Every four–six weeks, Cemitas Puebla's owner and chef, Tony Anteliz, sends a family member to Mexico to gather ingredients such as chipotle peppers and giant cinnamon sticks. He relies on time-tested family recipes honed in Puebla, Mexico to assemble these imported ingredients into sandwiches, tacos, and salsas that have been praised in the Chicago Tribune and on WTTW 11’s Check, Please!. Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives highlighted the restaurant’s signature cemita sandwich: sesame-seed-bread laden with fresh oaxaca cheese, papalo—a fragrant herb grown in Tony's mother's garden—house-stewed chipotles, and a choice of meats such as breaded pork and carne asada. Inspired by Lebanese shawarmas, tacos arabes begin with layers of pork shoulder and onion skewered on a rotisserie. The stack of meat rotates as slowly as a ferris wheel being ridden by a herd of elephants before a member of the open-air-kitchen staff shaves off tender meat and tucks it into pita-like tortillas.
The chefs at Pavilion Restaurant's two locations elegantly blend and fuse flavors from European and American cuisines into gourmet entrées. Drawing from the French, the chefs sear foie gras a la Versailles appetizers, presenting each rich morsel on a crisp pear slice dressed with signature sauce and a witty description from the previous night's salon. The marinade of soy sauce, teriyaki, orange juice, and fresh thyme on the Asian skirt steak expands the scope of the menu to Eastern territories. The chefs focus on Italian tradition as they crown the seafood linguine with fresh shrimp, scallops, and alfredo sauce. Stationed at the bar, bartenders fill glasses with a selection of international wines, beers, and expatriate cocktails.
Patrons can relax and unwind their ears after a long week with live jazz music at the Northbrook location as they split butter crepes with red caviar from the late-night menu.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Forks twirl through build-your-own pastas in a wide array of sauces and toppings, which lead Pastabilities' menu of Italian fare. Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, chicken, and beef steep in warm lakes of marinara, regaling nostrils with tales of sun-soaked tomato fields and scarecrows' first steps. A full line of retail sauces and pastas crafted in-house for shipment to doorsteps begs to fill steaming pots in home kitchens, and catering trays parade pasta and panini for up to six people or three sets of Hall & Oates impersonators.
At Sushiyaki, chefs roll up creative cuts of sushi, glaze meats with teriyaki, and whip up noodle entrees complemented by Japanese beers, wines, and teas. Red walls, eclectic decorations, and tunes from guest DJs fill the traditional dining area, and Japanese-style private rooms feature low tables and floor cushions. Bento boxes and sushi buffets let visitors plan their own taste-bud excursions, during which the smooth, black sushi bar becomes an airport check-in desk inexplicably staffed by fish-slicing chefs.