Much like a sand castle, fine tropical cuisine is complex in structure, typically found at the beach, and induces tear-filled tantrums when it finally disappears. Comfort wailing stomachs with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of South Pacific fare at Tiki Terrace in Des Plaines.
Tiki Terrace serves an extensive menu of island-inspired eats in an exotic getaway bedecked with hand-carved statues and swaying palms. Diners can start their voracious vacationing with crispy taro chips and homemade pineapple salsa ($4.50), or move straight to the main course with handheld selections, such as the Kalua pork sandwich, tender, shredded oven-roasted pork served on a toasted bun ($8.50). Sample sea-sourced delicacies, such as the classic Maui mahi, a lightly breaded and fried fillet of mahi-mahi topped with house-prepared sweet-and-sour chili sauce ($11–$14.50). Finish with a dessert of rich chocolate lava cake, overflowing with delectable hot fudge sourced from Candy Land's sweet molten core ($5.50). Two to four of-age diners can split a celebratory tiki bowl of Hawaiian punch, a more mature take on the popular pugilistic quaff, made with vodka, gin, and cranberry and orange juices ($13).
Since a trip to the tropics without a luau is like attending a rock show without getting body slammed by a screaming guy, Tiki Terrace offers a dinner-and-show package, which includes one entree and entertainment, on Friday ($21) and Saturday ($24) nights. Attendees can nibble on a variety of dishes, including Kalua pig or mahi-mahi, then feast eyes and ears on the Echoes of Polynesia revue show featuring live dancers and audience participation. Sway to sweet South Pacific sounds at a hand-carved booth sheltered by a grass roof, perfectly situated with uninterrupted views of the dining room's large central stage. With a rotating schedule of additional live events, Tiki Terrace brings guests all the sights and sounds of an island vacation without the hassle of unsightly tan lines.
Hand-carved tikis and 12-foot-tall stone Easter Island moai preside over Tiki Terrace, which blends Pacific West influences with European flair. Seated under swaying palms at hard-carved booths and tables near a fireplace, dinner guests enjoy old-world roasted coffee and a regional menu that starts with traditional pupu appetizers, such as taro chips and housemade pineapple salsa, and proceeds to traditional seafood and pork specialties. In the party-friendly tiki tradition, groups of up to four can share the Hawaiian punch bowl, a powerful elixir that arrives in a volcano tiki bowl with a fiery surprise. On Friday and Saturday nights, the dining room's elevated center stage fills with the South Pacific’s dances, music, and ceremonial red-rover matches.