GLENCOE – The first thing you notice when entering Valor, a French-American bistro in downtown Glencoe, is the warm ambiance created by a large rustic fireplace complete with an assortment of candles.
Opened nearly a year ago at 667 Vernon Avenue, where Cibo Trattoria was formerly located, the restaurant was completely rehabbed and now includes warm beige walls, dark hardwood floors and ample seating, including a large community table that separates the bar from the dining room. Valor is a perfect date night spot, pre-theater meal if catching a show at nearby Writers Theatre, and it’s a great place to go with the family.
In short, the restaurant aims to provide something for everyone, said Chef Stefan Markov. Chef Markov may know something about what North Shore residents want to eat. Classically trained at La Cite Collegiale in Canada, he worked as a sous chef at Abigail’s American Bistro in Highland Park, and at Restaurant Michael and George Trois in Winnetka, before taking the helm at Valor.
While the restaurant is only open for dinner at this time of year (it’s open for lunch during the summer), Chef Markov and his team get to work first thing in the morning. “It’s a scratch kitchen. We do everything here but the bread, which we get from Hewn (in Evanston),” Chef Markov said.
The menu changes seasonally and many of the ingredients are sourced from local farms, such as Frillman Farms in Prairie View, Illinois.
“We try to use the best products available and you can definitely taste the difference,” Chef Markov said.
Currently, honey cumin winter carrots are a customer favorite, as well as the warm Brussels sprout Caesar salad. “The winter carrots are really special. They are very sweet,” Chef Markov said.
While many restaurants are sourcing local ingredients, Valor’s menu is also all organic or GMO and antibiotic free.
“If I wouldn’t eat it I wouldn’t serve it. I try to eat organic and antibiotic free so that is what I serve here,” Chef Markov explained.
The Diver sea scallops served with butternut squash puree, potato gnocchi and wild mushroom ragu is a customer favorite, as is the wild sea bass. The menu also includes plenty of other options, including roasted chicken, steak, pasta dishes, and weekly specials.
But diners should also make sure to leave room for dessert. Chef Markov is a trained pastry chef who enjoys taking a traditional dessert and adding something unique. For example, his deconstructed pumpkin pie is always a little bit unexpected, but provides the same flavor profile as a traditional pie. “I really enjoy making simple deserts with a twist,” he said.
The restaurant has also just launched a new Sunday Supper series, which includes a four course prix fixe menu served family style. The meal includes an appetizer, salad, entree and choice of two desserts for $68 for a family of four. Guests can add a bottle of private label wine for $16, or an additional family member for $15 for an adult, or $10 or a child.
The menu focuses on family classics with a twist, such as the gluten-free fish fry using wild Atlantic cod and served with jicama coleslaw.
Valor is located at 667 Vernon Avenue and is open Sunday through Saturday for dinner. For reservations or more information visit www.valorglencoe.com.