#DateNight: Food & Fashion at PM Prime

Last weekend, my husband, our friends and I had the pleasure of dining at PM Prime in Highwood. As soon as I walked in the door, I was transported to a different era. Dozens of black and white photographs adorn black walls, trimmed by sumptuous black leather booths. The bar is sleek, the light fixtures retro, and the ambiance is that of a five start dining establishment. Welcome to PM Prime, one of the best restaurants in the Chicagoland area.


We were greeted by the Sommelier/General Manager Robert Bansberg, who is no stranger to elegant restaurants.

Sommelier/GM Bob at PM Prim
Bob and I, and yes that is an MTV Award! Ask him about it when you go!

Throughout the night, he shared tales of working at the Pump Room, and engaged us in a passionate discussion of fine wine. We brought a magnum of 1978 Grand Vin de Leoville for him to open on our behalf. My husband’s uncle, Patrick Leahy, was noted by Wine Spectator as having one of the world’s largest wine collections at one time. He often gave birth year bottles of wine to family and friends, and I fondly recall a dinner with Uncle Pat where he did just that for me. We love to honor his memory by sharing our wine collection with family and friends, passing the love of wine and its culture.

1978 Bottle of Wine at PM Prime

 It is rare to find a restaurant that has the appropriate tools and knowledge on how to open, filter if necessary and aerate a bottle of advanced vintage, but PM Prime executed the challenge beautifully. They also have an extensive wine list, naturally.


I should note that you won’t find a Cosmo on their martini menu- all libations are creatively concocted and fine-tuned, so the essence of the highest-quality liquor shines through. I started off with a Tiger in the White City- Tigre Blanc French Vodka, St. Germain, Hum, Pineapple and Champagne. It was a delectable, with a floral/citrus note thanks to the Hum.

Tiger in the White City at PM Prime

I then moved on to Langley’s Aviation, a drink that has demanded a spot on their cocktail menu by many a patron. It contains Langley’s Gin, Alpine Violet Liqueur, Luxardo, Pressed Lemon and Bubbly. I had never tasted such a unique cocktail, and the Violet Liqueur was an amazement to the senses.

The chef sent out an amuse-bouche to kick off our culinary adventure, and it was a bite bursting with flavor (and a visual feast as well).

Amuse-Bouche at PM Prime


Executive Chef Dominic Zumpano is in charge of the kitchen, and I am extremely thrilled that he is! He was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest, and it shows in his culinary creations. We ordered shrimp cocktail and octopus for starters. I am such a fan of shrimp cocktail, and will have to say this ranks among the best I have ever had.

Shrimp Cocktail and Grilled Octopus at PM Prime

 My husband has the Lobster Bisque while I opted for the Wedge Salad. The
Bisque was rich without being overpowering or too creamy and included
hints of tarragon and cauliflower.

Wedge Salad at PM Prime

The Wedge had such a unique twist- instead of the usual iceberg chunk, they served a round of butter lettuce with the perfect mix of smoky bacon, fresh mini heirloom tomatoes and creamy blue cheese, finished off with a dollop of pesto.


For sides, we decided upon Brussels Sprouts, Potato Puree, Kennebec Frites, and Forrest Mushrooms for the table to share.

Kennebec Frites at PM Prime

The frites arrived with two homemade dipping sauces, came in a mini matchstick shape, and were crisped to perfection. The potato puree was rich, creamy, and indulgent. As for the mushrooms, the pecans and goat cheese added a little sweetness and zing to the dish. I adore brussels sprouts, and might ask them to add bacon to the mix next time (because I loved the bacon from the Wedge THAT much).


Ahh….on to the steak. Being from Michigan, I am a bit of a steak snob. I still remember going on a first date with a guy and him being horrified that I ordered my steak medium-well. It was almost a deal breaker. I now order my steaks medium-rare, and savor the flavor of a perfectly cooked filet.

Filet at PM Prime

I had the 6 oz filet with Roasted Garlic Parmesan crust, and my husband had his with a blue cheese crust and Oscar Style, which includes lump king crab. We were blown away by the quality of the steak- all of the meat at PM Prime is prime, hence the name, and it becomes very obvious why they are picky about the meat they serve. It is just that much better.


We couldn’t leave without sampling dessert. I have been to some restaurants where dessert is an afterthought, but PM Prime poured their heart and soul into these creations.

Chocolate Dessert at PM Prime

The first concoction had chocolate served 9 different ways. NINE! As for the fresh donuts with a gooey-sweet dipping sauce, I would come back simply for those.

Homemade Donuts at PM Prime

To say I am a fan of PM Prime is a massive understatement. They have poured their hearts and souls into this restaurant and it shows. I would highly recommend this for your next date night, and if you need a mid-week break, try their Supper Club! Every Wednesday and Thursday starting at 5pm, they are serving 1960s classic cuisine with a modern twist. Think French Onion Soup, Prime Rib and Chocolate Crème Brûlée, with entrees starting at $19. You can also grab a Hamm’s or Miller High Life for $3- how’s that for a treat to get you through the week?

Private Dining

As we were departing, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the downstairs.

Private Dining at PM Prime

PM Prime has a private dining area, with gorgeous black and white aviation photos covering the walls.

Black and White Aviation Photographs at PM Prime

The pioneers of aviation were both fearless and brave, and motivate the team at PM Prime to strive for excellence in all that they do.

Steve and I at PM Prime
Steve and I- he showed me a beautiful B&W photo of his mom that hangs above the bar

Steve, the Chief Experience Officer, used to request negatives from the newspapers when he was a little boy. What an amazing way to showcase his hobby! They are also planning a rooftop garden this spring, complete with bee hives in order to truly create as many delectable dishes in house as possible.

What I Wore

The restaurant was so impressive, I almost forgot to share the fashion portion of date night! Since PM Prime is so fabulously retro, I decided to head in a more demure direction. I chose a grey knit bodycon dress with a chain embellishment on the neck from Zara (on sale for under $20 this winter!). Although it is sold out, Topshop has a great take on the midi bodycon dress all for around $50:

Although this dress might sound plain, it is anything but. According to my husband, it was one of the most sexy dresses I have ever worn, even though it went past my knees and up to my neck! I paired it with a pair of gold BCBG d’orsay pumps (similar here, a MUST for every closet), a blush cross body bag with a gold chain (similar here), and blush, gold and crystal earrings (similar here and here).

I wore my Jean Reno 1348 glasses from Iristocracy to finish off the look and left my hair smooth and sleek with smoky eyes and a dash of muted raspberry lipstick to top it off. My nails were done in Sally Hansen’s Gel Nail Color in Commander in Chic- great for the woman who only wants to paint her nails once every 2 weeks!

A huge thank you to PM Prime for having my husband, our friends and I as their guests. It was truly an evening we will never forget, and I hope you have the opportunity to experience this culinary marvel as well!

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary meal at PM Prime for review purposes, but all opinions are honest and my own.