Monthly Archives: September 2011

McCormicks & Schmicks

We went to McCormick & Schmicks at One East Wacker in the city on Saturday night for dinner. I have to say I am really glad we chose this place because everyone loved their meals. It was one of the best dinners we have had in a long time. The service was excellent, the staff knowledgeable, the food was prepared perfectly and the atmosphere was comfortable.

I have to say I am now a fan of Barramundi which was described as sweet, buttery, delicate and moist. It can be compared to red snapper, Dover sole, sea bass and other premium white fish. They prepared this delicate fish covered with a Miso Glaze on a bed of Udon Noodles with a Spicy Black Pepper Sauce and a Miso Broth. I ate the entire dish and wanted more, it was that good. I also ordered the lobster mashed potatoes. It is true, lobster makes everything taste better and these potatoes were no exception. Everyone at the table tried and loved them.

Karen had the cedar plank salmon which was big enough for two people. She asked that it be served with their Asian blank pepper sauce which made the dish melt in your mouth.  Along with the salmon, she had the Roasted Potato Medley. There was enough left over from her dishes, along with the lobster mashed potatoes to take home, which we did.

Alice had the Kobe burger and as far as Kobe goes, it was fine. Marc had the Chicken, again okay, but nothing to write home about. Mom had the Chefs Special.  Coho Salmon stuffed with shrimp, crab and a few other things that I cannot remember at this moment. She enjoyed it very much and said it was an excellent meal.

Deserts were the usual cakes and creme brule. We ordered one slice of their peanut butter pie and one of their chocolate cake. The peanut butter pie was the winner here. Karen had the creme brule and it was delicious.

If you are in Oak Brook, Rosemont, Skokie or the city, I would recommend McCormick & Schmicks for a special occasion.

 

Limestone Brewery

Unfortunately Limestone Grill closed earlier this year. They say they are reopening in the Fox Valley Mall area this summer. I certainly hope they do, I really liked the old place.

Sakura

This is the place to go in Naperville if you love sushi and expect to eat more than 2 or 3 rolls. For less than $20 ($15 at lunch) you can eat as much as you want (AYCE) from a menu of over 30 items. Yes, you can go to the other places in town and spend $100 if that is more to your liking, or you are trying to impress someone but for my money, I would rather spend a little and get a lot. I have not seen any other establishment in the area that has anything that Sakura doesn’t and if you find that they don’t have something on the menu, ask and I am sure they will try to accommodate you if they can.

From soup to salad to edamame and tempura vegetables to over 20 different types of Nigiri and at least as many rolls. Simply write down the number of pieces you want and hand the list to the wait-staff.  Within a few minutes you will be presented with a beautifully prepared tray or boat, depending on how much you ordered, loaded with all the items you selected.

Now, if you are not into raw fish, they also have a full menu of cooked items. I have to admit I have not even looked at this menu however my wife really enjoys their Teriyaki Salmon. The menu items are not included in the AYCE price.

Saki and beer are also available from the bar.

Also, make sure to get their frequent diner punch card.

They are located behind the shopping plaza at Iroquois and Ogden Ave.  Their website is http://www.sakurasushibuffet.com/main.html

Rito’s Mexican Restaurant

One of the best, if not the best Mexican restaurant in the area. We have been regulars here for ten years and never have had a bad meal. When you walk in you are looking at their main dining room which has seating for parties from four to eight. They also have another room with the bar and additional seating. This room is not as noisy as the main room which we prefer.

The food here is consistently good and never disappoints. The service is very good, they are extremely polite and attentive to everyone. From the chips and salsa to the guacamole that is made at your table this is a great place to eat.

They have the usual tostadas, tacos, quesadillas, flautas, burritos, and chimichangas, but here they are so fresh that no other place else compares to them.

If you are in the mood for steak, don’t miss their Carne Asada or their Fajitas, they are both excellent.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention their margaritas. Thursday night is their $5.00 margarita night and it is not to be missed. However, they also have daily bar specials that are sure to please someone in your group

  • Monday Mexican Beer $2.50
  • Tuesday Piña Colada $5.00
  • Wednesday Red Sangria $5.00
  • Thursday Margaritas $5.00
  • Friday Tequila Shot $5.00
  • Saturday Mixed Drinks $5.00
  • Sunday – Watch your favorite sport / choice of beer $2.50

This is a neighborhood place and you are probably going to run into a few neighbors each time you visit.

Chopsticks Noodle & Thai Cafe

Wednesday night Karen and I decided to try a new place in the area. A menu/flyer was in the Sunday paper for Chopsticks Noodle & Thai Cafe and it included a couple of coupons that made it seem worthwhile.  Both of us enjoy Thai food and while we usually go to Thai Orchid on Eola Road in Aurora, we decided we wanted to try something new.

Chopsticks is located on the North end of the strip mall on Rt 59 and 75th Street next to Sports Authority and The ChalkBoard. They have been open for about four months but I don’t think the word has gotten out yet.

Entering the place for the first time we were unimpressed. There were the usual Thai decorations in the entryway and a couple of photo menus tacked up around the window where the hostess stand used to be and a lighted chalkboard depicting the day’s specials. It was obvious that this space was a very different restaurant before Chopsticks due to the artwork on the walls. I have never seen spaghetti and meatballs in a Thai restaurant before but the main wall had 6 pictures that would be more at home in Luigi’s or Olive Garden. Okay, so the new owners haven’t bothered to redecorate yet. I can live with that.

At 5:30 on a Wednesday night I didn’t expect that they would be busy and I was right. There was only one other table of 3 people there when we arrived and they left about ten minutes later. We were seated by, what I later learned was, the owner. He was very pleasant and allowed us to choose where we wanted to sit.

Since we had looked at the menu before we arrived, we knew what we wanted to order but decided to look over the menu just in case something else jumped out at us. The owner was the only person working the front of the house and he immediately brought us water and asked if we would like anything to drink. We decided to stick with water for this dinner.

I ordered the Chicken Satay, something I always order and use a barometer for a Thai restaurant. Karen ordered the Crab Rangoon and we decided to split a plate of Shrimp Pad Thai and a bowl of Jasmine rice.

The Satay ($5.95 for 4 pieces) were properly cooked and nicely spiced. The peanut sauce that accompanied the satay was tasty but there was not enough served in the bowl so I had to make sure not to eat to much if I wanted it to last through the four pieces of Satay and also let Karen dip her Crab Rangoon into it.

The Crab Rangoon ($5.75 for 6 pieces) was good. They were a little smaller than most places, but you could definitely taste the crab and not have it overpowered by to much cream cheese like a lot of places do.  It was served with a side of homemade pineapple sauce which we found strange. They were hot and crispy and we both enjoyed them. I just wish they were a little bigger.

The Shrimp Pad Thai ($11.95) was a hit. It had 6 large shrimp and was perfectly cooked. The noodles were light and everything about the dish said that the chef knew how to cook. The noodles had just the right texture. Granted this is a staple of every Thai restaurant but I have had the same dish in other places and not been able to eat it. This one was excellent and we would happily have it again the next time.

Because there was not enough Peanut sauce left over, we ordered a side dish ($2.00) so that we could add it to the Jasmine rice ($2.00). This side was about three times as large as the bowl served with the Satay.

While we were eating at least 3 or 4 people came in to pick up To-Go orders. This seems to be the majority of their business since we were the only diners there for the almost 45 minutes that we were there. One other group of three (a father and 2 [obnoxious and loud] kids) did come in about 5 minutes before we left but that was the extent of the customers while we were there. The owner did say that they had five tables of people just before we arrived so that is good news.

While we were eating the owner stopped by to chat and make sure everything was okay. He was very pleasant and knowledgeable about his competition in the area. He said he makes it a point to go to all his competitors and try their food and make sure his is always better. Based on our experience, I would say he has succeeded.

The total for our meal came to just over $30 and we were able to use a $5.00 coupon so we paid just over $25 for a very nice and satisfying meal. We look forward to going back and trying some of their other options very soon.