Open less than a month, M. Hermann’s at the corner of Randolph and Circle in Forest Park, is brought to us by the folks at Shanahan’s. It’s the first restaurant to launch in Forest Park in about a year or so.

M. Hermann’s faces some challenges

The Wednesday night we stopped by, it was empty, which is too bad, as it’s a nice comfortable room, well-appointed if pedestrian.

Similarly, the menu was very…safe: salads, burgers, steaks.

We had an order of onion rings, and I didn’t ask if they were frozen, but I’d bet they were: personality free, heavy on the breading and low on onion, with no fresh snap.

The wet-aged rib-eye steak was a good piece of meat, done to what I consider a perfect medium rare, but it seemed priced on the high-side at $25. It came with a salad, which showed marginal effort, and a baked potato that was brown inside.

The spinach side was very well prepared, just lightly sautéed and so much more pleasant and refreshing than most creamed steakhouse versions.

I had a Sazerac, a classic cocktail, $12. It was heavy on the Pernod, and for that price, I’d expect a more expert mix.

M. Hermann’s closes on the early side (9:30PM on weekdays and 10:30 on weekends), so it’s clearly going for more the restaurant crowd than the bar crowd. If that’s the case, I’d love to see them maybe take a few more risks with the menu, put in a specialty item or two, you know, surprise us. I’m guessing, however, that surprise is precisely not the point at M. Hermann’s.

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...