Cost: Around $25 per person
A few weekends back it was Noam's birthday, and a request was made to hit up a Greek restaurant. Greek Town has a great selection of places, but we needed to stay in the suburbs to prepare for Lisa's graduation party which was also that weekend. Now I know this place wasn't recommended by Tina Fey or anything like the Athenian Room (just so so by the way), but we (Noam, Lisa, Mom, Dad, Jodi, and I) decided to go to Opa.
Opa overlooks Little Bear Lake in Vernon Hills. They've got one gigantic dining room, a few party rooms, and a beautiful patio. It was too bad that the weather was crappy the night we went, otherwise we would've sat outside. The whole place has a very Greek feel with blue and white being the only colors and lots of big columns throughout the dining room. We had a reservation, and it would've been an issue otherwise.
The service was pretty solid. The cost was what I expected. Entrees from the high teens to the mid twenties. Appetizers and salads were around $10.
We started off with the Opa Salad, Taramosalata (a dip made of cod roe), and of course some Saganaki. The salad was a pretty traditional Greek, nothing too special. The saganaki came out on fire which was cool and all, and I can't remember a fried cheese dish I didn't like. I really liked the Taramosalata. It had the texture of baba ganoush but with a salty fish roe flavor.
The Opa Salad
For the entrees my mom got the Lamb Chops, Noam go the Dolmathes, Lisa had the Salmon, my dad got some off menu Lamb Flatbread Pizza thing, Jodi had the Chicken Kebab, and I got the Sea Bass. The lamb chops were well seasoned and cooked to a nice medium rare. The dolmathes (grape leaves) were just alright. I thought the beef inside was a little dry. The lamb flatbread pizza was a neat dish, but I didn't like how cracker thin the bread was. The meat was well prepared though, and there was plenty of it. My fish came whole, and the waiter deboned it at the table side. It was flaky and topped with a scrumptious oily dressing. The waiter warned me that he may have missed a few bones, but he ended up missing a whole bunch. After the first few bites with some bones it kind of ruined the dish for me because I was so tentative about each swallow. The common sides were green beans, rice, and sauteed veggies. They were all a little over salted, and the veggies were a bit overcooked and mushy.
The Lamb Chops
The Flatbread Lamb Dish
The Chicken Kebab
The Sea Bass
The Sea Bass
With all of the great choices in the city I don't think it's worth your time to make the trek all the way to Vernon Hills, but Opa has some solid Greek food. If you're looking for some al fresco dining then this is your place. There were a few road bumps, but some real classics rang through. I'm giving Opa 3 out of 5 Pearls.