Northwest Herald

Mystery Diner in Crystal Lake: The Breakers is uniquely different

Tiki bar is like a step back in time

As billed, The Breakers is uniquely different. The atmosphere is pleasant. The staff very attentive and the food a step above.

Walking into The Breakers restaurant and cocktail lounge is like stepping back in time. The decor hearkens back to the TV show “Hawaii Five-0,″ with Jack Lord, and singer Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles.”

Adding to this atmosphere was live music, providing a subtle offering of easy listening hits from the 1970s. The musician took requests from the bar and restaurant patrons.

The tiki bar’s tropical drink choices run the gamut from the local cocktail Lenny’s Revenge to a Rum Runner. And the food menu is like a tour of Asia, with a mix of American offerings for good measure. The Breakers calls its menu “uniquely different,” and promises food enthusiasts “a truly enjoyable dining experience.” That’s accurate.

There are a lot of options, including Mandarin and Cantonese family dinner specials for two to eight people (ranging from $28 to $140).

The Breakers egg rolls are hand rolled with a nice blend of chicken, pork and fresh vegetables.

Our group of four opted to stick to the Asian side of the menu, starting with steamed pork potstickers ($8.49) and The Breakers’ “famous” egg rolls ($2.49 each). The egg rolls were hand-rolled with a nice blend of chicken, pork and fresh vegetables.

For our entrees, we chose to share our meals family style. Each choice was presented in a covered dish, a welcome touch that kept the meal hot as we sampled each item.

We selected Kung Poa Shrimp ($13.49), Hong Sue Gai Kew Chicken ($11.49) and Mongolian Beef ($16.49) with a side of Pork Fried Rice ($9.50).

The Kung Poa Shrimp at The Breakers has green and red peppers, celery, onions and peanuts sautéed in a spicy garlic chili sauce.

The Kung Poa Shrimp had green and red peppers, celery, onions and peanuts sautéed in a spicy garlic chili sauce. It had a wonderful flavor, with its kick a little on the mild side.

Hong Sue Gai Kew featured tender slices of chicken breast dipped in egg batter, fried and nestled atop a bed of steaming Chinese vegetables, garnished with mushrooms.

Mongolian Beef ($16.49) at The Breakers includes beef sliced very thin and stir fried with onions and scallions, in a traditional peppered Mongolian sauce.

A unanimous favorite was the Mongolian Beef with beef sliced very thin and stir-fried with onions and scallions in a traditional peppered Mongolian sauce. The sauce was succulent and the beef very tender.

Pork Fried Rice was some of the best we’ve had in McHenry County.

We left The Breakers very full and with plenty to bring home for a couple lunches.

As billed, The Breakers is uniquely different. The atmosphere is pleasant, the staff very attentive, and the food a step above.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a different restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

Seeking reader suggestions: We welcome readers to share their recommendations of places they would like the Mystery Diner to visit. Email ideas to tips@nwherald.com.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: The Breakers

WHERE: 7728 Route 14, Crystal Lake

PHONE: 815-459-9860

INFORMATION: breakerstiki.com