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.
From an ever-sizzling grill, Kooker's dispenses hearty American diner fare from morning until night. Daybreak eats perk up sleepy palates with selections such as omelet sandwiches piled with eggs pan-fried in real butter. On outdoor picnic-style seating, burgers, italian beef, and hot dogs nestle next to thatched piles of fries, while thick shakes and ice-cream flurries packed with crushed candy bars, fresh fruits, and snowman's tears stand by to sweeten hardhearted tongues.
Entering family-owned and operated ZaZa's Tavola Italiana feels like stepping back in time. The black-and-white family photos lining the walls give the restaurant a homey feel, while live singers covering famed crooners such as Frank Sinatra lend the scene a warm, nostalgic glow. And as they sink into the comfort of yesteryear, guests are treated to plates straight from the Italian Old World: homemade veal meatballs in house marinara sauce, chicken parmesan with linguine, and fettuccine tossed with scallops, clams, and shrimp. Martinis provide appropriately vintage complements to the entrees. The restaurant also hosts wine dinners with fixed courses and paired glasses, freeing patrons from attempting to match the color of the wine with the color of the sauce.
Boloney’s Sandwich Shop’s emerald-green awning can be found snuggly tucked away beneath the brown eaves of the Catlow Theater, a relic of 1927-era Barrington. The sandwich shop and movie theater work in tandem to fulfill guests’ two basic needs: food and mind-blowing special effects. According to an interview featured on ABC 7, the sandwich shop and theater were among the first to pioneer the in-theater meal when Boloney’s first opened in the ‘80s. Customers can chow down on hefty sammies such as the Bat-Man-Wich––stacked with ham, Muenster cheese, sprouts, and Italian dressing––for seating that extends into the theater’s lobby during the day. Or, they can grab their veggie subs, hot dogs, or tuna fish salads to-go and tote them into the theater enjoy during the show.
The chefs at Ciao Baby create hearty Italian-American dishes in their Barrington kitchen. Flecks of parsley decorate spaghetti tossed in a simple marinara sauce. Hefty chopped salads easily serve two, and come laden with gorgonzola cheese, bite-sized pasta, and butter toffee nuts. The chefs also transform cannoli into a pistachio-crusted cake for dessert. A chalkboard hangs on the dining room's yellow walls, where it announces the day's specials in multi-colored chalk or leftover alfredo sauce.
From behind the salon chair at Hair by Justyna Salon, Justyna removes unwanted length with a pair of gleaming scissors and bestows strands with new color using bowls of freshly mixed hair dye. Her fleet of trusty products, such as Moroccan Oil and Wella, aid her in the pursuit of revamping manes, and her fingers twist hair into chic updos and Windsor knots for special events.