As I mentioned in our last post reviewing ShadowView Brewing, we’re tasting our way through McHenry County in order to preview a couple restaurants included in McHenry County Restaurant Week. Next up – Duke’s Kitchen and Alehouse in downtown Crystal Lake. As a newbie to the area, I’ve always heard great things about the restaurant. You also gotta love the fact that many of their ingredients are locally sourced and are either organic or practice sustainable farming methods. We were very impressed with the restaurant and agree with all the rave reviews. 

Disclosure: Our family was a provided complimentary meal in exchange for a review. I was not required to express a particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.

Highlights of Duke’s Alehouse: 

  • Get your drink on.  So. Many. Choices. There’s wine (I chose a Malbec), bourbon, specialty cocktails, and of course beer. With so many choices, it only made sense to try a flight of beer. My husband’s fav? The coconut porter, by far.  

Enjoying a date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake Illinois.

  • Amazing appetizers. We started out with green bean tempura. It was just right – lightly fried and a huge serving. And the teriyaki ginger dipping sauce? It was the perfect complement.

Enjoying a date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake Illinois.

I also heard great things about the togarashi fries (hand-cut fries topped with teriyaki and scallions), so had to try that as well. It was delish, although I would probably request to go lighter on the toppings. I just wanted a taste of the fries, so I was happy to see that they offered sides of that and also the Mac and Cheese. Now, let me tell you – the Mac and Cheese is pure comfort. So, so good!

Enjoying a date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake Illinois.

  • Entrees. Everything on the menu sounded so good that I really had a hard time choosing an entree. I am so glad that I decided to try Duke’s Grain Bowl with brown rice, chickpeas, farro, lentils. The grains were then topped with sweet potatoes, peppers, avocadoes. I figured I needed more protein so I added grilled chicken. The crunchy texture of the kale chips and toasted almonds made it even better, and then everything comes together with the chipotle mayo. The portions were huge and definitely filling, so I took the rest home. It was even good the next day!

Enjoying a date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake Illinois.

My husband chose the Duke’s Burger, a pretzel burger made with ground bison and topped with a chipotle bacon jam, mayo, and white cheddar. Initially he though the burger was a little too small for him, but after a few bites found it packed with so much flavor.

Enjoying a date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake Illinois.

  • Delicious desserts. We are never one to pass desserts, especially when it’s made in-house. At the suggestion of our waitress, we tried the coffee creme brulee, made with coffee from local roaster Conscious Cup. I absolutely devoured it! Made from Ethereal Confections chocolate, we had to try the Vegan Chocolate Torte. If you’re a fan of dark chocolate, you’ll like the torte. But I have to admit, I did like the creme brulee better. 

Enjoying a date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake Illinois.

Enjoying a date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake Illinois.

Bottom Line:

Yes, the restaurant does live up to the hype. If you live in the area, #McHenryCoRestaurant Week is the perfect time to try it out!

Tips to enjoy Duke’s Alehouse:

  • Check out their website for daily specials.
  • Visit during McHenry County Restaurant Week when they are offering lunch and dinner specials. You’ll have the option to choose the grain bowl (again, highly recommend) and the chocolate torte for dessert.
  • Bring the kids! Not only was this great for date night, but they also have a kids menu. Honestly, you can probably feed all the kids with Mac n Cheese entree.

Nitty Gritty:

Websitehttp://www.thedukeabides.com/
Location: 110 North Main Street, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Downtown Crystal Lake by the train tracks.
HoursSunday-Thursday 11:30 AM-1:00 AM, Friday-Saturday 11:30 AM – 2:00 AM
Parking: Street parking or parking located at the lots within walking distance

Read about our McHenry County restaurant review — ShadowView Brewing in Woodstock!

Date night at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen in Crystal Lake