Wok 'n Fire?named Best Asian Restaurant by West Suburban Living?tantalizes taste buds with a menu bursting with flavors from Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. In their specialties, chefs sear seafood, steak, and chicken with complex flavors in the wok. They craft sashimi and specialty maki rolls, as well as twirling together noodle dishes that range from japanese udon to thai curry noodles and the cantonese noodles used in ancient tugs of war between provinces. Ginger ale and flavored lemonades, both crafted in-house, hydrate throats between bites.
Decor varies across the Asian bistro's locations throughout the western suburbs, but all share dramatic lighting, sleek hardwood floors, and smooth wooden seating that all obey one gravitational constant. Sophisticated accents pervade each location, such as dangling lights that recall bells, sinuous golden dragons undulating across a wall, and partitions that mimic an abacus or twined branches.
Nuova Italia's chefs take influences and recipes from the northern and southern regions of Italy to fill plates with wood-fire pizzas and helpings of handmade pasta. After looking through the menu, dig into the insalata capricciosa, which intermixes greens, black olives, artichokes, and gorgonzola cheese ($7.95). The gnocchi della casa ($13.95) unites potato-dumpling soldiers in matching uniforms of house-made marinara before infiltrating tummies to beat back hunger insurgencies. Buffalo mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto, and shaved parmesan perch on the pizza Nuova Italia ($15) as it emerges from Nuova's wood-burning oven. For dessert, plunge sweet teeth into a piece of chocolate flourless cake ($5.95) or lap up mouthfuls of gelato, in vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut or limone flavorings ($4.95+). On some nights, live music floats through the air, scoring meals like a sousaphone scores a clown walking down the street.
Rio's Addison puts a contemporary spin on traditional dishes from Peru, Brazil, Lima, and Argentina. Using plantains, yuca, coriander, and other exotic ingredients and spices, the staff offer a new take on South American steak and seafood specialties, all served in a dining room brimming with colorful mosaic tiles. Ceviches include the Japanese/Peruvian fusion Nikkei, which uses ginger and soy sauce. Argentinean spices enliven char-grilled strip steak in the bife de chorizo. And the arroz con camarones features shrimp and rice simmering in a broth with white wine and brandy. Finish with one of seven desserts, including passion fruit cheesecake or Peruvian flan.