Before guests can even make out the dark red calligraphy on Chinese Palace Restaurant's sign, they’ll catch a whiff of the enticing scent of Cantonese spices emanating from the front door. The source of these delectable aromas is the eatery's kitchen, where chefs busy themselves whipping up chop suey, savory fried rice, and authentic Cantonese dishes. Diners can sample any number of Chinese specialties on the five tabletops that speckle the tiny intimate space. On busy nights, they can opt for carryout to enjoy dishes at home in the company of loved ones, friendly roommates, or obliging mirrors.
Fortune Kookie Restaurant silences stomachs' grumbling cries for diverse Chinese cuisine with the numerous pork, chicken, beef, seafood, and vegetarian dishes populating its menu. Plates of sesame chicken hold lightly battered morsels doused in a tart, spicy sauce ($7.25 for lunch; $10.95 for dinner) to sate caged teeth accustomed to gnawing on tongues and tree bark shaped like steak for flavor. Frozen taste buds thaw under the rain of the fiery sauce that accompanies the stir-fried mix of bean curd, vegetables, and meat in the szechwan tofu with beef ($15.25). Much like a delusional pirate, the Eight Treasure tofu considers its golden till of fried shrimp, scallops, and squid as an ocean-drawn fortune ($13.95). Vegetarians and disguised sauropods indulge in vegetarian entrees such as stir-fried silver-thread noodles ($9.25 for vegetarian; $11.50 with meat) or the Farmer's Market, a grocer's stand of vegetables, including baby corn, broccoli, and fresh mushrooms ($8.95).
At iChef Chinese Cuisine, the chefs don't believe their patrons should be limited to the same Chinese food American suburbanites have been eating for decades. That doesn't mean you can't find familiar favorites like crab rangoon, lo mein, kung pao beef, and chop suey there. Rather, it means that in addition to American-style Chinese food, the restaurant also offers authentically prepared Chinese selections. That menu features traditional dishes where meat, seafood, and veggies alike have starring roles: for example, spicy beef mingles among tripe, fish fillets come with ample servings of chinese broccoli or baby bok choy, and heaps of noodles compose Sichuan?style soups with a kick.
The integration of American and Chinese tastes extends to weekday lunch, too, when entrees are served with soup, rice, and fireworks suitable for July Fourth and Chinese New Year. Weekends, however, host dim sum service with a more traditional flair. The bilingual menu at iChef Chinese Cuisine attempts to satisfy nearly every craving, so vegetarians shouldn't expect to feel left out. The authentic menu offers tofu dishes, spicy saut?ed vegetables, and filling mushroom-centered entrees. Meanwhile, the "Unique Vegetarian" section of the Americanized menu supplements the usual sauced veggies with imitation meat made with soybean, wheat, and rice protein.
Tasty Thai’s chefs have been keeping the citizens of Vernon Hills stuffed with Thailand’s spicy, basil-speckled food for more than 15 years. During that time, they have served countless orders of homemade egg rolls, color-coded curries, and Thailand’s beloved stir-fry dish, pad thai. To complete meals, the eatery’s entrees can be bookended with a bowl of hot-and-sour tom yum soup and a plate of Thai custard made with a blend of eggs and coconut milk.
Twin Dragons Restaurant's chefs prepare a sprawling menu of Chinese cuisine without the use of MSG, lard, or butter. Using high-flame woks, they stir-fry their entrees with very little oil, ensuring that their meals—made with hand-trimmed lean beef and 99% fat-free chicken breast—do not carry greasy residues. They also gladly keep out specific ingredients upon request.
A native of Hong Kong, Chef Brian Eng masterminded a menu of healthy family recipes infused with fresh, handpicked ingredients and devoid of MSG. A smattering of starters, such as a duo of crispy egg rolls ($3.25) and hot-and-sour soup ($2.95–$4.75) prevent mouths from chugging a bottle of soy sauce. Made-to-order mains include the beef in a nest, sliced beef doused in onion-infused gravy nestled in a soft bed of Cantonese pan-fried noodles ($7.25–$10.75), and the empress chicken, a jewel-encrusted chicken frolicking with peppers and onions in a barbecue sweet-and-sour sauce ($7.00–$10.50). Diners can cast a net around the silver shrimp and scallops served on broccoli next to a pool of cream sauce ($10.45–$15.50). A quintet of almond cookies ($1.25) rounds out the meal more eloquently than a soliloquy from a bilingual Shakespeare impersonator.