I recently met with Chris Traynor, executive chef, and Austin Braithwaite, Front House Manager, of pl8, for a little Q&A.
How long has PL8 been established in Barrington, and how long have you worked there?
AB: We opened February 2011. I have been with the restaurant since we opened, and Chris Traynor has been the executive chef since September 2011.
What type of food is served, and how would you describe the atmosphere?
CT: Chinese and Japanese fusion with some influences from some other east Asian countries. We are well known for our Szechuan cuisine and fresh sushi.
What are some of your most popular dishes, and what are some of your recent specials?
CT: Black pepper garlic beef, and seven spice ahi are some of our patron's favorites. Some popular specials have been: Libations - watermelon margarita, madfish sauvignon blanc from Australia, pacific pineapple hard cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse. Appetizers - watermelon tuna salad and pomegranate picnic sushi roll. Entrees - jajangmyeon, blackened Chilean sea bass, and chimichurri lamb lollipops.
What are your personal favorite items on the menu?
AB: Our house made crab rangoon chopsticks, and our tuna tower.
I am a huge fan of chicken pad thai, and I have enjoyed it at your restaurant multiple times. What wine would you suggest I order with it on my next visit?
AB: Any white wine would go great with pad thai, but my personal preference would have to be Jules Taylor sauvignon blanc.
Covid 19 has impacted businesses across the board, how has it specifically impacted pl8?
AB: The biggest impact I would have to say is that we don’t know what to expect from one day to the next.
I see pl8 is once again offering indoor dining, as well an outdoor patio. Are you seeing a lot of familiar faces returning?
AB: Yes, we have seen many familiar faces returning to our establishment, as well as some new customers. I think our carry-out may have introduced us to some people who may have not experienced our menu before.
What makes pl8 unique and set apart from other restaurants that specialize in Asian cuisine?
CT: I think our menu hits all the classic Asian dishes that you would expect from any Asian establishment, but we create a special menu every month taking traditional Asian dishes or ingredients and creating out of the box dishes you won’t find elsewhere.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know about pl8?
CT: We offer a gluten free menu, and will do our best to suit dietary restrictions.
AB: We would like our customers to know that we really appreciate their support during this hard and uncertain time, and that we will continue to do our best to make sure everyone has a memorable experience.
Be sure to check out pl8, located in the Foundry at at 736 W. Northwest Hwy. Barrington, IL