If you want to eat near an L stop, you can't get much closer than Satay. In the shadow of the Brown Line, this restaurant might be a mere blip on the radar of those who frequent the Diversey stop, but it offers traditional, reasonably priced Pan-Asian cuisine and fast, friendly service.
Though it's mainly a delivery or take-out place, Satay provides a brightly lit, cozy interior. You probably won't find the fluorescent green-colored walls anywhere else, but this hue actually works well with the otherwise crisply white decor. If you grab one of the two tables by the window, be prepared for slightly cramped seating. The tables in the back provide more space and a full view of the exposed kitchen. You’ll hear every sizzle as the chefs saute and steam your dishes to perfection. The huge menu has something to satisfy everyone—and at reasonable prices, too. Choose from a slew of appetizers, like shrimp dumplings or roti and yellow curry for $4.95 and $5.95, respectively. For the sushi lovers, there are more than 20 maki rolls starting at $2.95 and topping out at $13.95 for the crabby dragon roll. Satay offers sushi a la carte as well, featuring shrimp, tuna and salmon rolls, among others. These go for about two bucks a piece. Fried rice and noodle dishes like the always-popular pad thai are $7-$9, or choose from an extensive entree list, with prices ranging from $8-$15. There are classics like sweet and sour chicken and Mongolian beef as well as unique options like chicken and mango with candied walnuts or roasted duck with tamarind sauce.
Satay is BYOB and has a great lunch special from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. every day. For $5.45, choose a chicken or tofu bowl filled with a special sauce and steamed vegetables.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: John Kristoff