The beauty of Chicago is no matter what you have a taste for, chances are the Windy City has it. According to Shiftgig.com, Chicago has 6,190 full-service restaurants; 8,685 counter service restaurants; 124 cafeterias and buffets; 1,564 snack and specialty food bars; 1,125 food service contractors; 426 caterers; and 35 mobile food services.
So it's pretty easy to believe how a Thai-loving resident can drive past Fishing Cat Sushi Bar & Thai Cuisine without ever noticing it. According to one of the workers, this location at 2706 W. Peterson Ave., has been open for two years. The poor parking options (Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. is parking permit only) make it even more difficult to notice the Thai restaurant nestled between other businesses on Peterson Ave.'s busy street.
But thanks to GrubHub being a one-stop shop to let consumers know which restaurants serve what type of food; how far they deliver; how much the deliver fee will be; who prepares fresh vegetarian options; and what holidays and weekends they're available, the only place that met all that criteria on New Year's Eve was Fishing Cat Sushi Bar.
And as with any restaurant a consumer enjoys, chances are much higher that curiosity will make her want to eventually poke her head in the physical location.
On New Year's Eve the first order was Thai tofu fried rice, crab rangoon and avocado veggie rolls. Delivery was surprisingly quick considering New Year's Eve is a busy night, and the delivery guy met me with a pleasant smile.
The food was even better than the service. The difference between a neighborhood corner-store restaurant and a restaurant that costs a little bit more and excludes all the grease is obvious. The Thai tofu fried rice was delicious. The vegetables were fresh. Even though seaweed is not my favorite to eat, menu items with avocados seldom get complaints from my end. More often than not, crab rangoon at neighborhood spots is more wonton and cream cheese with less crab. However, to my delight, the crab stood out in these miniature rangoons.
Trying to make that leap from pescatarian to vegetarian (which can be very difficult for someone whose biggest challenge is nixing seafood) in 2014, crab rangoon was not an option on Sun., Jan. 19.
The menu selections this time around were the same Thai tofu fried rice (which was too delicious to not buy a repeat order), sweet potato rolls and a hot cup of green tea.
While waiting for the order, I looked around at a quaint and quiet restaurant. The seats in the middle of the restaurant look about like any other restaurant but the tables on the side walls are made of one long wooden bench. Does that sound uncomfortable? Fishing Cat Sushi Bar has that covered. Every individual seat has a decorative pillow to sit on, giving restaurant patrons enough room to sit their coats and bags next to them but still comfortably sit down and enjoy the chair-sitting company across from them.
The single bathroom is immaculate, and for some odd reason, there are paintings of singer Beyonce and President Barack Obama hanging on the walls.
Outside of an occasional overhead announcement that an online delivery came through their computer system, the background music is pop songs, such as Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On" and OneRepublic's "Counting Stars."
The service is quick and polite. The restaurant is dim enough to be "date worthy" but light enough for solo restaurant patrons who want to read while eating. And the casual atmosphere with the staff makes Fishing Cat Sushi Bar even more cozy. My waitress amused me by wearing a sweatshirt with Snoopy's brother, Spike. As a Peanuts fan, this automatically made me calculate her tip with a higher amount.
The food is fresh, served at the right temperature and displayed on pretty dishes. The highlight of the meal was the sweet potato rolls. This was a surprise because I'm not a fan of vegetable tempura but love sweet potatoes. Something about putting greasy batter on fresh vegetables seems counterproductive, but the way these rolls were prepared was mouth watering.
The sweet potato veggie rolls are made with sweet potato tempura, mayo and sweet soy sauce. The sweet potato crunchy texture overpowers the slightly chewy taste of the seaweed wrapped around each individual roll covered in rice.
The only downside of the visit was the dessert options have no variety. It's just two scoops of red bean ice cream. Other than that, Fishing Cat Sushi Bar could easily be a regular hangout when I have a taste for Thai food, which is almost all of the time.
Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago vegetarian entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Vegetarian channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Diet & Exercise" and "Vegetarian World" Pinterest boards. She's on Twitter @BlackHealthNews.