Enticing flavors of Asia at Silk
At Silk Asian Tavern, chef/owners Bo Wunwattana and Cliff Ostrowski showcase a kaleidoscope of Asian delicacies. | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
Silk Asian Tavern
4 E. Phillip Road, Vernon Hills
11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
(847) 680-1760 or silkasiantavern.com
Updated: January 16, 2013 11:00AM
There’s no doubt that the men in charge know Asian cookery.
The two, Bo Wunwattana and Cliff Ostrowski, hail from executive chef posts at Japonais and China Grill. Now they’re chef/owners, as well as brothers-in-law, and have pooled their collective knowledge of Asian delicacies to create Silk Asian Tavern, open in Vernon Hills since September.
“We are beginning restaurateurs. We’ve been doing this for other people for many years but doing it finally for ourselves is a huge accomplishment,” said Ostrowski.
Together with the promise of innovative cuisine, the pair are introducing traditional methods of cooking hitherto rare in the northern suburbs.
Ishiyaki stone cooking, for example, an ancient cooking concept that originated from natural volcanic eruptions in Japan and employs hot stones for preparing meats, is the basis for a staple on their menu. On the hot stones, patrons cook 10 slices (4.5 ounces) of beef cured in a marinade slightly lighter than that of Korean slice-by-slice to suit their own taste ($11).
Along with novel cooking techniques, pan-Asian flavors and dishes abound.
“If you’re in the mood for Japanese, you can have a great Japanese experience. If you want Thai, we have great Thai dishes on our menu. It allows people to pick their journey for the evening,” explained Ostrowski.
To that end, Silk ’s eclectic menu includes sushi rolls and sashimi, curry hot pots, dumplings and dim sum, stir fry and pad Thai in dishes priced from $2-$22.
Robatayaki Japanese-style grilling is perfect for sampling, satisfying your appetite one skewer at a time. Try the marinated beef Tataki infused with seven spices ($3); tuna Tataki with a Sake soy glaze served with seaweed salad ($5); Thai curry chicken in a mild yellow curry with peanut sauce ($3); fatty and savory pork belly infused with five spices and covered in a sweet-and-sour glaze ($5) or the Sake-soaked chili shrimp ($4).
“People like to graze these days so small plates give them the option without making them feel like they either broke the bank or can’t walk out of the restaurant because they’re too full,” said Ostrowski.
For the coming cold days, the red curry hot pot is a satisfying option. Constantly steaming with the help of a burning candle underneath, the pot is filled with red bell peppers, tomato, bamboo shoots and eggplant, then seasoned with Thai basil and kaffir lime, pineapple and a coconut spiced red curry. Finish with your choice among five proteins, one option being lobster, and a half or full order, ($7-$22).
At Tuesday happy hours the tavern offers ($5) half-rolls of Silk’s top-selling sushi, like spicy tuna with avocado mousse or the scallop roll made with crab. Drink specials include homemade concoctions like the Sake Sangria with Triple sec and cherry brandy ($4).
“It’s many different cuisines under one roof, done right, with traditional flavors in a contemporary atmosphere,” said Ostrowski.
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