When Basil Restaurant opened in 2009, the Columbus Dispatch reported on owner Rhome Ruanphae's inspiration: his mother’s string of successful Thai restaurants—beginning with Thai Village in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood—that she ran with her husband while he was growing up. Rhome borrowed his mother’s culinary mastery for Basil, which teleports taste buds to Thailand with a menu of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine. Chefs gather rice or egg noodles to lay the foundation for many entrees, such as specialty kee mow, a soft or crispy maelstrom of rice noodles with thai basil, tomatoes, and bell peppers. The menu also features a rainbow of curries, soups, salads, and appetizers to keep ravenous diners from eating their napkins.
The seasoned confines of a former antique shop welcome diners to Basil Restaurant, decked out with bare brick and a retro advertisement for ice painted on the back wall. As a glittering chandelier casts light on colorful curries, wine-dark panels of varnished wood gaze at diners from the wall, and exposed lengths of ductwork add a neoindustrial aesthetic without the overkill of steam-powered dessert trays or austere Orwellian maitre d's.
The cobbled stonework that comprises Coaches Bar & Grill's exterior serves as an apt metaphor for how hard it can be to turn down items from the roster of burgers, pizza, and sandwiches. This cuisine basks in the glow of flat-screen TVs that stream a steady flow of sports games. As monitors display feats of athleticism, the kitchen staff displays feats of culinary prowess by cooking half-pound patties bedecked with cheese and bacon, along with a mélange of hot subs, sandwiches, and buffalo-chicken pizzas. From behind a dark wooden bar, their bartending counterparts pour beers and cocktails, which they disseminate to far-flung diners by shooting them out of a T-shirt cannon. The team also brings its serving game to the outdoors patio, where umbrellas shade picnic tables granting clear sightlines to several televisions.
Deep-fried sweet potato, jalapeño aioli, honey-infused wasabi. These aren’t ingredients found on the traditional sushi menu, but the chefs at Red Bar & Sushi somehow incorporate them into their lengthy repertoire of specialty rolls. The team puts their imagination to good use, designing innovative maki such as the UFC roll—crab, eel, jalapeño, and cucumber rolled together and deep-fried in a tempura batter—or the simple, but sophisticated, Samba roll made from tuna, cilantro, and avocado. Red Bar’s chefs offer the classics as well, including fresh servings of salmon, yellowtail, and octopus sashimi, and what they call “standard” sushi rolls, like the california roll crammed with crab and avocado or the philadelphia roll made with cream cheese.
You can hear heels click-clicking in time with the music during each group lesson at Fred Astaire studio. The same wood floor here transforms into a gathering place for the school’s dancers when the studio hosts its regular dance parties. On those nights, students come to practice the moves they learned in class, be they social or ballroom dancers. Instructors also teach private dance classes so you can brush up on moves before a wedding or perform jury duty as a mime.
Momo2 encourages friends and families to pummel bowling pins, execute pool-trick shots, and belt out classic karaoke tunes. Patrons can quell belly rumblings with selections from Momo2's expansive menu of pub fare and drinks while comrades compete for lane supremacy on one of four bowling lanes ($2.50–$4.50/person). Brush up on geometry at the alley's twin pool tables ($2–$3.50 for an hour/person) and wear bowling shoes ($3/person) while tapping the eight ball in accordance with new regulations from the U.S. Department of Billiards. Aspiring singers can perform renditions of more than 90,000 songs in 10 different karaoke rooms of varying sizes ($25/hour for a medium room). Each karaoke room delights visitors with unique decor, such as a wall-mounted black hole that occasionally summons the specter of Elvis for a duet.