Along the Lake Street "restaurant row" in the west Chicago suburb of Addison is a Pan-Asian restaurant by the name of Wok 'n Fire. I've eaten there a couple times before, but I haven't written about the place until now. It was a cool and rainy evening when I decided to make the short trip from my hotel across Lake Street to get some sushi at Wok 'n Fire.
The Addison location of Wok 'n Fire is one of six locations in the far western suburbs owned by Siri Lanpouthakoun and his wife, Julie. There are also Wok 'n Fire locations in Burr Ridge, Wheaton, South Barrington, Elmhurst, and St. Charles. Prior to opening the Wok 'n Fire restaurants, Siri Lanpouthakoun was involved with his brother, Rod, in the Siri Thai Cuisine restaurant in Hanover Park. (I understand that place is very good and I've definitely got it on my radar to try at some point.)
The Wok 'n Fire in Addison is located off of Lake Street behind Zaza's Italian Restaurant (click here to see my entry on Zaza's). (see map) You can't see it very well from Lake, but if you see Zaza's, then Wok 'n Fire is located in the building directly behind Zaza's. There's ample parking outside of Wok 'n Fire and there's a corner front door that brings you into a very relaxing and cozy restaurant with Asian accents in the decor. The dining area is separated from the bar area by a low wall with ornamental oval wood spheres suspended on rods.
The bar area doubles as the alcohol bar and sushi preperation area at Wok 'n Fire. I decided to have a seat at the bar and I was greeted with a menu by my server for the evening, Sara. She had a bubbly personality, calling everyone "Hon", but not in the "old lady waitress at the truck stop" kind of way. She reminded me of the comedic actress and author Amy Sedaris. I ordered a bottle of Asahi beer and Sara asked me if I wanted a tall bottle. When I told her that was fine, she said, "Sure, hon. I'll get it for ya right away."
Looking through the menu, Wok 'n Fire features both sashimi sushi - without the rice; and nigiri - with the rice. I like getting the nigiri when I get sushi as it's a little more filling and I don't spend as much on sushi as I would if I were getting it without the rice. When Sara came back with my beer, I began to order up some smoked salmon, regular salmon, sweet shrimp, tuna, yellowtail, and red snapper. I also got a spicy tuna roll for good measure. She cheerfully said, "We'll get this right out for ya, hon!" She was funny and I liked her attitude.
The sushi chef eventually handed the platter of my sushi and spicy tuna rolls over the counter to me. It wasn't busy in Wok 'n Fire at that time of the evening, so it didn't take long to prepare my sushi. It was going to be more than enough to satiate my appetite that evening.
I always start off with a couple pieces of the spicy tuna rolls and the Wok 'n Fire version of spicy tuna rolls were very good. The spicy sauce had a nice little bite to it. However, I found out later that the spicy sauce hid some of a bit of fishy taste I got in the regular tuna sushi I ate a little later on.
But the tuna was the only thing that slightly disappointed me that evening. Everything else was very good to excellent. It was some of the best smoked salmon that I've had at any sushi place that I've eaten at over the years. Yellowtail tends to be a little fishy in taste, but it was not that way on my visit to Wok 'n Fire. It had been a while since I'd had red snapper sushi and it had a very good taste to it, as well. The combination of the taste of wasabi and soy sauce with the red snapper made it very wonderful. Actually, even with the slight fishiness of the tuna, the overall taste of the different types of sushi I had at Wok 'n Fire was was very good.
When Sara handed me my tab for the evening, she asked me if I had been in before. I said that I'd eaten there a couple three times before and it was as good that night as it had been in the past. She asked if I was from out of town and I told her that I was. She said, "You look like that kind of guy who is staying over at the Hampton Inn looking to get a bite to eat." She couldn't have been more spot on. It was like having Kreskin waiting on me.
I'm hoping Siri Lanpouthakoun is a baseball fan with the name of Wok 'n Fire making a play on the old-time baseball cry heard from dugouts when I was growing up, "Rock 'n Fire!" The sushi I've had at Wok 'n Fire over the years has always been very good. Sara was a great waitress, fun and effervescent with a cuteness that helped her get a good tip. With all the restaurant choices up and down Lake Street, Wok 'n Fire is a good bet for good to great sushi and Pan-Asian cuisine.