Asian restaurant pairs pork with Italian wines in Barrington
Pl8 Simply Asian Fusion restaurant hosts a pork dinner night Nov. 8 in which its chef merged Asian ingredients with Italian wines. Roasted pork chinese rolls were served. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 20, 2012 11:48AM
BARRINGTON — Pl8 Simply Asian opened in Barrington less than two years ago, but it has already established itself with its unique Asian fusion cuisine.
“There’s a little Thai on the menu, but we’re mainly Chinese and Japanese,” said Ed Culleneney, managing partner at Pl8.
Culleneney started Pl8 after gaining experience working at Ben Pao in downtown Chicago.
“I love to cook,” he said. “Actually, I’m really good at Italian.”
To bring his Italian flair to Pl8, Culleneney and his staff hosted a special pork dinner paired with Italian wines last week. Culleneney teamed with Cliff McConville, who runs a farm in Barrington Hills and supplied the pork for the event.
“They reached out to us and found us and needed us to feature a pig at their dinner event,” McConville said. “We do our own processing. People have a hard time finding pork that is not raised in a factory with a lot of antibiotics.”
Culleneney went to McConville because he said an integral part of Pl8’s business revolves around using fresh, all-natural ingredients.
“We thought it would be perfect,” said Culleneney of last week’s event. “Literally, farm to table.”
Culleneney said Pl8 hosts several themed dinners every year. During the summer, he said, Pl8 hosted a spicy food and beer event. He said he the events typically draw about 50 people, and Pl8 can seat about 110.
While there are other Asian restaurant in Barrington, Culleneney said none are like Pl8.
“It’s either a Chinese restaurant or a sushi bar,” he said. “It’s been very interesting out here, and the restaurant is growing nicely.”
Culleneney said some of the more popular dishes at Pl8 are the firework salmon roll and the tuna poke roll. Leading up to the presidential election, Culleneney had his chefs create a special roll that was half red and half blue.
“It’s just fun,” he said. “We’re bringing interesting food to the suburbs.”
Originally from Des Plaines, he currently lives in Palatine. He said running restaurant in the suburbs is certainly a change from his time in downtown Chicago.
“It’s very different,” he said. “We’re very dependent on what’s happening in Barrington.”
In February, Pl8 will be celebrating two years on Northwest Highway in Barrington.