Anna Makmok and her mother, Noy, have grown accustomed to sharing their contemporary pan-Asian cuisine with Chicagoans. In addition to helping found Thalia Spice, Anna and Noy have spread their influence by founding Anna's Asian Grill & Sushi Bar and Anna's Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar. The common theme uniting all of these restaurants is their eclectic cuisine, which consists of Thai, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Laotian cooking featured alongside fare from other nations.
Noy looks to put her own mark on these familiar recipes through experimentation. This leads to dishes such as the fried avocado stuffed with spicy tuna, which was featured on an episode of Chicago's Best.
Choose Your Texture
When pairing wine with spicier cuisines, it helps to pick something with a touch of sweetness, such as an off-dry riesling. The delicacy of sushi means that an equally delicate wine?think vinho verde for white or pinot noir for red?works well. For heartier, savory dishes, consider something with fruit-forward flavors and a bit more boldness: merlot. If all else fails, choose your favorite bottle of wine and enjoy.
An airy, stylish dining area and full bar sets the stage for Izumi's contemporary Japanese cuisine, offering a colorful spread of both raw and cooked fish dishes on its menu. One of the friendly, attentive servers can kick off your fish-fest with the wasabi mayo potato salad ($5), a combo of mashed potatoes, crisp cucumber, and zesty izumi wasabi, or the seared tuna tataki ($10), which sears its titular thick red fish in tangy lime soy sauce and arrives bejeweled with avocados. Prepare your digestive fishing nets for the magnificent maki, Izumi's signature dish. The succulent strawberry maki ($15) celebrates another successful fruit-fishing season, sporting a super-white tuna and crunchy tempura center layered with spicy tuna and slices of strawberry. Fried prawns and cucumber center the dragon roll ($14), which comes drizzled with mayo and glazed with eel sauce, while the Pacific Surf maki ($12) hangs 10 on your tongue with its blend of Hawaiian yellowtail, jalapeño, and cream cheese topped with tempura crumbs. This Groupon is also good for drinks, such as the sake, which you can order alone ($12–$25) or genetically fused with other spirits to form various sake flights and saketinis ($8–$15). The restaurant also allows patrons to bring their own wine, with no corkage fee added.
Dine under a wash of lights that flatter all complexions and handily protect developing photographs with today's Groupon to Red Light, a pan-Asian boutique of bountiful bliss managed by the same restaurateurs as Gioco, Marché, and Opera. Citysearchers voted Red Light the Best Chicago Pan Asian Food in 2007, and Zagat rates the imaginative fare excellent at this buzzing spot, where the food, service, and atmosphere are as intoxicating as the drinks. With today's deal, you get $50 worth of pan-Asian cuisine for $25. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
Centerstage Chicago reviewer Kate Schwartz noted that, after the move to Restaurant Row from its former Gold Coast location, Dragonfly Mandarin "has staked its claim among some of Chicago's culinary elite." It has done so with the help of Executive Chef Michael Lin, who crafts authentic Chinese and Asian dishes with high-end ingredients such as flank steak and king prawns. From the unctuously decadent—pork-belly ramen soup with poached eggs—to the crisp and refreshing—cucumber-mint salad with ponzu sauce—the entrees step up to impress his patrons' taste buds, as evidenced by the Best of Citysearch award for Chinese food in 2007 and an OpenTable Diners' Choice award for Asian food. The decor is as sleek and sophisticated as the upscale cuisine. On the first floor, elegantly fanned umbrellas protect the walls from fumbled chopsticks. Long, ornate lanterns illuminate the balcony at the top of the stairway to the second floor, where club lights and a dance floor facilitate good times in the late-night lounge. Behind the wooden bar, Kabuki-like masks wear dramatic expressions, peering at guests in plush, red banquettes as they drink in tunes emanating from the DJ booth.