In 1977, Eddy Ho came to America with the dream of opening his own restaurant. In the 35 years since, he has lived that dream three times over, founding a trio of establishments that spotlight the showiest styles of Japanese cooking while commemorating the year of his transpacific crossing. Whether it's filet mignon, chicken, and seafood chopped by a flurry of clicking blades on hibachi grills or a sleek roll of sushi assembled by deft hands, each entr?e arrives in a dining room decked with hints of traditional Japanese architecture, including subtle geometric patterns, crimson accents, and painstakingly manicured flora. Glasses of imported Japanese beer and sake stand ready to accompany each meal, helping diners toast to good fortune or play a glass harp rendition of their college fight song.
Before convertibles, or highways, or paved streets in Chicago's suburbs, a little field house fronted by two gas pumps sat on a two-lane dirt road that some people called North Avenue. The house's residents pumped gas for thirsty cars and whipped up meals for hungry travelers, and their little business became an oasis for those on their way in or out of the city. Times changed, and as the town grew the little business kept pace, transforming over 75 years from a gas station and tavern into Ki's Steak and Seafood.
Today, Executive Chef Daniel has a few more tools at his disposal than the original proprietor's stove top and frying pan. He works in a professionally outfitted kitchen, churning out hand-cut black angus steaks, bacon-wrapped scallops, and roast duck. Meanwhile, his saucier whips up endless batches of bernaise and bourdelaise sauce to drizzle over steaks or play a gourmet version of bobbing for apples.
The little dirt road that ran past the house became a busy, concrete vein of commerce, pumping car-fulls of customers into the establishment's parking lot. However, despite this urban sprawl, the owners have done their best to ensure that the view from the windows remains nostalgically delightful. Their restaurant sits on six acres of farmland, and its grand picture windows overlook a rustic barn occupied by peacocks, sheep, and rabbits, and framed by flower beds and ponds.
The dishes served at Kabuki Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi are almost too beautiful to eat?although their fresh ingredients will likely persuade diners to dig in anyway. Colorful maki, for instance, arrive filled with seafood such as soft shell crab, scallops, and spicy salmon and sided with swirls of sauce, while slices of sushi and sashimi are arranged to resemble artful, edible gardens. And hibachi entrees of both surf and turf varieties are even cooked with dramatic flair, sizzled on a fire-spitting tabletop grill by a skilled, heat-resistant chef.
If patrons turn their attention away from the fire and flavors emanating off of simmering hibachis, they'll notice a full service bar complete with an extensive Sake menu. Imported Sake, Saketini, and Sake cocktail are served along with Japanese, Imported and Domestic beer. A large flat-screen TV accompanies the bartender who creates daily drink specials from a wide variety of quality beverages. Kabuki Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi rounds out the dining experience in with an outdoor patio in warmer months for an added element of peace and comfort.
Jonathan’s Char House blends the experience of upscale dining with a casual ambiance. In the kitchen, the chefs pay the same attention to detail when making their homemade soups and potatoes as they do when char-grilling new york strips, rib eyes, and salmon filets. They can prepare all meats blackened or Greek–style, and the menu also features diverse options such as baby back ribs slathered in caramelized barbecue sauce and vegetarian pasta dishes. Friday night, locals pile in for an all-you-can-eat fish fry.
An extensive wine list and selection of craft beers compliments the steak and seafood, which are served in a handsome dining room boasting dark wood furnishings and a built-in fireplace to keep the kittens warm. Headshots of notable dinner guests line the wall above the bar, where crowds gather to watch the game and sip old-fashioneds. Live music wafts through the air on select nights, infusing the formal dining room with an animated spirit.
Live music and classic American fare keeps guests returning to Casey's Restaurant & Bar. Whether starting the day with a brunchtime bloody mary or winding down with a steak and a glass of wine, diners find themselves immersed in a casual atmosphere where plates are piled high. Cooks will even cater, which means Casey's fans can host get-togethers fueled by pasta, ribs, and the bands that insist on moving into customers' garages.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company?now owned by the trio of siblings?reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.