Apparently, I have a relative who knows the owner of Stir Crazy because he went to the same college that her son attended. Weird.
Anyway, there’s one located in a corner of Northbrook Court, and even from outside the restaurant, I could smell something good wafting out of the kitchen. The atmosphere inside is pretty boisterous and lively – the bold red, yellow and black interior didn’t lose to the flamboyancy of the chefs who were cooking behind a counter, occasionally setting their woks on fire in some pretty dangerous-looking display. It was also pretty full and noisy, so even though I wouldn’t want to come here on, say, a first date (not romantic at all!), it’s definitely a good place to hang out with a big group of friends and party all night. Or until they close, that is.
My friends and I were seated immediately, and given menus to look over. A pretty nice selection of Asian foods, although they were more Asian fusion than truly authentic Asian cuisine. I chose the Fuji tuna salad, while my friends chose the Pad Thai and salmon with grilled vegetables (I forgot the exact name – it’s under the “Crazy Light” section in the menu). I tried a bit of the Pad Thai, which came out very hot, which is the best temperature, and spicier than the usual Pad Thai I’d find in other Asian fusion restaurants. Mmmm. The sourness of the lime balanced just right with the sweet sauce mixed in with the noodles, and there were bits of tofu and chicken within the layers of noodles, kind of like finding mini-treasures to eat.
As for my salad, the tuna was seared just right and had a very good seasoned crust to it. The vegetables were just what made my dish a ‘salad’, so they weren’t that special. Fresh, but that’s pretty much it. The wasabi soy dressing was actually a lot spicier than I’d expected it to be, which gave the dish quite the kick – especially through my sinuses!
Portions were pretty big, because even though I only had mostly vegetables to fill up on, I couldn’t finish the whole thing, and neither could my friends. I have still yet to find a restaurant in America that serves Asian-sized portions, not even in Chinatown (tapas and dim sum places don’t really count).
The biggest letdown to this place, though, was the service. I think they’re pretty understaffed, so our waiter forgot quite a few details in our requests – for example, my friend asked for lemon water, and I asked for the same, only when he returned, he only had lemon in my friend’s cup of water and not mine. My other friend ordered an iced tea, and when it came, she asked for sugar, but never got it. She finally had to get up and go get it herself. Our food also took quite some time to arrive. See? Definitely understaffed. But I guess it’s a good sign that they’re so busy…
I’ll give them a 6/10. Maybe I should have picked a different dish (the Pad Thai was better than my salad), but I’m still trying to lose some weight for the summer. Meh. Oh, and as an extra tip, if you go to Stir Crazy quite often, Costco sells their gift cards at a discount – $80 for $100! Pretty good deal, if I do say so myself. Which I do.