Pan Asian Delights in Highwood

Now firmly ensconced in what was previously home to Sopa Mediterranean Kitchen (and before that, Erik’s Contemporary Bistro), Kori Fusion Sushi & Thai offers a huge menu that spans the Far East, from fresh, inventive sushi to Thai curry; from tempura to pad thai.

The prices are fair to begin with, but the lunch specials are crazy reasonable, and the portions are generous. Our gaggle of hungry gals loved the crispy Gyoza ($4.95), Japanese pan-fried dumplings stuffed with chicken, and the steamed shrimp Shumai ($4.95). A disappointment: The Vegetable Tempura ($6.50) was a bit greasy, and the dipping sauce insipid.

The Maki Lunch ($9.95), any three rolls from a generous list, came with a tasty miso soup. The Spicy Tuna roll was too minced for my taste, but the rolls (including California and Shrimp Tempura) featured fresh tasting seafood. Choices off the regular menu are much more extensive, and include interesting rolls like the Green Turtle Roll ($9.95) with shrimp, unagi (eel) and cucumber rolled in green tobiko and tempura crunch.

Thai Orange Chicken ($7.95) boasted a tasty sauce  — tangy, not too sweet – but the batter-fried pieces of chicken had the same issue as the tempura.  Better were the Spicy Basil Chicken ($7.95), a dish filled with Thai basil, peppers and onions, and just the right amount of spice; the Red Curry Chicken ($7.95) had a good kick as well, and the tropical flavor of the coconut milk really comes through. The Tofu Pad Thai ($7.95) was well received at the table, although I prefer it less sweet. All lunch specials came with your choice of soup (try the Tom Yum, a Thai hot and sour soup redolent of lemongrass) or an egg roll.

Though our server’s English was a little rusty, he made up for it with a smile and a spring in his step. Service was quick and efficient. Beware of the sound level; there’s a high ceiling and plenty of hard surfaces to reflect noise. Not great for the hard of hearing.

As for dessert, follow our lead and head for one of the nearby bakeries (like the nearby Bent Fork Bakery or The Baker Boys in Highland Park) for a sweet ending.

Kori Fusion Sushi & Thai

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