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.
Each meal at Walker's Charhouse is an artistic process. Chefs cut every piece of meat fresh by hand each day before lowering it onto the broiler or the grill. They specialize in fresh USDA-choice angus steaks, but their refrigerators also brim with Lake Superior whitefish and Atlantic salmon, ribs, and pork chops. Near that crowded ice chest, they prepare each sauce, dressing, soup, and dessert with care.
Following the dishes into the small dining room, one stands beneath walls chronicling the charming history of Naperville, including Christmas 1957 when the town got its first puppy. When not preparing burgers, steaks, and seafood, the staff of Walker's Charhouse has found time to support local churches and schools and partnered with other businesses in 2010 to send aid to victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
Chef Walter Dobrovolny and a skilled culinary crew infuse tender steaks and fresh seafood with Australian, Italian, and Mexican flair at Branmor's American Grill. Diners can pluck entrees from a populous dinner menu, which negotiates taste buds' demands with char-grilled top sirloin steak gorgonzola ($22) or a full slab of Walt's barbecued ribs ($22), slathered in homemade barbecue sauce. Alternatively, lobster pasta ($25) entangles Maine lobster, grape tomatoes, and broccoli florettes into a velvety nest of linguine. The restaurant's lunch menu depicts hearty sandwiches, such as a grilled-cheese panini ($7), and pretzel chicken ($13), which diners can pair with their choice of salad to arrange a championship tag team that can quell clamorous bellies into silent submission. Sociable hedges hobnob with guests on the outdoor patio, and painted cityscapes warmly glow in Branmor's dining room as guests sidle into cozy booths that, unlike a child at an investment banking luncheon, remain seated for the duration of each meal.
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.
Traditional Japanese recipes and cooking styles continue to inspire the chefs at Shinto Naperville. Mushrooming bursts of flame erupt from stainless-steel hibachis as they sear diners' orders tableside. In between shuffling platefuls of scallops or 28-day-aged filet mignon across the steaming surface, the chefs entertain their hungry audience by juggling utensils, tossing small pieces of food into guests' waiting mouths, and correctly guessing everyone's least favorite astrological sign. Measured doses of house-made teriyaki sauce or herb-infused butter lend even more flavor to the carefully caramelized entrees. Meanwhile, the chefs behind the sushi bar avoid grills entirely as they roll specialty maki with premium ingredients, including tempura lobster and jalapeño.
One of the first things you notice about Tavern on La Grange is how colorful it is: hot pink and indigo lights wash walls in a neon watercolor effect, and the bottles behind the bar are backlit with red and fuchsia. Murals of art deco-style buildings and figures give the room another added pop. Pasta and steak dishes are among the menu's crowning achievements, along with the likes of lobster tail and lamb chops. People fill the restaurant's spacious, kaleidoscopic dining rooms throughout the week to take in bistro-style meals, drinks, or one of the establishment's periodic events. Those evenings are just one part of what the restaurant's owners hope makes Tavern on La Grange "a quality dining experience and community meeting place."
Al's challenges chewers with prodigious portions of sizzling steaks, succulent seafood, and Texas–sized sandwiches. All the restaurant's steaks, such as the queen filet mignon ($25.95), are hand-cut and aged a minimum of 21 days before diners welcome them to the table with hearty appetites and glinting steak knives. Pescatarians can cast their nets around Cajun catfish filets ($18.95), which come covered in a Bayou blend of seasonings and blackened in a cast-iron skillet. Grasp a one-pound charburger ($11.95) in one hand while hoisting a frosty beer or martini in the other, then use your kneecap to gesture toward a selection from the superbly sugared dessert menu while your elbow fends off the poaching of untrustworthy tablemates.