Chicago: Asahi Japanese Restaurant

For some reason, CK's parents thought it necessary to treat me to dinner in order to thank me for keeping their daughter fed (and alive) throughout finals.  It's really not like I could've left CK to starve in her room.  Seeing her pitiful, study-worn face just made me want to force feed her, if not to answer her growling stomach then at the very least to make her take a break from studying once in a while.

Anyway, CK's parents know the owners of Asahi, so together with CK's sister and her fiance, we headed deep into the suburbs:

I was warned going in that things were going to get intense really quickly.  Apparently there's a history of eating until you want to die at Asahi.  Since they know the owner and chef, CK's family always gets VIP treatment.  Meaning they never have the flip through the menu and a magical never-ending food parade just appears on the table.

The meal started mundanely enough with miso soup and a salad:

Then BAM!  Thinly sliced abalone gorgeously presented in their shells:

Not what I was expecting at all, but very much appreciated.

I could only stare in awe as six soft shell crabs were brought to the table, one for each of us:

And then yakitori skewers of chicken and scallion:

Followed by green mussels topped with roe sauce:

And the best fried calamari I've had in a long while:

That's CK's sister's fiance's thumb.  He wanted to express how good the food is.  Too bad he could't eat most of it.  The poor guy is allergic to shellfish.  I can't even imagine what that would be like...

I mean, I would cry if I could only watch as those around me slurped down these babies:

That drop of chili oil on top?  Genius.

Keep in mind that all the pictures I'm posting are of what was placed on my side of the table.  Insane, right?

All that food was supposedly round one (the appetizer round).  Round two was sashimi:

We got two glorious platters of all this sashimi.  Guh.  Be still my heart.  I made sure to eat one of each...and then some.

Round three consisted of maki rolls:

I don't know all the names, but the one of the far left had fried snapper draped on top.  Ohmygaaaawd.  The third one in was really quite spicy.  Damn.  All of them were delicious.

Every plate was met with gasps and groans of both delight and PAIN.  My stomach felt like it was going to burst by the time we reached the end.  Didn't mean I couldn't find some space for ice cream though:

We were given the choice between green tea and red bean.  I actually enjoyed the red bean a lot more than the green tea, which came as a surprise to me.

So my experience at Asahi was definitely a bit out of the ordinary.  I just bet all the other patrons in the restaurant were staring at our table wondering where all the food was coming from and how they could get in on a piece of that action.  I have no idea how much everything cost, but I do know it's a meal my stomach isn't likely to forget anytime soon.

A huge heartfelt thank you to CK's family for their generosity.  I'll continue to save CK from a life of peanut butter jelly sandwiches and cereal in our remaining two quarters of law school.  You can count on me!

Asahi Japanese Restaurant
851 N Quentin Rd
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 359-7097


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