Northwest Herald

Mystery Diner in Crystal Lake: Tasty Bistro serves up cuisine from across Asia

Tasty Bistro in Crystal Lake.

Crystal Lake — A giant octopus preparing sushi greets passersby along Route 14 at the entrance to Tasty Bistro, a new Asian fusion restaurant that celebrated its grand opening this weekend.

In a former steakhouse and supper club designed to look like a European chalet, an eclectic decor sets the stage for the expansive menu and dynamic options Tasty Bistro offers.

Branded as “Asian fusion,” the menu highlights a wide range of staples from across various cultures, so diners are likely to find something to their taste.

In trying to sample as many different dishes as possible, I ordered Chinese, Japanese and Thai entrees when I went there on Saturday evening. At the time, the grand opening banners were still up around the building.

Tasty Bistro in Crystal Lake.

In contrast to the steakhouse facade, the interior includes bright modern seating with striking blue lighting and mirrored panels in the dining area. The restaurant also has an open sushi bar, where you can watch the chefs prepare plates to order.

It’s one of the areas where the new restaurant shines; the menu features four pages of sushi, sashimi and sushi rolls, and although I am not a sushi connoisseur, the spicy tuna roll ($7.50) lived up to the restaurant’s “tasty” billing.

That and the spicy miso ramen with beef ($14) were among the standouts I tried. Considering the menu also offers tempura, hibachi and teriyaki plates, the restaurant would seem to lean toward Japanese cuisine.

The other two entrees I ordered were Kung Pao Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai, each $13.50.

Spicy ramen with beef at Tasty Bistro in Crystal Lake.

All four kinds of meat I selected – tuna, beef, chicken and shrimp – were flavorful and properly cooked, with the portions impressive.

The Kung Pao Chicken was well-sauced and had a healthy mix of veggies and peanuts, although I could have taken it a bit spicier. The shrimp in the noodles were really nicely prepared, with a light coating that absorbed the sauce without getting too soggy. The Pad Thai is of the sweeter variety.

The ramen was outstanding, served piping hot and extremely spicy.

Sushi at Tasty Bistro in Crystal Lake.

Tasty Bistro is the second eatery from restaurateur Jack Chen, after Tasty Sushi in Cary. Chen announced plans for Tasty Bistro in February.

It is the third restaurant in the space since 2019; 815 Chop House opened in 2019, replacing the M Supper Club, but closed during the pandemic.

Although I arrived early on a Saturday, there was a nice mix of families and others seated at the sushi bar.

The menu also offers dessert and a large selection of sake and Japanese beer such as Sapporo. I imagine the sizable menu will make the restaurant both a popular takeout destination and dine-in option for families and other patrons in Crystal Lake and the surrounding area.

Tea and edamame at Tasty Bistro in Crystal Lake.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Tasty Bistro

WHERE: 394 W. Virginia St., Crystal Lake

PHONE: 815-919-5999

INFORMATION: tastybistrocl.com

Pad Thai at Tasty Bistro in Crystal Lake.