When I’m not eating on campus, I love to eat at Flat Top Grill in downtown Evanston. I love to eat Flat Top because unlike your sit down and order your food restaurant we’ve become accustomed to, Flat Top is an experience! On the surface, it’s a stir fry restaurant. If you’re picturing a place where you sit down and just order your food and it’s delivered to you, then stop. If you’re picturing a place where you place all of your ingredients in a bowl and then hand them to the chef at a giant flat top grill who then cooks your food upon it, then keep picturing that. It is exactly like that.

You get a bowl and then you place either rice or noodles in the bottom. From there you begin to layer in the sweet sweet vegetables, lovingly placing one after the other. Oh, what’s that? You weren’t planning on lovingly placing your vegetables today? Plan again. As if you weren’t excited enough about the myriad of veg that they offer, they really outdo themselves and have some offerings that are just seasonal and give you something new to try. So, rice/noodles? Check. Vegetables? Check. Now’s when things get serious. Now it’s time to sauce it up. In front of you are a multitude of sauces each with a ladle handle just begging to be tried, but how can you choose, you ask? Lucky for you, there’s a small cups that you can ladle into to try the sauces. They range from things from like your sesame gingers all the way to your pad thais and thai mustards. From here is the walk to the protein station. You put your protein of choice on top of the vegetable-sauce nirvana you have going and then it’s a short walk to the grill where the chef is waiting. But wait! What about the sticks that can add to your fry? Oh right, thanks for the reminder! They have different colored sticks you can place in the bowl to add things like eggs, roti bread, shrimp, or even turn your dish into a soup. So with stick, protein, sauce, vegetable, and base in your bowl, it’s time to say goodbye until it’s cooked to perfection. You sit down at your table, satisfied that your labor is now complete. Moments later you receive a grilled up version of everything in that bowl, perfectly mixed together and begging for immediate consumption.

It’s close to campus. It’s delicious. It’s where I eat off campus. Tune in next time when we find out the answer to the question everyone’s been asking, “Will he stop using rhetorical questions?”

–Brendan Flynn

image source: flattop.com

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