The cooks at Hong Kong Express prepare mongolian beef, egg foo young and other classic Chinese dishes for dine-in customers, take-out orders, and catered party trays. Their menu also features a section of classic sushi rolls fashioned from rice, crab meat, shrimp, and creamy avocado. Fresh fruit smoothies wash it all down.
At South Kawa Japanese Restaurant, sushi isn’t just a delight for the mouth; it’s a feast for the eyes. Bold colors and delicate flavors intermingle as chefs spool fresh fish and rice into more than 40 types of maki rolls, including specialties such as the American Eagle, a mélange of king crab, spicy tuna, asparagus, and two types of roe. Plates of sashimi can be made to order from more than 20 varieties of sea fare, such as yellowtail, octopus, and freshwater eel. Hot starters such as steamed seafood shumai and pan-fried chicken gyoza pair nicely with cool beverages, which diners can bring from home or squeeze from low-hanging rain clouds.
Sesame Inn’s mouth-watering menu whisks guests on culinary journeys through China, Japan, and Thailand. Seventeen stir-fried dishes, including spicy sichuan green beans and kung pao chicken with crunchy peanuts and water chestnuts, spring from traditional Chinese recipes like gold nuggets spring from fortune cookies. Chefs tuck chicken, beef, or shrimp into beds of pineapple fried rice or pad thai’s nest of egg-laced rice noodles. If diners prefer their entrees uncooked, the Kama Kaze maki showcases two types of tuna, and the vegetable maki arrives rolled with spinach, cucumber, gourd, pickles, and asparagus.
Chi Tung began as a small Chinese restaurant in 1988, but has since evolved into a 200-seat pan-Asian kingdom that houses a hibachi steak house as well as a lounge area. In the midst of several growth spurts, owners Jinny and Dan Zhao have trained their focus on upholding high culinary standards. They parceled their cooking team into three separate kitchens, each one dedicated to producing authentic Chinese, Thai, or Japanese food. In these highly specialized quarters, cooks prepare hundreds of menu items, such as mongolian beef, shrimp pad thai, and chicken satay. Although the cooks work at a steady clip, they adhere to traditional recipes and techniques when blending custom sauces and handcrafting more than 100 types of sushi.
Leonardo Toia “desperately discouraged” his kids from going into the family business, but their passion won him over, and now they help run numerous locations of the family-friendly neighborhood pizzeria. While adults peruse a menu of American and Italian favorites, such as half-pound burgers or housemade pastas smothered in tomato sauce or cheese and bacon, children 8 and younger pick anything from a free menu. Clients who wish to dine inside the comfort of their own home or submarine can have Leona’s food delivered within 60 minutes of ordering.
"They say, 'Tony, you're so crazy.' Yes, I am," celebrated chef and restauranteur Tony Hu told a Chicago Tribune writer. The comment refers to his decision to open seven restaurants within the same half-square-mile of Chinatown, a business venture viewed as ludicrous by many of his contemporaries. But the unusually close proximity of the eateries hasn't affected any of their successes, especially Lao Sze Chuan. Hu’s flagship creation opened 14 years ago and has since become legendary in the Chicago culinary scene. A huge line often snakes out the door on a Saturday night, and a visit to the restaurant prompted the following praise from one Check, Please! host: “There's no chop suey...there's no chow mein…it's not the things that you think you always think you're going to see on a Chinese menu. It's really regional food.” Inside the kitchen, chefs prepare Szechuan dishes such as dried chili chicken, Szechuan spicy rabbit, and hot pots of boiling broth, in which diners submerge lamb, shrimp, napa cabbage, and jewelry that’s gone out of fashion. Much of the menu is authentically spicy, but guests can opt for milder dishes such as steamed pork with sweet pickles or Szechuan tea-smoked duck.