Noodle and rice dishes laced with influences from Mongolia and China leap from the pages of Dragon Palace's menu to frolic between chopsticks. Clouds of exotically scented steam rise from shrimp, beef, and tofu and call to mind distant vistas. Dishes call on fresh fistfuls of string beans, baby corn, pineapple, and other common scarecrow character witnesses, which parade alongside savory morsels of lobster or scallop. Paintings of koi fish gaze from Dragon Palace's wall, and delivery, catering, and carry-out services launch warming dispatches to parties and businessmen attempting to telecommute to food fights.
Though its Cantonese and Mandarin cuisine reflects some of China's oldest culinary traditions, Dragon Inn's Chicago Heights location also nurtures an evolving menu that includes sushi. Specialties include the 9-ounce hong kong porterhouse steak and the crispy duck. Accompanying housemade sauces are customized to guests' tastes, adding flavor to entrees and egg rolls that are folded by hand and filled with pork, shrimp, and vegetables.
At Buffet City and Hibachi Grill and Sushi Buffet, eaters serve themselves international fare from Mexico, Italy, China, and more. The restaurant's multiple islands of cuisine welcome pairs or quartets to sample a diversity of flavors, ranging from orange chicken and lo mein to dessert items such as cupcakes and tilapia. A hibachi steak bar and grill showcases flame-cooked, Japanese-style proteins that are typically cooked in an open-top container with a 12-foot blowtorch, and sushi rolls sate diners who prefer their fish fresh from the chilly ocean waters.
At BC Osaka, the chefs aren’t merely makers of food. Instead, they’re ringmasters, orchestrating the lively chaos of a hibachi grill into a meal that’s one part entree and two parts performance. At the island hibachi stations, chefs show off their mastery of food prep and knife work as they elaborate on an ancient Japanese barbecue tradition, resulting in tasty meals of filet mignon, garlic lobster, and teriyaki chicken. Each showman-cook-in-training practices their craft in front of their veteran workmates⎯many of them with up to 25 years of experience⎯for at least six months before earning a spot behind the grill and the traditional steak-shaped epaulettes of a professional hibachi chef.
In addition to hibachi shows, BC Osaka also houses a sushi bar lined with red-leather barstools, where guests spin in anticipation of tempura-shrimp dragon rolls topped with creamy avocado fillets, or exotic morsels of sea urchin and giant clam. A buffet also sates any endless appetite that makes its way past the dining area’s dark polished wood and tasseled Japanese lanterns.
Asian Harbor serves a blend of Japanese and Thai dishes in a sleek, modern dining room. Rich Thai spices turn curries the same deep-orange hue as the walls, which glow with light from hanging cylindrical lamps. A neon-lined sushi bar dishes out more than 20 specialty rolls. And a lengthy list of cooling cocktails, sake, and wine balances hot dishes on the menu such as Spicy Basil, an entree of sautéed meat, snow peas, fresh basil, chili, and bell peppers. Unlike libraries beefing with Confucius, the wok section of the menu includes several Chinese classics, such as general tso's chicken and egg foo yong.