As you may know, Friday was my birthday. :D Rah rah me!
Tsk tsk, you know it's not polite to ask a lady her age.
My two guys treated me to a wonderful day indeed. JJ slept until almost 7 in the morning (he's usually more of a 5:30 - 6ish riser), and then he stayed with Grandma for a good chunk of the day so that his Daddy could take me out to lunch. He took his bottles like a champ (Playtex Drop-Ins Nurser, LOVE IT), napped for her, and even went to sleep for the night a little earlier than usual... and still slept through until morning!
John and I went to the Wok'nFire at the Burr Ridge mall, an absolutely fantastic Japanese restaurant. They specialize in sushi and stir fry, and they are GOOD at it, people. I'm told their sushi chefs train in Japan, and I believe every word.
But to start from the top...
On entry, a curved wall shields you from the main area of the restaurant, though you can easily see into the bar and dining areas. On a busy night I imagine that little separation aids the hostess immensely, providing just a bit of sound reduction so guests can more easily be heard. We arrived for an early lunch, around 11:30, and were seated immediately. The atmosphere was relaxed, the staff attentive, and first impressions were pleasant all around. I especially liked the "mood" lighting at the bar... shifting from blue to green and so on every few minutes, very fun. It was quiet, but I could just as easily see it packed and hopping on a Saturday night!
Our server's name was Casey, nice young lady with a great smile and plenty of suggestions when we let her know we hadn't been there before. An a la carte menu offers flexibility and a fine range of tempting choices. We ordered our appetizers, and they arrived just as we had decided on our meals. We started off with their Calamari and Crab Rangoon appetizers, two personal favorites to which the chef more than did justice. The calamari were tender and crispy, the sauce sweet and a little spicy. Normally I end up calling for ranch with my calamari, but not this time!! The crab rangoon were... *inhale... sigh...yummm*... marvelous. The shells were almost paper thin, nicely crunchy, and the filling, well! I could actually taste crab, as opposed to being overwhelmed by the sweet cream cheese you find in lesser establishments. They were sweet, the sauce gave just the right amount of tang, and all in all, they were easily the best crab rangoon I've ever had.
John ordered the Kiss Roll, while I decided to try Casey's suggestion, the St Charles Roll. The Kiss Roll arrived topped with bright red flying fish eggs, which I assume is the cause for the name, a la the rocker band of notorious fame. Its tuna and yellowtail were sweet and firm, well balanced by the asparagus, scallions, and traditional avocado. The St Charles Roll was a bit more adventurous, combining shrimp tempura and crab filling with a panko crust and three drizzled sauces, a sweet and sour, unagi, and siracha. The flavors of each roll were bold and worked nicely together, and the wasabi, while excellent, we used only sparingly, as the maki itself was delicious. It would have been like covering up a perfectly done steak with A-1... an insult!
A little birdie let it slip to the floor manager (I wasn't angling for free dessert, I swear!) that it was my birthday and we were celebrating. He sent out a Sesame Banana Fritter, which I quite enjoyed. Mind you, I'm usually a chocolate person, and next time I fully intend to try their Great Wall of Chocolate, but the Sesame Banana Fritter was quite nice. A fried banana (yes, you really can fry just about anything), dusted in cinnamon sugar and served hot, with drizzled caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, it was a lovely close to a truly amazing experience.
We left full, happy, and already planning our next visit!