing expectations of clientele.”
Region Kitchen and Bar is open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are accepted.