Steven Platcow and his team at PM Prime hope to wow and inspire diners through the food, wine and atmosphere at their new North Shore steakhouse, which pays homage to some of the most famous pioneers of aviation.
Together, they’ve transformed the iconic Gabriel’s in Highwood to something entirely new.
The black enamel walls of showcase more than 200 vintage photographs depicting Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Buzz Aldrin and Bessie Coleman, among others.
“No. 1, I’m a commercial pilot,” Platcow of Lake Forest said, explaining why he chose an aviation theme for his elegant fine-dining restaurant. “No. 2, it’s a metaphor for excellence. We’re hoping to inspire our guests to pursue excellence in their own lives.”
Showing aviation greats “in their prime of life,” Platcow said, ties back to the restaurant’s name and sets the stage for the menu, created by Lake Bluff chef Dominic Zumpano.
“We’re very technique-driven,” Zumpano said. “We’re not cutting corners,” just like the pioneers gracing the restaurant’s walls.
“We’re doing things the way they should be done,” he continued, which includes making six breads daily, crackers and even ketchup to compliment the dishes.
Sommelier Bob Bansberg has three wine selections in mind for every item on the menu.
“I’ve got an idea of what I want with that dish, but then I’m going to talk to the customer and find out what they want,” he said. “They’re the most important person in the restaurant.”
The lower-level Terlato Room dining features a floor-to-ceiling display of 4,000 bottles of wine kept at a steady 52 degrees.
“The wine elevates the food,” Bansberg said. “The food is always the engine.”
PM Prime’s menu includes soup, salad, seafood, chicken, pasta, chops and a wide offering of steaks.
Zumpano’s favorite steak is the 20-ounce, 35-day dry-aged-dry bone-in rib eye.
“It eats wonderful,” Zumpano said. “It’s a steak-lover’s steak.”
Another personal favorite is the salmon.
“Right now, it’s king salmon with carrots that are locally sourced and a little bit of the nouveau technique with potato puree and a little horseradish,” he said.
Steaks are the mainstay of the menu, but everything else is subject to change based on availability.
“Certain items will run for a week, two weeks, a month, as long as we can get it, it’s consistent, it’s still good and it’s seasonal,” Zumpano said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone. We change based on what’s available.”
Osso bucco — a Gabriel’s classic — is a nod to the former restaurant.
“It was a longtime favorite here, so we decided to put it on our menu with our little twist,” Zumpano said.
Platcow, Zumpano and Bansberg feel PM Prime offers diners a top-notch, River North experience on the North Shore.
“In a nutshell, we’re all about service, hospitality, making people feel good about themselves and giving them a wonderful dining experience,” Bansberg said.
Platcow intends to grow the PM Prime network nationally, with a different set of vintage photos on the walls of each restaurant.
“We hope to cover the drama of human achievement,” he said.
Located at 310 Green Bay Road in Highwood, PM Prime is open for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For reservations, call 847-433-0600.
• To view a video, go to lakeforest.suntimes.com.