We have some picky eaters in our house, so visiting a restaurant as a family is not something we do often. Usually only one or two of our children tag along with us to a place that is carefully selected for its ability to provide a dish that has a better-than-50-percent chance of being consumed. With this criterion in mind, I took my 12-year-old son with me on a mid-June Friday night to Au Jus in Milan. Formerly called Hodge Podge, the new restaurant opened in August. Turns out I picked the right kid, anyway.

"You are new here!" he beamed.

He was right, of course. Our host/owner Xuan "Suni" Nguyen greeted us immediately when we entered his dining room, and his regular diners were smiling at a routine they must have witnessed dozens of times.