Mystery Diner

Mystery Diner in St. Charles: The Office you’ll want to linger in has new boss

The Office in St. Charles.

The Office Dining & Spirits in downtown St. Charles traded hands late last year, and sports the same name but a new menu.

We were pleased to see the inviting patio is back, although a rainstorm took us indoors. There we enjoyed a high-top table in the lounge area near the brick-accented bar replete with televisions for sports action. Stonework and warm wood grace the comfortable room, in which a ceiling fan provides nice air circulation.

As the pub filled up, the sound level rose, but we noticed the separate dining area designated “The Library” is a little more subdued in tone. Its walls are embellished with handsome drawings of the vintage building, and a historical note runs along the top of one wall stating that in 1860, when the building was a law office, presidential hopeful Abraham Lincoln stopped in.

Today, it’s the food and drink that are center stage. Our server was helpful, and we appreciated the room’s special touches including cloth napkins.

Chicken tortilla soup at The Office in St. Charles.

We opened our meal with a bowl of the day’s chicken tortilla soup, an outstanding dish with a robust broth brimming with tasty chicken and a great balance of green peppers, onion, tomato, corn kernels, beans and tortilla strips.

Steak sandwich, with bacon added, at The Office in St. Charles.

My dining companion ordered the steak sandwich. It showcases honey- and bourbon-glazed strip steak topped with arugula, blue cheese crumbles, caramelized onion and garlic aioli on a toasted hoagie roll. The generously portioned steak arrived medium rare, exactly as requested, along with the addition of bacon – the flavorful beef beautifully complemented by the toppings, including the rich, melted blue cheese.

For an up-charge, he selected the roasted red potatoes as his side. They were nicely seasoned, with a slightly crunchy skin and tender interior.

The menu features sandwiches, fish tacos, The Office Burger with USDA prime Angus beef, salads, and appetizers ranging from ahi tuna sliders to Caprese flatbread to wings. The house specialties include vodka penne with blackened chicken, baked mac and cheese, grilled salmon, and my selection, the lemon chicken.

Lemon Chicken at The Office in St. Charles.

It was a comfort food treat with garlic mashed potatoes as a bed to the pan-seared chicken topped by fresh, sauteed spinach spiked with large capers, and bathed in a citrusy lemon beurre blanc sauce that made the whole dish pop.

The Office plays host to private parties in its upstairs space, connected to the next-door parking garage by a lofty, open-air walkway.

An iced tea and a red ale from Ireland on tap at The Office in St. Charles.

The bar has modern digital displays that somehow don’t spoil the timeless appeal of this vintage gem beginning its latest chapter in life in fine style.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: The Office Dining & Spirits

WHERE: 201 E. Main St., St. Charles

PHONE: 630-549-0287

INFORMATION: theofficestc.com