The spawn of a pair of suburban Japanese steakhouses, Aodake Bistro is a counter-service operation that specializes in what it calls "traditional and westernized Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese food/beverages/snacks." Or what I like to call an "identity crisis." It's not every day that a restaurant expands into the city from Will County, but somehow these folks have figured out that the 4600 block of N. Clark Street is dense with customers who can't decide which part of the world's largest continent they want to eat lunch in. Actually, almost everything on the menu is Japanese-ish, from a standard lineup of sushi to rice and noodle dishes like steak teriyaki, tonkatsu over rice, and yakisoba—and many of the latter group in the form of "Asian sando" on white bread.
The dan bing at least shows evidence of forward thinking, even though the crepe is rather doughy and wet and barely contains any egg, cheese, or scallions. You can get them with bacon, sausage, or ham—or all three—and there's a vegetable variety too, though the traditional pork bing I ordered held no swine that I could divine, except for a sprinkle of floss on top. These go for $5.99 to take away or for the fancy plated version to eat while lingering inside, pinkies up, napkin tucked.
It's odd that the folks behind Aodake didn't decide to go full-service Benihana on this sprawling space—it's not like the north side has too many serious Japanese steakhouses. Then again the goopy, oversauced scraps of filet mignon teriyaki I tried didn't inspire much confidence in that arena. For that matter, neither did the sloppily rolled maki. There is a fairly broad beverage selection—beer, sake, plum wine, and some iconic Japanese soft drinks—for an operation of such limited ambitions, though nothing that ought to startle you. And that seems to be the ruling principle here, obscure regional Chinese breakfast foods notwithstanding.