I'm visiting my boyfriend in Schaumburg for ten days and staying right near the Woodfield mall....I've been here many times before, but this is the first time we've had a rental car, so we can explore more than just the mall area. Where are some good places to go, perhaps for a good brunch or affordable sushi?
For affordable sushi and tons of other Japanese grocery items, you must go to Mitsuwa Marketplace: www.mitsuwa.com/english/index.html It has its own food court. It's certainly not fine dining, but it's fun street food. It's in Arlington Heights.
Of course, if you have a car and are in town for 10 days, you have the entire City of Chicago to explore, if you choose. It's less than an hour (depending on when you travel) to the City.
Good points by rubinow. Mitsuwa is also next door to (and shares its parking lot with) the previously-recommended Yanni's.
Sundays are a particularly good time to go into the city, because the traffic is light. This discussion has a comprehensive review of options for breakfast and brunch, including Sunday brunch:
Hey mlsho@ Mitsuwa, here's my plan of attack:
Go to the food court, order something to accompany your sushi. There are a decent number of options, I usually go with a big bowl of udon or another brothy noodle. Don't wait for your order if it's busy. Put in your order, then go to the sushi case, and grab a few trays. Next, go to the feezer section, and grab a pakage of mochi, and pick up a drink too. Pay at the checkout lanes, and go back to the food court to check on your order. Grab a bubble tea, and have your feast.
When you're done, then take a leisurely stroll through the store. Maybe grab a few pastries at the bakery, and a scoop or two of ice cream. This plan might help avoid confusion when you walk in, if it's busy, and you feel out of place.
I HIGHLY recommend MItsuwa as well. Plan on a three hour adventure especially if you like asian food and stuff.
ALSO, there is another place (Mitsuwa Light - if you will) South of Mitsuwa on Arlington Heights road. I forget the name of the joint (Tensuke Market?,) but someone will know it (GO Chowhounds!) It's a smaller market, and it also has a sushi counter in it as well. I'd say it's about 3/4 mile SOUTH of Mitsuwa and it's in a strip mall near what I think is a bowling alley. A lot of folks I know prefer this joint for supermarket eat in sushi. I think they are much less crowded, and there is an itumae at the ready where as mitsuwa just has someone making trays, and filling up the case. I have had GREAT sushi at Mitsuwa, however. I think it's best to get there just before noon, when the sushi case is getting stocked with fresh goods. Also, I think right around closing time, all the sushi in the case at mitsuwa is 1/2 price. I have not SEEN this first hand, but have heard it from a few ppl.
LOL - sorry for bending your ear, but I love Mitsuwa.
Also, in Woodfield, there is Toadai,an all you can eat Japanese restaurant / Sushi joint. I've never been, and all I can say is that I've heard mixed reviews. Very good to not so good at all. http://www.todai.com/index_usa.html
I'm not so familiar with brunch joints in the area, sorry. But if you post about other things you might like or might like to try, feel free to ping. Ten days is a LOT of time to try some new stuff if you are from out of twon. Scahumburg, by the way, has a decent amount of Indian Places. Or if you wanna plan some good eats in the city, or other suburbs, just ask. You won't be that far away. Thai? Vietnamese? Ethiopian? Pakistani? French? Cuban? Mexican? What floats yer boat? How far do you wanna go? If you wanna pinpoint something, just ask.
Oh, another one just popped into my head. I have a few sushi eating friends I work with. One of them is always screaming about an all you can eat joint that he just LOVES. Sushi Para in Palatine. This is not the BEST sushi you'll ever have, but it might just be the best for the price. Not BAD and cheap, but very good and cheap.
Not all that wowed by Tensuke. Definitely Mitsuwa-lite and not worth a separate trip.
As for brunch offerings, Egg Harbor in downtown Arlington Heights (quick 10-15 minutes from Schaumburg) is a wonderful breakfast place. It's a small local chain but the food is good and consistent.
"and there is an itumae at the ready where as mitsuwa just has someone making trays, and filling up the case."
If you catch the attention of someone in the window at Mitsuwa they'll do requests. As for "making trays" I'm impressed that the Mitsuwa trays are time-stamped so you can see how long they've been out, athough they generally don't sit around for very long.
Todai can be an OK deal if you go at weekday lunch when it's cheaper, AND if you like the hot dishes and desserts. You can't eat anough cheap sushi to make it worth what they charge IMO. You're better off at Mitsuwa or that place on Algonquin called Happy Sushi or something with the big sushi cat.
Todai is really different than most other buffets. From my experience, the place is great on slow nights like Monday - Wednesday when they are NOT busy. The food is fresh and the food is well prepared.
Head there on the weekend, the food quality suffers as the staff is rushed and they cannot keep up with the crowds.
Some of the best places in Schaumburg itself are outposts of excellent restaurants which started elsewhere in the city and suburbs. These include:
Shaw's Crab House (seafood) - www.shawscrabhouse.com
Pete Miller's (steakhouse) - www.petemillers.com
Davis Street Fishmarket (seafood) - www.davisstreetfishmarket.com
Lou Malnati's (deep-dish pizza) - www.loumalnatis.com
Nearby are some excellent restaurants that are more unique:
Flamingo's Seafood in Mount Prospect (creative Mexican) - www.flamingosseafood.com
AltThai in Arlington Heights (Thai) - www.altthai.com
Yanni's in Arlington Heights (Greek) - www.yannis-restaurant.com
Le Titi de Paris in Arlington Heights (French) - www.letitideparis.com
For breakfast/brunch, here are two recommendations: