Monday, August 27, 2012

TL's Four Seasons, Bartlett, IL


TL's Four Seasons Collage

TL's Four Season's sits just across the street from the Bartlett train station, making this restaurant easily accessible by public transportation and by car. Housed in a beautiful old building in the historic area, the restaurant is modern inside, with Asian touches evident but never feeling kitschy. Since the menu consists of both Japanese and Chinese cuisine, there are never ending options to explore, either for a romantic dinner or as part of large group. Two bars anchor the space, one for drinks, the other for sushi. Flat screen TVs run an endless loop of possible delicacies to order.

TL's Four Seasons Sushi and Sake Collage

Sushi and Drinks

Volcano Roll (spicy tuna, avocado, cream cheese, tempura with honey mustard sauce), a Veggie Roll (rice , veggies, in a soy paper roll), and an Orange Dream (cannot remember the ingredients, it was the special of the day). If you are like me, and cannot abide eating sea items, definitely ask if the sushi chefs have soy paper for rolling—so yummy and a great opportunity to experience the magic that is sushi. For drinks we ordered a Sauvignon Blanc, a Pinot Grigio, and a flight of sake, all went wonderfully with the variety of items, from sushi to dessert. The sakes arrived cold, and changed noticeably throughout the meal, reflecting not only the flavors of the food, but also changes as it warmed up. Definitely something to try!

TL's Four Seasons Appetizer Collage

Appetizers

From the Japanese menu, Laima started with Wakame Sunomono (cucumber with seaweed sprouts in sweet vinegar sauce), while I tried the Vegetable Tempura. The Tempura was really unique, featuring large pieces of vegetables, including asparagus, carrot, eggplant, bell pepper, and sweet potato – a great option to order. From the Chinese menu, Scallion Pancakes, amazing as always, one of my favorite dishes.

TL's Four Seasons Entree Collage

Entrees

It was hard not to order pretty much everything on the menu! With that in mind, we tried several of my longtime favorite Chinese dishes. Wide Rice Noodles (locally made, fresh wide rice noodles, wok crisped and tossed with bean sprouts, snow peas, onions and red peppers in soy and hoisin sauces) were well-made, tasted like fresh vegetables, and had just the right amount of sauce. I prefer my rice noodles a bit crispier, but they certainly weren’t underdone. The Kung Pao Tofu (wok crisped with spicy kung pao chili sauce) was next, really a good substitute for the classic chicken dish. Sichuan String Beans (pan fried and wok tossed w/Sichuan marinated vegetables, drizzled with a spicy soy and Sichuan peppercorn oil) rounded out the vegetable entrees, and this was another example of how well-seasoned and prepared all three dishes were. My carnivore tester Laima opted for a house special, the Dry Stir-fried Shredded Beef (shredded sliced beef, wok fried and tossed with spicy bean sauce, Sichuan peppercorn oil, tender bamboo tips and scallions) – the tender bamboo tips were a new one for us, neat-looking and a good addition to this dish.

TL's Four Seasons Mochi

Dessert

Rice Wrapped Ice Cream was on the menu, so we tried the Green Tea, Red Bean, and Mango. A really good ending to an outstanding meal!

We were very pleased with our lunch at PL8 Simply Asian  recently, so it was exciting to see how this sister restaurant stacked up. The menus have some overlap, though TL’s Four Seasons is definitely a more comprehensive menu. Some of the plates we tried were the same at both restaurants and both were incredibly tasty.

TL’s Four Seasons does feel a bit more established however, and it is reflected in the interaction between owner, servers, and guests. It seemed like most of the people coming into the restaurant were known by the staff, and greeted warmly. I can see how this would become a favorite of ours very quickly, if we lived nearby. As it is, my in-laws are not too far, and we definitely plan on bringing them here to taste the amazing food and drink, and to enjoy the warm hospitality.

Highly recommended and well-worth the drive or train ride to seek out this tasty restaurant!


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