Sophisticated comfort food at Bobby’s Deerfield
Bobby’s Deerfield mixologist Rick Zwolinski with chef/owner Augie Arifi, and brother Bobby Arifi the restaurant’s namesake. | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
695 Deerfield Road, Deerfield
4:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 4:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Bar: 4:30 p.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday; 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday -Saturday
(847) 607-9104 or
Updated: November 7, 2012 2:38PM
When they walked into a floundering storefront at Waukegan and Deerfield roads, brothers Augie and Bobby Arifi knew they’d found their place.
“It just had a certain feel to it. (We) felt comfortable in the space,” they said.
That was enough to start the major overhaul which would transform a dated lodge, complete with faux wood paneling and a stuffed deer head over the exit, into a sleek, modern space.
To complement the more sophisticated look, the brothers brought in seasoned mixologists, Rick Zwolinski, to (re)launch an haute cocktail scene on the North Shore.
“It really surprised me that while downtown is listed as the number one or two dining scene (in the country) with craft cocktails, it has not gone north of Evanston,” said Zwolinski.
To remedy that, Bobby’s is offering high end, small-batch crafts with a side-order of story telling. “There’s single distilling, there’s continuous, there’s column; there’s Al Capone’s favorite bourbon, what he called ‘the good stuff.’ And when I talk to the tables, they’re just soaking everything up,” said Zwolinski.
Despite the top-shelf rail, the bottom line still translates to $8-$14 dollars per drink even though if you order a ‘scotch and soda’ you will be enjoying a Chivas Regal ($8).
While Augie serves double-duty as executive chef, Bobby is the wine expert and, as such, has installed the Cruvinet system to keep wines as fresh for up to six weeks in temperature-controlled dispensers (170 wines, 27 by the glass, $12-$28 per glass).
“We just want to provide people good food, good wine in a good environment. We want them to feel like they’re coming home,” said Bobby.
To complete the experience, Augie serves upscale American bistro fare. He sears his Moulard duck liver lightly and serves Foie Gras in Brandied Cherry Nectar ($16). The jumbo sea scallops are fork tender; pan-seared in a porcini crust and served drizzled with pancetta jus ($12).
Perhaps a mountain of West Coast Mediterranean-style mussels is more your speed. Simmered in garlic, olive oil and white wine, the shellfish are tender, the sauce ideal for dipping toast points ($10).
Alaskan Halibut might be among the two or three daily fresh fish specials. Encased in a pine nut crust to seal in the juices, the fish comes on sun-dried tomato beurre blanc over mesclun. ($28).
The homemade Gnocchi in Beef takes two days from start to your plate. The brisket is pan-seared then braised in its natural juices for 4-5 hours; then it’s strained, cooled and cut the next day, ready to be reassembled for the ragú. Aromatic dry ricotta adds to the dish’s gooey goodness ($16).
“We want this to be Deerfield’s restaurant. We want to be the neighborhood joint — a sophisticated place but yet comfortable,” said Augie.