Bistro VG

It is a tribute to veteran restaurateurs Chris and Michele Sedgwick that Bistro VG’s all-white interior feels swank and calming rather than antiseptic and dated. The couple pulled off an extreme makeover of their signature restaurant, Van Gogh’s, in 2006, and the restaurant is still one of the fine-dining bright spots in the northern suburbs.

Executive chef Eric Balderrama’s menu balances an unusually smart mix of New American favorites (meaty crab cakes with mustard beurre blanc, filet mignon with black truffle butter) and imaginative dishes that play with urbane trends. His “oxtail ragout en croute” is essentially a potpie filled with soulfully tender meat, and his piquant, exquisite steak tartare will make you wonder why this Continental classic ever fell out of favor. Desserts (tiramisu, beignets, chocolate fritters) could use a creative jolt. The finale of a meal, for now, is finishing the last sips of wine chosen from a wisely edited list of New World and French selections.