Good prices, great fare at well-stocked Lu’s Sushi & Chinese
BY THOMAS WITOM Dining January 12, 2012 10:36AM
At Lu’s Sushi & Chinese, the specialty maki rolls come in many varieties including the special “Glen Ellyn” maki that boasts deep-fried red snapper and a crab stick.
LU’S SUSHI & CHINESE ★★
579 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn
Prices: Appetizers: $3-$8.50; entrees: $8-$26. Sushi by the piece: $2-$3.75.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday
Try: Lu’s does a good job with noodle dishes like Pad Thai and Lo Mein and Szechuan beans. Its extensive sushi and maki offerings also are worth considering.
Tips: Reservations accepted. Carryout and delivery service. Bar serves beer, wine and sake. Casual attire. Good for conversation.
In a bite: Only one year old, Lu’s Sushi & Chinese, housed in Glen Ellyn’s Market Plaza Shopping Center, does a good job with an Asian menu that covers a lot of ground.
KEY: ★★★★ Extraordinary; ★★★ Excellent;
★★ Very Good; ★ Good;
Zero stars: Poor
Lu’s Sushi & Chinese recently turned the corner on its first anniversary, a milestone in the competitive restaurant industry where many startups fail to hit their stride and founder in less than a year.
But this relative newcomer to Glen Ellyn has stayed the course. Its extensive, thoughtfully prepared and moderately priced Asian menu continues to attract diners from both the neighborhood and surrounding suburbs.
At Lu’s, two diners could fill their bellies for less than $40, excluding alcohol — and still leave with leftovers for a fine lunch the next day.
Started by Joyce and Ping Lu, sisters with a foodservice background, the spacious restaurant is designed to accommodate large and small groups. It features booths and tables, a sushi bar off the main dining room where one could watch maki rolls take shape and another area of low-slung Japanese-style tables.
Attentive servers bring new arrivals moistened, heated towels, a nice touch. Beer, wine and sake are available, though a pot of green tea also goes well with Lu’s fare. All ample time to digest the menu’s many options.
On the Chinese side, traditional Cantonese and Szechwan dishes — some 75 in all — are listed by category: seafood, beef, pork, fowl, vegetables and noodles and rice. In addition, seven different made-to-order hand-pulled noodle soups are available.
Among the appetizers, pork-filled pot stickers, crab rangoon and chicken-and-shrimp spring rolls were tempting, but a bowl of hot and sour soup proved an ideal tonic on the chilly winter’s night of my visit.
Crispy duck was my first pick as an entree, but none was available (other than Peking Duck, which required a 40-minute wait). Pad Thai became Plan B, and this entree was an excellent version. It featured perfectly seasoned stir-fried rice noodles in a moderately spicy sauce, as requested, mingled with thin strips of tender beef and garnished with crushed peanuts and a fresh lime. A shared side order of Szechuan green beans radiating pleasant garlic notes added balance to the meal.
A dining partner also turned to another comfort food dish for her entree. Expertly prepared lo mein noodles derived flavor from a delicate sauce and interspersed pork, chicken and shrimp.
Among other standards to be had were Kung Pao Beef, Szechwan-style prawns, General Tso’s Chicken and Moo-Shu Pork.
Meanwhile, diners at nearby tables were concentrating on Lu’s Japanese offerings. A lot of specialty maki rolls were in evidence as well as tempura and teriyaki dishes. The restaurant has even created a namesake maki that honors its home town; the Glen Ellyn combines deep-fried red snapper and a crab stick.
The bill came with fortune cookies but not a whisper about dessert options. I subsequently learned that Lu’s does offer mochi, New York cheesecake, ice cream, sorbet and tiramisu. Or one could always enjoy a post-prandial glass of plum wine.
Thomas Witom is a local free-lance writer.