The restaurant’s contemporary exterior strikes an urban pose on this previously unassuming corner of Green Bay Road in Highwood. The second venture by childhood buddies Josh Kaplan and Mark Newman, Greenwood offers the neighborhood a casually sophisticated gathering spot to enjoy simple, mostly American comfort food. Kaplan likens the combination of scene and culinary sensibility to “Chablis and chicken wings—a beautiful and elegant space alongside comforting everyday food.”
Designed by DMAC Architecture (BellyQ, Midtown Athletic Club), the atmosphere envelops the diner in rustically modern surroundings featuring reclaimed wood, concrete in various stages of finish, smoked mirrors and a natural color palette with pops of mossy green. Diners enter a convivial bar with a bustling main dining room to the west and an intimate lounge area just east, complete with swivel chairs and an entire wall blissfully open to the elements. This is the place to be with a house signature drink, The Greenwood Cocktail made with Tito’s vodka, fresh pineapple, a basil infusion, Velvet Falernum—a Barbadian spiced, citrusy spirit—and lime, or perhaps a Sundream with Don Julio Blanco tequila, maraschino liqueur, and grapefruit and lime juices, plus an infusion of rosemary.
Kaplan serves as general manager while also lending his talents as a sommelier, designing a generous yet easy wine list that bridges menu and place with plenty to complement appetizers such as a favorite shallot-laden and parsley-flecked mussels mariniere, an ample serving of queso fresco with chili-lime corn; the jazzed-up avocado toast; or the menu star, skillet cornbread with honey butter, served hot in the cast-iron pan it was baked in (a nostalgic cold glass of milk might be the best pairing).
Chef Newman recalls boyhood favorites like brick chicken with herbed potato wedges, green beans and chicken au jus on a menu that is heavy on salads and sandwiches, including the prerequisite double cheeseburger and a “Saganaki” grilled cheese with tomato-ouzo jam. Offering only a smattering of entrees, the menu covers the bases with fish selections, a vegetarian cauliflower steak with mushroom au poivre sauce and a perfectly cooked steak frites. Delightfully nostalgic desserts round out the comfort experience at Greenwood, with a warm chocolate brownie that comes with a side of soft serve ice cream. Kids big and small can build their own sundaes with that same soft serve and, of course, with sprinkles. It’s a solid, something-for-everyone menu served well, if a bit safe in spots, for an otherwise refreshingly contemporary dining experience.
200 Green Bay Road, Highwood, 847.926.7319
Open for dinner at 5pm daily
Starters, $6-$18; entrees, $8-$32; desserts, $8-$9; cocktails, $11-$13