Executive Chef Keith Johnson pairs premium ingredients with homemade touches to build Chart House's menu of hearty gourmet fare. Canadian walleye, scallops wrapped in apple-smoked bacon, hand-cut steaks of premium corn-fed cattle, and Alaskan snow crab form the basis of mouthwatering dishes, with unique elements including housemade applesauce, seven-spice butter, and grade-A pure maple syrup enhancing the already heady flavors. A Friday night fish fry welcomes guests to the softly lit dining room throughout the season of Lent, and regular live music events fill the air with sounds more melodious than the yawns of an opera singer.
The restaurant, which opened in 1968, is part of a larger event center that has indoor and outdoor reception sites used for weddings, corporate events, and Juggalo Championship Wrestling competitions. Located on the shores of Lake Kingsley, Chart House offers picturesque lakeside and garden views.
Warm light and modern décor greet diners at Sawa Japan, and hibachi chefs dazzle diners with adroit teppanyaki-cooking showmanship. Lobster tail and filet mignon pirouette through the air and gently alight on an open hibachi grill. At the opposite end of the cooking spectrum, sushi chefs arrange raw morsels into dozens of à la carte sushi and signature-roll selections. Artful sushi presentations match the modern ambiance of the sushi bar, which extends into the dining area where soft music and large, airy windows evoke a peaceful climate.
Ronin Cafe's colorful menu of creative mouth entertainment combines spicy Thai specialties with Japanese dishes. Appetizers of grilled satay chicken ($5.95), with marinated cucumbers and peanut sauce, and deep-fried tofu ($4.75), served with sweet chili sauce and relish, bang the stomach gong before a delicate kabuki of sushi and sashimi unfolds. Along with various nigiris ($2), sashimis ($3), and vegan makis (6 pieces, $4–$6), specialty small rolls (4–6 pieces, $6–$12), such as the spicy yellowtail with garlic chili, and specialty big rolls (8 pieces, $14 and up) are tenderly crafted with shrimp and crab by expert chefs and christened with creative names such as dragon, red scorpion, white elephant, and enraged anteater. The indecisive and the nigiri novices can take the splitting headache out of menu decryptography by opting instead for Ronin Cafe's omakase ("trust") service, in which diners simply find a comfortable chair, name a price limit, and trust the chef to select the appropriate meal via telepathy.
With a steady rolling hand and a decade of experience, chef Wei of Fin Sushi commands an enticing, elegantly plated array of creative sushi rolls and classic Japanese entrees. Up from the depths comes the mighty Godzilla roll—a 10-piece titan of radioactively spicy salmon in dinosaur-green avocado and wasabi mayo ($19.95)—to challenges the Dragon roll to fiery combat, battling against eight slices of seaweed-wrapped tempura shrimp and mayonnaise ($15.95). Put your dining destiny in Wei's able hands with an order of Matsu sushi, 10 chef-selected and arranged pieces side kicked by one traditional roll ($24.95). Patrons can try a steaming plate of yakiniku in chicken ($17.95) or black Angus steak ($19.95), enlivened with tongue-twisting kimchi and spicy garlic sauce, or stick to the nigiri and sashimi menu to remain as raw as a professional wrestler.
At Firehouse Grille, meat is serious business. When dinner rolls around, the aromas of sirloin and new york strip steaks fill the room. These tender cuts arrive at tables accompanied by classic sides such as onion rings and baked potatoes, but even that isn't enough to grant them top billing. No, that belongs to the burgers, each one a testament to the victual artistry of Firehouse's chefs. Molded from certified Angus ground chuck, the patties are garnished with specialty toppings such as bacon, barbecue sauce, and gooey mozzarella cheese. The patties seem to have mastered the buddy system, as no burger is complete without at least two. They're also joined by an impressive selection of draft beers, all of which are perfect for sipping or dunking tater tots into.