In April, we stopped by Level 257 at Woodfield Mall to check out the soft opening of Namco’s new Pac-Man themed restaurant. This is a fine dining restaurant with a geeky undertow; a gaming lounge features classic games from Centipede and Space Invaders to networked Mario Kart, basketball and air hockey. Also on site is a bowling alley with Pac-Man decorating details, a gift shop, and one of the biggest Pac-Man games in existence.

But the focus of this place is really the food. Chefs come from around the world. The steaks are USDA Prime, the food is organically sourced, the water is filtered on site (both still and sparkling are complimentary), the pizza is tossed within sight of diners, the cocktails are handcrafted on site, and almost everything is made from scratch, with a few exceptions.

The menu’s most popular dishes include lobster mac and cheese, seared trout, “Filet Mig-nom” and the bacon apple pork chop. Appetizers include homemade Italian gnocchi and Tiki Rumaki, bacon-wrapped beef and pork meatballs with pepper jack cheese and a pineapple jalapeno glaze. The dessert menu features Chocolate Power Pellets, a delectable creation that consists of powdered beignets filled with liquid chocolate that spurts out if you cut into them (hint: eat them whole). They’re topped with Pop Rocks.

Entrees cost between $20-$30, desserts go for about $8. Level 257, located near Sears and Rainforest Cafe (with no mall entry) will celebrate a ribbon-cutting and grand opening on April 25 and will be the headquarters of Pac-Man’s 35th anniversary sometime around May 23; rumors abound of appearances by championship Bears players and a person who has actually beat Pac-Man’s highest level.

The service we experienced was exceptional (they erred on the side of more attention than we even needed and were very nice). Check this place out when you get a chance at www.level257.com.

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