すし, 寿司, 鮨
In full transparency, I was not a big fan of sushi until about 2 years ago when I studied abroad in Milan. It was then that I got a bit more adventurous and began to appreciate the culinary art of sushi. To read more about my favorite sushi spots in Milan, click here!
Upon my return to the states I have been trying sushi restaurants here and there, and have found my favorite Chicago spot, Sushi Dokku. Located in the West Loop, Sushi Dokku is a chic and quaint Japanese restaurant serving sushi, sashimi, and small plates. From their modern wooden interior to their playlist that never disappoints, Sushi Dokku creates an amazing dining experience for each visit.
It wasn't until my third visit to Sushi Dokku that I tried their starter dishes (I think I was just too eager to dive right into the Maki Rolls ^_^), but be sure not to miss out on these great small plates! Two dishes I would like to highlight are the Gyoza and Gyu-Negima. The gyoza dumplings come with your choice of pan-seared pork or chicken. Often, at restaurants I am vexed by how they over fry the gyoza. But at Sushi Dokku, it is the perfect balance between steamed & pan-fried. The gyu-negima is green onion wrapped in strip steak and served with garlic soy sauce. Both are excellent ways to start you meal! Another small plate to take note of (not necessarily an app) is their Seared Scallops with apple plum purée and shredded daikon.
My favorite dish is the Dragon Roll. Shrimp tempura, wrapped in rice, and beautifully adorned with Unagi (eel), Avocado, and Masago. I get it every time I dine at Sushi Dokku and am never disappointed. All the components are fresh, perfectly arranged, and delicious. Some other honorable mentions include: Sake (fresh salmon nigiri), Hot Daisy, Crispy Maguro, and the Godzilla. The Hot Daisy maki roll is served with albacore (longfin tuna), masago, spicy mayo, and cucumber all wrapped in soy paper. This roll definitely has a kick and is great for anyone who like a little spice in their life! Cripsy Maguro is prepared with tuna, red onion, fried shallots, maguro flakes, avocado, and Togarashi mayo. Last but not least, the Godzilla roll is another shrimp tempura roll with avocado, tobiko, cream cheese, and sesame.
For those of you who might be saying, "I'm new to the sushi world...and not sure if I'm really down with the whole raw fish thing," have no fear! Sushi Dokku also has many other options for you to select from. Two hot dishes that I recommend include: The Shoyu ramen with pork and the Udon with tempura. Both of these dishes come with amazing broth, perfectly cooked noodles, and are wonderfully flavorful.
I'd be remise if I did not mention their Japanese inspired cocktails. My personal favorite is the Sakerita with sake, tequila, house-made sour, and fresh cucumber. I don't think I have ever had a cocktail so refreshing in my life! If you are looking for a quality bar in the West Loop, you can also head to the lower level of Sushi Dokku and try their amazing bar selection.
One thing I think is important to note is that the restaurant has a pretty long list of rolls to try; however, I have noticed that there is not a lot of salmon on the menu. Sorry salmon lovers! Instead, there seems to be a lot of tuna on the menu. Not a bad thing, but make sure you mix up your order with a variety of fish/seafood to avoid mercury poisoning! (aka don't eat too much tuna).
Sushi Dokku is a must try for any sushi lover in Chicago, and a to-do list add for anyone visiting the windy city. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Sushi Dokku has also been a Michelin Bib Gourmand Winner for 2014, 2015, & 2016. So eat, drink, and be merry on your way into 2018!