Smile Politely

Seven Saints is a stylish place with many options

A cropped photo of the appetizer cheese curds at Seven Saints in Champaign. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

When you first walk into Seven Saints, you know it is going to be a unique experience apart from any other restaurant. The stylish tapestries, the gorgeous dark wood bar and booths, the impressive ceiling all create a swank yet relaxed atmosphere.

Kelly Busch

Seven Saints lends itself to both formal and casual dining. My favorite part is that you have so many options to choose from. You can get many different small plates or choose a full entrée. Can’t make up your mind on if you want one of the wonderful salads or sandwiches? Get a half sandwich and signature small salad combo. One could also create an entire meal from their appetizer offerings. They also have a full service bar with a huge selection of spirits and signature cocktails.

Carl Busch

I don’t know if I have ever been to Seven Saints and not started with cheese curds ($14.99), which was a generous serving with marinara. Their curds are made with locally sourced cheese, hand-battered in house, and fried. These are the best cheese curds I have had. They have the perfect amount of breading, due to them being made in house to order. They are fried but not greasy at all. Each one had a nice, crisp brown crust on the outside with a soft, cheesy center. My only problem with these is that I love them so much, it precludes me from trying other appetizers, which I will have to correct someday.

Carl Busch

My wife chose to order a slider and half salad ($11.49). She went with a grilled chicken slider and a goat cheese salad. The chicken slider could have deep fried chicken, but she was showing restraint! The chicken was seasoned and packed with a lot of flavor and was nice and moist. I’ve cooked my share of dry chicken, so it’s nice to know you are going to get a nice, juicy bite.

The goat cheese salad consisted of spring greens with strawberries, red grapes, and candied walnuts, topped with goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. They were really generous with the candied walnuts and goat cheese, which elevated this salad tremendously. The raspberry vinaigrette was wonderfully made and has perfect balance between sweet and tart.

Carl Busch

For my meal, I also chose a slider and half salad ($11.49). Well, I also ordered another slider à la cart because I can’t have just one slider! My à la cart slider was their blackjack slider ($5.99). It was made of beef, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, ancho aioli, and topped with fried jalapeño. My wife doesn’t like spicy, so I get accused of ordering this because I know I won’t have to share. While that is a benefit, I really just love this slider. Packed with texture, the beef had great flavor, and the fried jalapeños offered a great crunch. A dish can never go wrong with grilled onions, cheese, and a kicked-up aioli. My other slide was their Asian slider, which had beef with wasabi aioli and an Asian slaw that included crunchy noodles. Another wonderful combo of flavor and texture, the slaw added a terrific crunch and was a great foil to the wasabi aioli.

My salad was the Seven Saints salad. I figured if they named it after themselves, it must be good. This salad was a combination of seasoned tri-tip sirloin, spring greens tossed with lime, sesame oil, fresh jalapeño (no sharing again!), and toasted cashews. I am a huge fan of steak in a salad, and this is was a great one. The sesame oil and lime were a great combination, and the jalapeño added a great pop of flavor. One of my favorite cuts, the tri-tip was perfectly cooked and seasoned. I have also had their black and bleu salad (made with ribeye), and it is excellent.

Carl Busch

To finish off the evening, we had Seven Saints Ding Dong tribute cake ($8.49), and we chose to add vanilla ice cream ($2.49). Trust me: get the ice cream. If you liked Ding Dongs as a kid, suffice it to say you will love this dessert. It was a Ding Dong on steroids. The dessert was a wonderful chocolate cake, topped with a crisp chocolate coating with fluffy cream inside and raspberry sauce. The vanilla ice cream provided a wonderful contrast to the chocolate, and it was a fun way to end the evening with a little childhood nostalgia.

Carl Busch

There is a lot to like about Seven Saints: the atmosphere, the food, the drinks, the employees. It all adds up to a wonderful dining experience whether you want to dress up or be casual. Even if there is a wait for a table, they have a great system where they will text you when your table is ready, so you can enjoy Downtown Champaign while you wait for your text — much nicer than having to hang out at a place waiting to be called.

Seven Saints
32 E Chester St
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to midnight

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