Looking for Asian food, made to order, and at budget-conscious prices? Look no further than Modern Asian Kitchen, or MAK. MAK is located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, and is a counter service restaurant serving Asian Fusion fare.
All meats served at MAK are raised naturally, and are free of antibiotics, hormones, and steroids. The produce is sourced locally when possible. And, unlike many other Chinese restaurants, MAK uses no MSG. All of the food served at MAK is based upon recipes handed down through the generations, but refined and adapted to a sustainable environment.
I recently visited for dinner, and was impressed with my experience. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, so my friend and I shared a number of items. MAK was extremely accommodating of my soy allergy; not an easy feat for an Asian restaurant. In fact, MAK is a nut-free restaurant, as well, and I learned that they make a wonderful nut-free pad thai! They also offer a large number of gluten-free items.
MAK serves beer and sake, and I opted for the sake, served in the cutest bottle with a convenient cap that doubles as the cup. It tasted great, too!
We then shared some vegetables to start, including the tangy Chinese bean sprouts, seasoned broccoli, mushrooms & onions, and blistered green beans. I love my veggies, and I found all four to be delicious and not at all greasy.
Our first entree then arrived – a bowl of brown rice, topped with fantastic shrimp, lightly fried and served with a tangy and spicy glaze. These shrimp were addicting! Because each dish is made to order, the spice level is completely adaptable to your preferences. We requested ours to be at a medium-level of spice and it was perfect. This was my favorite dish of the night.
The pad thai came next – an off-menu item that I recommend. Because MAK is a nut-free restaurant, its pad thai is made with fish sauce, instead. While my friend thought that it needed more flavor, I enjoyed it. Egg and vegetables were distributed throughout, and it was not greasy like the pad thai found in many restaurants. I also loved the squeeze of lime that gave it some brightness.
We heard great things about the falafel, so we had to give them a try. Made from a mixture of edamame, brown rice, quinoa, and chickpeas, and served in MAK’s signature sweet and spicy wang sauce to give them an Asian twist, they passed my friend’s critical test. Because they contain soy, I could not try them, but she described them as soft and pillowy, and extremely fresh and flavorful.
Another dish worth a look is the MAK-Gogi, Korean-style marinated beef with Spanish onions, served over rice. The meat was tender and flavorful and is an excellent choice for those looking for red meat.
In addition to rice and quinoa bowls, MAK serves soups, salads, and wraps. Nothing on MAK’s menu is over $11, making MAK a fantastic value, especially considering the quality of the ingredients served, the portion sizes, and that everything is made to order. MAK has plans to expand and open additional locations in the coming months, but in the meantime, be sure to head to Wicker Park for a delicious meal. Stay and eat in the casual and relaxing restaurant, order it to go, or call and have it delivered if you live in the surrounding areas.
1924 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622
While my meal at MAK was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.