When Basil Restaurant opened in 2009, the Columbus Dispatch reported on owner Rhome Ruanphae's inspiration: his mother?s string of successful Thai restaurants?beginning with Thai Village in Chicago?s Wicker Park neighborhood?that she ran with her husband while he was growing up. Rhome borrowed his mother?s culinary mastery for Basil, which teleports taste buds to Thailand with a menu of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine. Chefs gather rice or egg noodles to lay the foundation for many entrees, such as specialty kee mow, a soft or crispy maelstrom of rice noodles with thai basil, tomatoes, and bell peppers. The menu also features a rainbow of curries, soups, salads, and appetizers to keep ravenous diners from eating their napkins.
The seasoned confines of a former antique shop welcome diners to Basil Restaurant, decked out with bare brick and a retro advertisement for ice painted on the back wall. As a glittering chandelier casts light on colorful curries, wine-dark panels of varnished wood gaze at diners from the wall, and exposed lengths of ductwork add a neoindustrial aesthetic without the overkill of steam-powered dessert trays or austere Orwellian maitre d's.
The staple of Sushi Rock’s menu is its selection of roughly 50 sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, which collect multiple Japanese flavors into one neat package. The Sushi Rock roll alone packs a punch of shrimp tempura, crabstick, salmon, tuna, asparagus, and masago. A slate of USDA Prime steaks and fresh seafood entrees such as sesame-seared tuna complement the sushi-bar creations. Each meticulously plated dish arrives in Sushi Rock's ultra-modern dining space, where backlit bottles glisten against a cityscape mural in the bar area, and color blocks of red and black pop in the dimly lit dining areas. Together, Sushi Rock’s choice food and hip vibe earned it a No. 1 ranking on CityVoter's Best Sushi list in 2010.
The chefs at Blue Elephant Restaurant craft Thai curries, Japanese sushi, and Italian pasta dishes, tying them all together with the common thread of fresh ingredients and careful preparation. They specially order ingredients that are not available locally to ensure that each dish contains the freshest possible items. Basil leaves flavor the Thai-style basil chicken, and cashews add salt and crunch to mango chicken. Within sushi rolls, thinly sliced fish such as tuna and salmon complement the silky texture of cream cheese and avocado.
Prior to establishing the restaurant, the owners committed themselves to observing environmentally responsible building practices. As a result, the entire building is constructed from sustainable and recyclable materials. Energy-efficient light bulbs illuminate the dining room, and a geo-thermal heating and cooling system regulates the temperature. On stormy days, an onsite pond directs raindrops into the soil, preventing them from falling into a gutter or discarded chip bag.
Balance Pan-Asian Grille is a grassroots Asian-American restaurant. Their staff believes that every restaurant should be like theirs?one that serves from-scratch, healthy food made from fresh ingredients, noting that if customers wanted a microwaved meal, they wouldn?t go out to eat. The name Balance is a reference to restaurant's flavorful bowls, which contain a balance of proteins, carbs, and vegetables.
In the kitchen, Head Chef Jang, who worked for years at his parents' traditional Chinese restaurant, heats up the wok to create fusion recipes such as sweet butternut squash soup and vegan potstickers. He also cooks vegetarian and vegan dishes built on brown rice, salad greens, and tofu. Jang and his staffers often design their seasonal menus using fresh, farm-to-table ingredients, and they eschew any produce or proteins that are classified as genetically modified organisms or that have been handled by robots at any point during the harvesting process.
Sushi on the Roll Sushi on the Roll's adroit chefs carefully wrap vinegar-sprinkled rice, nori, and fresh seafood into creations that won the restaurant Best Sushi on the 2010 Fox 8 Akron-Canton Hot List. Classic maki favorites such as an eel or salmon roll satisfy piscine cravings, and spicy rolls such as the Moffa, layered with spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, work their pleasing pyromancy on palates. The eatery's chefs also host periodic hands-on Sushi 101 classes, which divulge the secrets of making nigiri and maki rolls as well as how to grab a good night's sleep by stuffing pillows with perfectly fluffy rice.
Shen's Szechuan & Sushi's experienced chef, who hails from Chongqing, China, fuses spicy Chinese dishes with Japanese plates for a pan-Asian experience during lunch and dinner. Formerly Mr. Lee's, Shen's Szechuan & Sushi underwent a name transformation when Mr. Lee retired and his former steadfast employee, Shen, took over as the owner and head chef. Food from the Szechuan province is characterized by peppercorn and hot pepper, which is why doctors advise patients to avoid rubbing it in paper cuts. At Shen's, the piquant flavor profile takes the forms of peppercorn calamari with jalapeños, spicy dumplings, and Cheng Du pork, which is fried with garlic, ginger, and Szechuan chili pepper. Classic and relatively mild sushi rolls, such as those of the tuna and California varieties, complement the fiery entrees. Sleek tables, soft booths with undulating backboards, and minimalist hanging lamps imbue the dining room with a modern feel, which is warmed up with an amber color palette and traditional Eastern patterns. Wooden sushi boats artfully showcase a rainbow of fresh fish, echoing the room's square-wood columns and the colorful filigree that ornaments massive vases. A flat-screen television and an overhead projector enable guests to personalize parties that they host in the restaurant, and a space for live music gives runaway chopsticks a chance to try the drums.:m]]