Between the years of 1904 and 1944, the Greek Revival–style mansion that now holds Eric's Porter - Haus was home to former Waukesha mayor Isaac Lain. Today, it's a bustling supper club where servers make the rounds to multiple dining rooms, one of which is equipped with a fireplace lined with fresh cookies for Santa. Chef Chris prepares Old World specialties such as black forest schnitzel made with natural range-fed veal. Another specialty is steak; tender filet mignon sizzles alongside 24-ounce porterhouse cuts. Bottles imported from Germany, Australia, Italy, Spain, and California also make appearances on the wine list.
Pacific Bistro leads diners through a whirlwind tour of Asia with a menu loaded with hibachi, sushi, and traditional Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese, and Chinese dishes. Begin Eastward adventures by pairing a crab rangoon ($7) starter or edamame ($4) with a libation from the full bar and a field trip permission slip signed by the president. Once tummies are prepped, diners can choose their own adventure with a la carte sushi ($4–$8 for two pieces) or hand the reins to a licensed knife wielder for a carefully diced teriyaki chicken hibachi dinner ($18). Or furnish tables with sumptuous entrees such as pad thai noodles ($12 for chicken, pork, or beef; $14 for shrimp), crispy duck ($25), and mango curry ($14 for chicken, pork, or beef; $16 for shrimp). Meanwhile, diapered diners can use highchairs as a launching pad for launching shrimp tempura ($8) grenades and tossing fried rice ($6–$7) confetti at newlywed birds.
Though picturesque beaches provide the most scenic reminder that Mexico abuts the ocean, Mexican-style seafood provides the tastiest. Bahia Mexican Restaurant specializes in the latter, which diners can sample by ordering a piping-hot mixed grill for two that combines shrimp, lobster, fish fillets, scallops, and octopus. However, the eatery’s kitchen staff also concocts Mexican staples, such as sizzling fajitas, tacos stuffed with succulent cuts of meat, and piquant chilies rellenos. They also sling refreshing margaritas, which slosh around in goblets rimmed with your choice of salt or pulverized diamonds.
Diamond Fresh Seafood Market & Cafe is a gathering place for fresh-caught seafood from the far reaches of the world's oceans. As daily hauls of imported and domestically snagged premium seafood arrive, the knowledgeable staff doles out creative café-style meals that include shrimp alfredo and hearty salmon burgers. Customers who prefer to cart home their catches pick up home cooking tips at cooking demonstrations by pro seafood chef Carol Mackey, who reveals the culinary secrets behind potato-encrusted sea bass and other recipes. At the monthly demos, attendees can also bring their own spirits to sip during the presentation and the resident singing trout's lounge act that follows.
Family recipes from across Italy make every spoonful of sauce and melty morsel of mozzarella at Gianni's Cafe remind you of a happy home. Start your evening with ricotta-stuffed baked eggplant rolls ($9.95). Then, trail teasers with a trinity of customizable pasta: Choose your own noodle, sauce, and ingredients with a Romanesque thumbs up or down. Options include pesto and spicy diablo sauce ($13.95 each), with add-ons such as pine nuts ($2.50) and meatballs ($3.50). For those who would rather not choose what they chews, a house specialty eliminates decision-making. Garlic, white wine, herbs, peas, and potatoes erupt from unpredictable veal vesuvio ($21.95); pollo (most dishes are $17.95) and pesce ($18.95–$31.95) are other protein-packed options. In addition to its post-meridian menu, Gianni's also serves lunch at the Kildeer location (open seven days a week), and Sunday brunch in Palatine (open Tuesday through Sunday).