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Mystery Diner: Urban Grille boasts a variety of dishes

GENEVA – Better known for its mainstay menu-item, the design-your-own “artisanal burger,” where diners can build a towering vessel of ingredients using 1/3 to 2 pounds of beef, turkey, organic vegetables, salmon or chicken and unlimited toppings, Urban Grille in Geneva also serves up award-winning cocktails, seafood and vegetarian options.

The contemporary-American eatery was voted “One of the Best” by Kane County Chronicle readers in the 2012 Best of the Fox contest for seafood and cocktails; and “Best of the Fox” for its vegetarian fare.
Urban Grille also boasts a bevy of wine varietals. Served by the glass or bottle, red and white wines hail from vineyards located “stateside,” “down under” and “across the pond.”

Ahi tuna, flat-iron steak, homemade flatbread pizzas, fish tacos and the restaurant’s signature Shrimp Alyx ($14.99) – Panko-breadcrumb cloaked jumbo shrimp with shallots, garlic and Parmesan cheese, served with citrus cream sauce – are some of the items one can expect to find on the menu.

My dining companion and I stopped in for lunch Monday, and were greeted by dark woods; leather-upholstered seating; lounge-like, lamp-lit lighting; exposed brick; a concrete-polished floor; and a wine cellar as the room’s focal point.

Sprawled out at a four-top table near the rear of the restaurant, we perused the restaurant’s lunch specials, and ultimately decided to veer away from the mainstay menu items, which have already seemingly built up a bit of a reputation.

Staying in the burger family, we both opted for sandwiches, and honed in on the 1/2 and 1/2 lunch combos, offering a half sandwich and bowl of soup or a side salad (10.99).

I opted for the seasonal Harvest Panini in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. The panini came with a layering of roasted turkey breast, cheddar cheese, pears, dried cranberries and butternut squash aioli pressed between two slices of  bread. One of the soups on special that day was the creamy Potato Leek.

The Potato Leek soup offered a textured creaminess to the taste while being salty but not overseasoned. Although, as an onion fiend, I would have liked the onion-esque flavor of the leeks to really outshine the potato.

My dining companion went with the Name That Tuna sandwich – a blend of Albacore tuna, mayo, sour cream, yogurt, celery, lemon and a hint of fresh dill; and topped with cheddar cheese, tomato, red onion and sliced cucumber piled between two slices of multi-grain bread. She ordered the Seafood Bisque to accompany her tuna sandwich.

Regarding the Name That Tuna sandwich, my dining companion wrote in an email, “The ingredients on the sandwich were all fresh, and there was enough tuna that chunks were falling off the bread when I took bites.”

The Seafood Bisque’s creamy, flavorful consistency outdid that of the Potato Leek, but it came at a price. Tack on an additional $3 for the Seafood Bisque.

As an appetizer, we also ordered the Stuffed Dates ($10.99), which included Medjool dates, Marcona almond, blue cheese and bacon, with piquillo pepper coulis. Our waiter accidentally forgot to put the order in, so it came out after our entrees, but the sweetness of the dates made for a dessert-quality dish.

Though tasty, Urban Grille is a more expensive option for lunch – our total bill, which included a soft drink and an ice tea, added up to $44.58.

On my next visit, I plan on pulling up a seat at the sleek bar, sipping on a cool cocktail and inhaling an artisanal burger made just the way I like it.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Shaw Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. Only positive dining experiences will result in published reviews.

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