1720 W Algonquin Rd
Arlington Heights, IL
With an outpost in Chicago’s Chinatown, the Penang empire is spreading Westward with a new location in Arlington Heights. M and me, along with our Junior food editor A, are all big fans of Asian foods, so we were excited to try something new. Malay food itself is bit of fusion between Malay, Thai, Chinese, and Indian cuisines, so we were excited to sample this variety. Though Penang’s building formerly housed a burger joint, We were impressed by the sophisticated, modern decor at Penang and the airy space. In the nooks and crannies of the restaurant there were little personal touches everywhere – including a series of gold Buddhas standing watch.
The menu at Penang is wide and varied featuring curries, noddles and meat dishes. I ordered Curry Mee ($7.95) – chicken and shrimp with rice noodles in a coconut broth. The curry came in a bowl with tons of tasty broth and round rice noodles and was rich and delicious. A ordered Malaysian sweet and sour chicken ($11.95). Much like the common Chinese dish – it consisted of lightly breaded chicken, Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, sweet and sour sauce. However, the sauce in Penang’s rendition was tangier and not as cloyingly sweet as S&S chicken usually is. M ordered the Ayam Rendang ($11.95) – onion, lemongrass and red chili paste in a coconut gravy. The dish was pleasantly sweet, but with some kick to it. Of all of the dishes, this one had the most Indian influence.
The service at Penang was very attentive and always arrived with a smile (at least out kind waiter did). To M’s delight, the waiters at Penang were quick at refilling our water glasses. Everything was delicious and unique, and A enjoyed her first foray into Malaysian food. We were tempted by the mango smoothie ($3.50) on the menu, but our entrees left us full. Maybe next time.