Featured Restaurant on Rick's DineSite Journal

DineSite: Catch 35
Website: http://www.catch35.com

35 South Washington
Naperville, IL

35 West Wacker
Chicago, IL
  630 717-3500 312 346-3500
Cuisine: Steak and seafood - American with a slight Thai touch.
Review: 13.5/20
Journal entries: Date, Atmosphere, Food, Winelist, Service, Other
August 17, 2004 - Naperville location.

Atmosphere is slightly noisy and boisterous as the dining room is a bit crowded. Several tables overlook the kitchen through the large glass wall between the kitchen and dining room. The room is light and airy thanks to high ceilings and large windows - even on the opposite side of the room. The cosmopolitan crowded feeling is exacerbated slightly by the extra foot traffic due to their serving method using runners rather than the wait-persons.
Atmosphere - 3.5/5 (Seated in a booth - probably lower if seated on the crowded floor).

Food - The philosophy is to do a few things well and they succeed with the entrees. Menu is simple but sufficient with creative steak and seafood selections complemented by nice selection of appetizers and salads. Entrees are prepared with care and served with generous portions with accompaniments included, making for a good value relative to other restaurants where everything is ala carte. Steaks come with original mashed potatoes which is a nice departure from garlic mashed that are so common and so overdone elsewhere, and creamed spinach is prepared naturally and not overdone or drenched in foreign creamy sauce. Beyond the entrees, the starter and desert courses lacked refinement and revealed shortcuts - the raspberry dressing was a dopey thick yogurt style rather than a vinagret and the creme brulee' was more vanilla pudding with glaze topping. Staff were gracious and attentive to rectify disappointments but avoidance is a better strategy.
Food - 3.75/5

Wine - Winelist is fundamentally sound yet basic, predominantly American from California with a couple of selections from Australia, France and US Northwest. The selection is limited but adequate for general public diners but the oenephile will be disappointed except that they have a liberal BYOB policy with a $10 corkage fee (worthy of .5 rating point in of itself!*). That was the saving grace for our dining experience since we were celebrating a special event with a special bottle (see wine journal review.) They thoughtfully offer several selections by the glass and a couple half bottles including sparklers and some dessert wines. There is a small minimal selection of 'premium' wines but the prices are expensive - Silver Oak $200 and Duckhorn cab at $150.
Wine - 3.5/5
* The Naperville City Council is trying to eliminate BYOB for such restaurants in which case Catch 35 is minimalist at best in its wine and dine experience - we'll go to Glen Ellyn or Oak Brook!)

Service was personable and minimally adequate, although junior in experience - a bit amateurish for what they are striving to achieve - perhaps a sign of a new venue - experience will come - at diner's expense. Their wine service is amateurish and unsophisticated - less so than than limited winelist. The serving style uses runners to bring your food disconnecting the ordering and expectation setting from the serving experience. 
Service - 2.75/5

Overall - 13.5/20

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