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Simon Lin's Asian Bistro, Lincolnshire

Simon Lin's Asian Bistro, Lincolnshire
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  • Simon Lin's Asian Bistro, Lincolnshire

    Post #1 - April 21st, 2005, 11:01 pm
    Post #1 - April 21st, 2005, 11:01 pm Post #1 - April 21st, 2005, 11:01 pm
    Hi,

    I haven't been to Simon Lin's Asian Bistro yet. I was about to make the mistaken claim Simon Lin used to work at Little Szechwan in Highland Park. However, when I collected the address for the HP location, I discovered the website for Little Szechwan is the same for Simon Lin's. I've since learned Simon owns both restaurants.

    Little Szechwan when it first opened about 20 years ago specifically traced its' lineage to the old Szechwan restaurant on Michigan Avenue at Ontario. The orange beef served at Michigan Avenue was the same served in Highland Park. Precisely the relationship of the two restaurants beyond what their public relations materials advised, I don't know.

    Little Szechwan is definitely upscale Americanized Chinese with white tablecloths. The last few times I was there, Simon was still actively present and very present he was. He had the annoying habit of popping up at your table with the delivery of every course to retrieve compliments. I like to offer my compliments; I don't especially like them pumped out of me. Additionally, I come to be with my friends and not stoke the owner's ego. This has colored my thinking about returning, because rather than something to look forward to, I just get this smothered feeling.

    Saturday on my way to somewhere else, I came across Simon's new restaurant in Lincolnshire. I stepped in to collect the take-out menu to get a preview of what the menu promises, "A tasteful selection of Asian cuisine fusing Chinese, Japanese and Thai flavors."

    Whenever I see fusion-anything, I start looking for unexpected and odd combinations, which this menu lived up to my expectations:
    - Fried Calamari served with sriracha aioli
    - Lobster Bisque – a traditional favorite flavored with Asian ingredients and topped with a lobster crouton.
    - Seafood Pasta: sea scallops, prawns and crabmeat sauteed and tossed with Pad Thai noodles and Thai Alfredo sauce
    - Chinese Mustard Encrusted Rack of Lamb – New Zealand rack of lamb encrusted in Chinese mustard and herbs served with ginger-mashed sweet potato and lamb au jus
    - Rib Eye Mongolian Style – grilled bone-in rib eye steak accented with a Mongolian reduction and served with wasabi garlic smashed potatoes
    - Crispy Duck Simon’s Style – half duck, slow roasted with Beijing herb seasoning, served with our house passion fruit sauce, golden-wasabi potato cake and Chinese mustard dijonaisse with asparagus.

    The authentic Chinese selections promise to be low fat and light-healthy. They also have a sushi bar and will arrange take-out sushi party platters.

    Fusion is not exactly my speed, so it may be sometime before I return for a meal. If anyone does go, then I am quite interested in learning their take on the food’s execution.

    Little Szechwan Restaurant
    1900 1st Street
    Highland Park, IL 60035
    http://www.simonlin.com
    847-433-7007
    Fax: 847-433-7128

    Simon Lin's Asian Bistro
    410 Milwaukee Avenue
    Lincolnshire, IL 60069
    www.simonlins.com
    847/478-8883
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - April 22nd, 2005, 6:57 am
    Post #2 - April 22nd, 2005, 6:57 am Post #2 - April 22nd, 2005, 6:57 am
    Cathy,

    Thanks for doing the research for us. I don't live far from there and have been intrigued by it as well. However, when I ask my friends and neighbors if they've tried it, no one seems to know anyone who's been there. Given some of the items on the menu that you've listed, I don't see myself dining there anytime soon.
  • Post #3 - April 22nd, 2005, 7:21 am
    Post #3 - April 22nd, 2005, 7:21 am Post #3 - April 22nd, 2005, 7:21 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Little Szechwan is definitely upscale Americanized Chinese with white tablecloths. The last few times I was there, Simon was still actively present and very present he was. He had the annoying habit of popping up at your table with the delivery of every course to retrieve compliments. I like to offer my compliments; I don't especially like them pumped out of me. Additionally, I come to be with my friends and not stoke the owner's ego. This has colored my thinking about returning, because rather than something to look forward to, I just get this smothered feeling.


    Cathy,

    This mirrors my LS experience a well. My family used to frequently go there and I very much enjoyed the food. I recently returned and ordered some of the old favorites. I'm sure they were as good as they ever were, but I found them lacking, probably due to my expanded Chinese palate. When Simon came around hoping that I would kiss his ring, the best complimant I could muster was that the food was just fine.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - April 22nd, 2005, 7:57 am
    Post #4 - April 22nd, 2005, 7:57 am Post #4 - April 22nd, 2005, 7:57 am
    Cathy2: Is the Asian Bistro a nice atmosphere? Say, for an intimate 40th Anniversary dinner for my parents? The menu is certainly intriguing.
  • Post #5 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:05 am
    Post #5 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:05 am Post #5 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:05 am
    Hi gmonkey,

    From my two minutes of exposure, it seemed to be a suitably upscale to entertain your parents on their 40th anniversary. Nobody would ever suggest Simon's restaurants are dives.

    Just so you don't go into sticker shock relative to Chinese: the Rack of Lamb is $29, Mongolian Rib Eye $30, Crispy Duck $21.

    If you do go, then I look forward to your live-action report.

    SteveZ - I'm glad I'm not alone being exposed to the kiss-the-ring-that fed-me routine.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:23 am
    Post #6 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:23 am Post #6 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:23 am
    I tried the Asian Bistro a few months ago for Sunday lunch as we considered it for a baby shower. They offer a fixed price (IIFC, $19.95 pp, 11:30am-3pm) for "all you can order" from a set menu. Choices include 2 salads, 2 soups, 4 appetizers, several entrees and sushi selections as well as a dessert of the month. I have a typed up version of the menu that I prepared for the shower even though we went elsewhere - PM me if you would like a copy. Portions are tapas style for Sunday lunch.

    I really enjoyed the "Taiwan Chicken Roll" and fried calamari appeitizers. The entrees were not that great - do not recommend the confetti pork. The Teriyaki glazed salmon was pretty good. Sushi was fine. It's been a couple months since I was there, so I wish I could offer more detailed and helpful feedback.
  • Post #7 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:26 am
    Post #7 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:26 am Post #7 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:26 am
    I just looked at their website at the full menus. Good lord! I figure I'll get out my "Good lords!" at the price now rather than at the restaurant. I'm classy like that. :lol:

    Despite the price gouging, the menu does keep me interested, so this will definitely be on the list (much to my siblings' chagrin, I'm sure), and I'll be sure to report back my findings.
  • Post #8 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:30 am
    Post #8 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:30 am Post #8 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:30 am
    gmonkey wrote:I just looked at their website at the full menus. Good lord! I figure I'll get out my "Good lords!" at the price now rather than at the restaurant. I'm classy like that.


    Just close your eyes, click your heels together and utter, "We are not in Chinatown anymore."

    I think Simon's restaurants chase after the same crowd who attend P.F. Chang.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #9 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:36 am
    Post #9 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:36 am Post #9 - April 22nd, 2005, 8:36 am
    Cathy2,

    I could not agree w/you more! Although, I would give Simon Lin's the nod for creativity over PF Changs.
  • Post #10 - April 22nd, 2005, 9:36 am
    Post #10 - April 22nd, 2005, 9:36 am Post #10 - April 22nd, 2005, 9:36 am
    The rib eye sounds great, as well it should be for $30.

    Although, I wonder what goes into a Thai Alfredo Sauce. :shock:
  • Post #11 - April 22nd, 2005, 12:25 pm
    Post #11 - April 22nd, 2005, 12:25 pm Post #11 - April 22nd, 2005, 12:25 pm
    I have eaten at the "bistro" once for dinner and twice for lunch, though not for about 6 months. It is quite good, with an "upscale" atmosphere and presentation. It is expensive though. We will go back at some point, and if for dinner, I will order the ribeye, which i saw on one visit. It was huge, and looked perfectly grilled. I would definitely give it the nod over PF Changs.
    -Will
  • Post #12 - November 14th, 2006, 11:44 am
    Post #12 - November 14th, 2006, 11:44 am Post #12 - November 14th, 2006, 11:44 am
    I dined at Simon Lin's this weekend with some friends.

    I will say that upon walking in I was really impressed with the decorating. When you see this place you have to keep in mind that for most of it's life the building was a Denny's. It's fairly dark inside. They have a nice sushi bar and an open prep area where you can see the kitchen staff at work.

    Without serviing any food, I would already give the place a thumbs up. This is because they have Franziskaner Weissbier on tap. This is one of my favorite beers and is nearly impossible to find in suburban restaurants. On top of that they had a nice selection of wines (German, French, and California) many of which were sold by the glass ranging from $8-15 per glass)

    For an appetizer my wife and I split the spring roll. Their version is the vietnamese version served cold with a filling of mint, cilantro, mango, and crab meat. For $6 the portion was very small (2 tiny rolls)

    For our main course I had the 9 piece nigiri platter (chef's choice $19) I was hoping this meant I got to try 9 different pieces of nigiri. Instead what I got was 2 tuna (not fatty) 2 sake (salmon) 2 hamachi 2 Hirame (halibut) and 1 tomago (egg) While the fish was very fresh there was no miso soup served and I thought it was a little plain for $19. Later up inspection of the sushi bar I discovered these were the only fish they had in stock that night. I'm not sure if this is normal or it was because it was Sunday.

    My wife had one of their faux Chinese dishes (from the light and healthy menu) It wasn't bad, but it did make me think of what one could get for $15 in China town. Another person had the Mongolian beef which was pretty good, but not worth the trip alone.

    The standout was the tempura. 3 people at our table had the tempura which I think was $10 for the small portion with 2 shrimp and 5-7 pieces of green pepper, green bean, sweet potato, and eggplant. The tempura was very crisp, not at all greasy, and very tasty. It's obvious that whoever is making it back in the kitchen has had some practice or a lot of experience.

    For dessert we had the sorbet assortment and tiramisu (what could be more Asian thant tiramisu? ) Both were very good and the portions were plenty large to share.

    Now, as for the owners. Both of them were there that night. Simon was working the kitchen and his parter was working the floor. As was mentioned by others, they did stop by the table. Simon just stopped and asked if we enjoyed our dinner, shook hands, then left. His partner did stand there going on and on about his ingredients and how fresh they are and so on. We complimented him and thankfully he left. He didn't fail to tell us how nice they were for making an accomodation to one of our diners. I thought that was very tacky.

    As a final note. It appears as though I am the only person in Lake county who didn't get a 20% off coupon to Simon Lins in the mail. It would make sense because everything there was about 20% too expensive.
  • Post #13 - November 15th, 2006, 12:14 pm
    Post #13 - November 15th, 2006, 12:14 pm Post #13 - November 15th, 2006, 12:14 pm
    I was unaware that the Szechwan House on Michigan Avenue had branched north, although I'm not surprised. They also branched south -- there is a Szechwan restaurant in Olympia Fields that I always heard was owned by the same people that had the Michigan Avenue restaurant. My husband is particularly fond of their Orange Beef. I'm not 100% it is still under the original ownership.

    My first bridal shower was held at the Szechwan House on Michigan Avenue, so I have a sentimental attachment to it.

    Suzy

    Szechwan Incorporated
    3452 E. Vollmer Road
    Olympia Fields, IL
    (708) 481-1770
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #14 - November 15th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    Post #14 - November 15th, 2006, 12:25 pm Post #14 - November 15th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    sdritz wrote:I was unaware that the Szechwan House on Michigan Avenue had branched north, although I'm not surprised. They also branched south -- there is a Szechwan restaurant in Olympia Fields that I always heard was owned by the same people that had the Michigan Avenue restaurant. My husband is particularly fond of their Orange Beef. I'm not 100% it is still under the original ownership.

    My first bridal shower was held at the Szechwan House on Michigan Avenue, so I have a sentimental attachment to it.

    Suzy

    Szechwan Incorporated
    3452 E. Vollmer Road
    Olympia Fields, IL
    (708) 481-1770

    According to their website, Little Szechwan and Asian Bistro are the only two restaurants owned by Simon Lin.
  • Post #15 - November 15th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    Post #15 - November 15th, 2006, 1:33 pm Post #15 - November 15th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    Hi,

    Years ago, Szechuan House did have an outpost at Old Orchard (in the former Magic Pan location) and Little Szechuan House in Highland Park was part of this group. I also liked very much Szechuan House on Michigan Avenue. I'm not sure how it would compare today, though back then it was really terrific.

    I have not been to Little Szechuan House in ages, but the last time I was there were preparations like Orange Beef straight out of the repetoire of Szechuan House in both name and taste. Simon Lin as personality and restauranteur is something that happened over time perhaps via new ownership or management. When it first opened in the early 1980's there was no Simon Lin as front person.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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