Fahrenheit 151—One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar

March 2017 View more

Despite being situated in a city that’s about one-third the size of Naperville, the bustling downtown area of Elmhurst is very reminiscent of our own on a typical Saturday night. Amid the flashing lights of the old York Theatre, a half-dozen restaurants doing turnaway business and putting precious parking spots at a decided premium, Elmhurst seems to be yet another local advertisement for the renewed health and vitality of the suburban downtown.

It is into this heated competitive commercial party that the folks behind the nearby craft-beer-focused sports bar Pints stepped late last year to unveil One Fifty One, an ambitious take on Midwestern comfort food that has added yet another level of buzz to Saturday nights in Elmhurst.

Arts and Craft

“Heated,” alas, would not describe the bone-chilling January night of our visit, when the notion of “any port in a storm” summed up our feelings on the walk from the car. Fortunately, what we found was far more appealing than just any old port—a nicely inviting space with enough warmth and conviviality bubbling up from the diverse crowd to heat up even the most frigid winter night.

The front bar and street-facing window tables were filled with revelers of all stripes looking to come in from the cold, sharing conversations over a glass of wine, an impressively constructed cocktail or one of the dozen craft beers on tap. Further back in the dining room—built out with a heavy emphasis on weathered lumber and whimsically decorated with artistic trophy animals made from wood, steel, paper and cardboard—the lighting grew dimmer and the noise level lower, but the energy remained.

Comfort Redefined

Like the décor, the menu at One Fifty One is a mixture of the familiar and the unexpected, with a number of classic dishes enjoying just enough flourish to keep things interesting. We got things started with a jar of the house-made giardiniera, a spicy-enough concoction that benefited tremendously from the inclusion of several well-placed nuggets of Brunkow’s brun-uusto bread cheese. Fair warning when it comes to this appetizer: you’ll want to be sure to portion out those little globs of happiness evenly, lest relationships be tested.          

From there we moved on to a pair of seemingly straightforward entrées: My juicy grilled chicken with near-perfect fingerling potatoes and crispy green beans was about as down-the-middle as this crew plays it, but my companion’s grilled cheese was the curveball we had come to anticipate. Starting with a combination of goat cheese and smoked cheddar on sourdough, this version of the childhood lunchtime staple pushes the envelope with a generous smear of date jam, nudging the savory flavor profile into sweet territory and shoving aside the notion of richness altogether in favor of downright indulgence.

Continuing on that last theme to close things out, we split a pair of desserts—an icebox pie featuring a dome of cherry custard atop a chocolate shortbread crust, and an impossibly dense trunk of chocolate mousse—that sent us out into the bitter, busy Elmhurst night with just a little more fire in our bellies.

One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar
151 North York Street, Elmhurst