When I’m making a decision about where I’d like to dine out during Champaign County Restaurant Week, I’m looking for one of two things: a menu that features something unique, something that they don’t typically offer, or a great deal on regular menu items. Homegrown’s Restaurant Week menu offers a little from column A, a little from column B.
Homegrown opened in the newly rebranded Atkins Golf Club just over a year ago, and it’s owned by Ryan and Abbie Rogiers, who also own The Wheelhouse in St. Joe. Both restaurants are farm-to-table, utilizing locally grown ingredients wherever possible. My spouse and I ventured over to Southeast Urbana this weekend to try Homegrown’s three course menu. For $32, you have the choice of a starter and entrée, and then dessert was an apple pecan bread pudding. Many of the options can be found on their regular menu, though there were a few items unique to Restaurant Week.
I started with one of those unique items — a Prairie Fruits Farm tasting board. There were three varieties of goat cheese. I’m fairly certain that two of them were Angel Food (similar to Brie) and feta. The third had a texture similar to fresh mozzarella and didn’t have the tanginess that most goat cheese has. The cheeses were accompanied by a raspberry mostarda — I had to look up that term, and it refers to a condiment made with fruit and mustard syrup — two pieces of focaccia, and toasted sliced almonds. The cheeses were creamy and delicious, and the mostarda was the perfect combination of sweet and savory. My favorite bites were a bit of cheese, topped with the mostarda, and a sprinkle of almonds on top of the focaccia. To that end, I would’ve loved one or two more pieces of bread or maybe a few crackers. I polished off the bread with lots of other ingredients still on my plate, and they needed a vehicle.
My spouse chose the mixed greens salad. It was very straightforward. The greens were topped with thinly sliced carrots and chopped cucumbers, and tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. The veggies were fresh, and the dressing was tangy and just the right amount.
A side note: Homegrown has a beer and wine menu, but no specialty cocktail menu. However, props to the bartender. Our server asked my go-to alcohol choice for a cocktail (gin) and the sort of flavors I liked, and the bartender made me a delightful grapefruit-y concoction. My spouse ordered an old fashioned, and look at this super fun ice cube!
For my entrée, I selected the salmon. I don’t make salmon very often at home, partly because I’m not super confident at making it well and partly because my kids don’t like it that much. So I’m always happy to order it when I’m out and about.
The salmon was served atop lemon and garlic Cahokia rice and topped with a red curry shrimp sauce. This was bursting with flavor. The citrus was very present, but the red curry sauce brought some heat that I was not expecting. I was also pleasantly surprised to find whole shrimp in the sauce. It was like a little bonus. The salmon was perfectly cooked, not over or under done.
My spouse went with the chicken paprikash (which of course makes of think of this classic scene). There was a chicken quarter on top of brown butter and herb spaetzle, with a paprika cream sauce. This was also very tasty. The chicken was tender and fell right off the bone, and the sauce was rich and flavorful. The spaetzle was a bit charred, and the taste of that took away from the dish a little, but overall, it was a good comfort food choice.
Okay, let’s talk about dessert. It was an apple pecan bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. The portion was quite generous! I think we definitely would have been fine splitting one. Bread pudding can be tricky. Too dry and it tastes like you’re eating coffee cake, too much added liquid and it can get mushy. This was neither of those. It was warm, just gooey enough, and the sauce had caramelized perfectly. Despite a valiant effort, I couldn’t finish it.
Overall, it was a worthwhile Restaurant Week choice. Our dinner was an amazing deal for all of the food that was included, and everything was tasty. Eventually, I’d love to see a shift in ambience at Homegrown. The times we’ve gone I’ve felt like the vibe doesn’t necessarily line up with the restaurant concept. Maybe that’s in the works for the future?
Restaurant Week continues through February 4th. Homegrown’s RW menu is available for dinner after 4 p.m. See other operating hours for the restaurant below, and find all of their menus, which change seasonally, on their website. You can make reservations online or by calling 217-600-7137.
2600 S. Stone Creek Blvd.
Tu-F 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.