Chicago >Food & Dining > Big Bowl
6 E. Cedar St., Chicago, IL | Directions 6061141.902407 -87.628101
Su-Th 11:30-10, F-Sa 11:30-11
Neighborhoods: Near North Side, Central
Unexpected changes – A treat for my best friend and I. After a most stressful day, we were looking forward to the HK Cosmo and Hibiscus martinis. We were seated and were made to wait for over 15 minutes before a very new manager came over to take our drinks order. We waited some more and our server still didn't appear. Luckily, another server, Matt, took pity on us and took our order. Finally, our server arrived to introduce himself. Joe more than redeemed BB in our eyes. He took ownership of the situation and made sure we were happy.
The BEST asian cuisine this side of the Pacific. – I have been to many places in Asia tasting different Asian cuisine; both fusion and indigenous. I had some impressive food in India, Singapore, and Thailand, but Big Bowl is really the best I've had in the U.S. I noticed that some people have complaints about the service and I am really sorry to hear that, because the several times I was there, the service was just FINE. Don't go to Ben Pao, where every dish tastes like a mixture of soy sauce/salt.
Avoid on Saturday Nights...In fact...Avoid the place all together! – After waiting for over 40 minutes even though there were 4 available tables, we were finally seated. Our waiter was great, but the hostess was out of this world. It seemed as if she didn't know what she was doing and had parties waiting when there were tables open. After we were seated, our waiter came by and took out drink order. The drinks were fine until I decided to actually look at what I was sipping and found a disgusting brown residue of some sort stuck to an ice cube. After that, I wasn't that thirsty anymore. The food came rather quickly, which was nice, but much to my chagrin there were tons of eggshells in my pad thai. Now I'm all for the eggs in the pad thai. But eggshells? Come on. As a chef I'd expect more. I was thoroughly dissatisfied with my first experience with Big Bowl. I normally don't write reviews for restaurants, but because my experience was so horrible I thought I'd share. Do me and yourself a favor and DON"T GO!!
Go now – I eat here whenever I am downtown - which is often- and I have to say all of my experiences have been top-notch. The spicy sesame noodles are full of flavor - just a touch of heat - and the potstickers even better. A nice thin skin, unlike the industrial kind you get at allegedly Chinese restaurants. I love the teriyaki glazed spareribs - fall off the bone with excellent flavor and the chow fun which has that wok-seared taste. I grew up eating this stuff so it is nice to know there is a place where I can get a taste of home.
The pad Thai is all about fresh, bright flavors. I am not big on fiery hot food, but my partner is a huge fan and says the hot pepper thai shrimp is fabulous because you get more than heat - you get layers of flavor.
The restaurant is crazy busy for dinner but if I am doing business downtown and need to bring home dinner, I can call in my order and the valet will let me leave my car out front while I run in to pick up the food. Can't ask for more than that!
Average food, overpriced – Hate to say it, but PF Chang's, a CHAIN restaurant, had better chinese food. In fact, the only thing I liked about the restaurant was the pomogranate gingerale. But, even that was just OKAY. I liked that part of their menu consisted of food that was solely devoted to "hot" entrees. I had the spicy sichuan beef. Yes, it was nice and spicy but it really wasn't all that spectacular. A $20 meal of an okay specialty drink and an okay entre made this place unmemorable.
Avoid. – Food had no flavor and the entrees were expensive for a chinese food restaurant. I went with a group of six and EVERYONE had to choke down their food. I regret having to pay for a meal that was so bad.
Great lunch – I am a fan of thier lunches. Their service is fast and the food is good. Try their asian style salads!
Design your own meal at this casual Pan-Asian restaurant. – In Short
Intimate lighting and an open, casual atmosphere draw diners of all ages to this Asian spot. Customers design their own stir-fry from a selection of veggies, meats and sauces, then wait while it's all cooked and delivered to their table. The menu also offers Thai, Cantonese and Szechuan items, like shrimp rolls, teriyaki chicken and kung pao beef served with roasted peanuts.
Ten words – Kung pao chicken. Big Buddha margarita. Got to have 'em.
Excellent Food – The food was excellent and the prices were very reasonable and the service was great. Bring your appetite because portions are generous. The only minor complaint was that the front wall of the restaurant opens to the street and the day we went was hot and muggy, so it was hot and muggy inside too. The food was still great though.
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