Chefs at Aodake Sushi & Steak House dispatch sushi and hibachi-seared steaks beneath hanging lamps and glowing globes. Meat, vegetables, and seafood make for multicourse lunches, and a variety of kitchen entrees bolster the thronged dinner menu. At the bar, more than 20 vodkas alchemize into a variety of martinis or blocks of pure gold.
Inside Dao Sushi, Thai, and Hibachi Restaurant, eyes drink up sumptuous interior design and ornately arranged sushi as taste buds sample Thai spices and meats seared on a hibachi. Patrons let their chopsticks breathe on the outdoor patio, sip specialty cocktails under boxy lanterns, or sit on floor cushions beneath lines of Japanese text on khaki-colored walls. Noodles and vegetable slivers trail from appetizers served in martini glasses, like the protein drinks James Bond downs before chasing down Goldfinger's private airplane on foot.
Wok 'n Fire—named Best Asian Restaurant by West Suburban Living—tantalizes taste buds with a menu bursting with flavors from Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. In their specialties, chefs sear seafood, steak, and chicken with complex flavors in the wok. They craft sashimi and specialty maki rolls, as well as twirling together noodle dishes that range from japanese udon to thai curry noodles and the cantonese noodles used in ancient tugs of war between provinces. Ginger ale and flavored lemonades, both crafted in-house, hydrate throats between bites.
Decor varies across the Asian bistro's locations throughout the western suburbs, but all share dramatic lighting, sleek hardwood floors, and smooth wooden seating that all obey one gravitational constant. Sophisticated accents pervade each location, such as dangling lights that recall bells, sinuous golden dragons undulating across a wall, and partitions that mimic an abacus or twined branches.
With 15 years of culinary experience, Sushi Train's chef feels equally comfortable pan-frying traditional Japanese entrees and crafting attractively assembled rolls draped in sauces and decorative toppings. In addition to drawing from a menu that features an extensive selection of familiar maki, the chef also crafts a number of signature sushi creations that incorporate such ingredients as salmon tempura, mango sauce, and Cajun-spiced king crab. Semicircular, high-backed booths line the dining room's gently lit walls, which feature large photographs of sushi entrees. For a distinctly transpacific ambiance, the room also boasts silk screens and bamboo shoots stolen from a panda's pantry.
Wagyu-beef jalapeño poppers, baby octopus with wine sauce, oyster shooters, and fresh yellowtail carpaccio prepare stomachs for a culinary adventure at Musashi Sushi & Grill. In addition to these delectable Japanese-style starters and four menus full of maki, nigiri, and sashimi sushi, the kitchen turns out korean hits, such as bulgogi with ginger-marinated beef and sweet-potato noodles, and American-style favorites, such as steaks with mashed potatoes and blue crab cakes drizzled with white-truffle oil.
Over at the full bar, bartenders fill glasses with wine, beer, and mixed drinks. They also pour hot, flavored, and cold sake and can even turn the fermented-rice drink into a Saketini cocktail.
The diners pass banquettes, which range in color from the aquamarine of a shallow sea to the darker purples of deep water, and opt for a private booth. Behind the bar, standing glass partitions painted in intricate designs reminiscent of Eastern calligraphy divide ranks of bottles. Plates of fresh-cut sashimi descend onto a neighboring table, and maki rolls flaunt loads of king crab, lobster, and kanpyo, shavings of a dried gourd. A waitress strides across the dark hardwood floor and slides menus across the diners' black lacquered table, carefully pointing out her favorite appetizers, which range from duck and wrapped scallops to fresh oysters by the half dozen. In the kitchen, chefs simmer red wine, yielding a thicker sauce that drapes across filet mignon or helps prove to an aunt that the bib she knit hasn’t been going unused.
Tairyo Japanese Steakhouse's team of tableside chefs prepares hibachi-style cuisine right before patrons' eager eyes. Diners study the menu and perform tongues stretches in anticipation as their table's built-in hibachi grill heats up to maximum firepower. Savory smells waft across the dining area before darting knives signal the completed searing of 9 ounces of center-cut tenderloin ($30). Sea scallops dance across the grill and dive onto plates ($21), and tuna steak sizzles and browns ($21). The vegetarian dinner furnishes palates with grilled veggies so they don't have to get their fix of greens by carving up Kermit dolls ($16).