On a quiet, but cold January weekday, I headed north to Lincoln Square, the predominantly German neighborhood in Chicago.
I forgot how cute Lincoln Square was with independent salons and cozy restaurants, and The Old Town School of Folk Music. Even the library was nice and hosting game night.
It was time for a celebration, a one-year celebration at Miku Sushi (4514 N. Lincoln Ave.). Stanley Liem and Sara Katekaew, the husband and wife owners of the Japanese restaurant hosted a few blogger dinners this January 2016 to celebrate. They are also offering half-priced maki sushi throughout January, 11:00 am -6:00 pm for dine-in.
The menu is extensive: soups, salads, small plates, maki, ramen, sushi, nigari, special entrées and desserts.
The restaurant is hot with flames right beside you from the kitchen. And even the sushi is presented on fire—or atleast the most-talked about roll, The Flaming Dragon Maki (shrimp tempura, salmon, super white tuna, black tobiko, scallion, honey spicy mayo).
The first cocktail I had tasted surprisingly good. Miku Sushi is notorious for mixing opposite flavors and making them compliment. From the waiter’s recommendation, I tried the Kyoto Lime (Absolut vanilla, rose’s lime, triple sec, simple syrup, fresh lime ). It smelled like a vanilla candle and tasted like key lime pie, but not overly sweet. With a salted rim and a lime on the side, it was refined and delicious.
Martinis & Appetizers:
It paired nicely with our appetizers of Kabocha King Crab Soup (puree squash, king crab, white miso, cream chive), which seriously might make me change my mind about my go to, Miso Soup. The Kabocha King Crab Soup tasted rich and similar to Butternut Squash Soup, but with buttery, sweet undertones because of the cream on top and crab on the bottom.
The second cocktail I had tasted like heaven. It’s called a Geisha (Absolut vanilla, chambord, coffee liquor, and pineapple juice). But like anything that’s good, it doesn’t last. This is one martini you can’t sip on for a whole meal because it will start to separate. Consider it a larger shot then normal.
Dessert Martini & Dessert Sushi:
The cocktail tasted milky like a White Russian, but then the pineapple juice brought hints of a pina colada. I paired it with the Robusuta a.k.a. The Banana Lobster Roll (lobster, fried banana, red tobiko, wrapped inside-out with crispy rice, topped with micro green and spicy honey mayo). Miku Sushi loves to experiment with different flavors, and this was one dish that you weren’t going to make for yourself, so I made my whole table try it. They preferred my cocktail, as I always do.
I could eat my entire meal with appetizers.
The Pork Belly Bun ( Braised pork belly, bun, micro green, carrot and daikon pickle, house mayo) is similar to a Bao. I don’t like Bao’s, but I really appreciated The Pork Belly Bun. The pickled carrots on the side add extra flavor.
For those who love the Edamame, Miku Sushi added flavor with sea salt.
Upon first bite the Rock Shrimp (tempura, house spicy sweet glaze, mixed green) was spicy. So spicy, but so undeniably good. It was a favorite among our table.
My favorite was the Spicy Tuna Ravioli (spicy tuna, house lemon soy sauce, tempura crunch and spicy crab meat wrapped in thinly sliced avocado, sweet soy). The avocado is thinly sliced and wraps around the fresh tuna. There is only a hint of lemon, and that’s all you need. It’s similar to Tuna Tartar (truffle soy, avocado, chive, micro green, chips), which is also on the menu. The main difference is that the Spicy Tuna Ravioli comes sans chips.
Miku Sushi offers two types of ramen, traditional ramen, or Tonkotsu Ramen (egg noodle, rich pork broth, pork belly, soft boil egg, bamboo shoot, sesame, scallion, mushroom, bean sprout, garlic oil) and Spicy Roasted Garlic Miso Ramen (egg noodle, rick pork broth, pork belly, soft boil egg, bamboo shoot, sesame, scallion, mushroom, bean sprout, roasted garlic, chili pepper, sesame oil).
I have seen a few Chicago bloggers, like Van (@vansventuras) post ramen in her Instagram pictures from all over Chicago and have always wanted to try real ramen (not the instant noodles).
“Our recipe is authentically Japanese, and we take 72 hours of slow cooking and many steps to prepare it,” Liem said for a press release with Kurman Communicatons.
We first tried Tokotsu Ramen. It was warm and delicious, but nothing compares to the Spicy Roasted Garlic Miso Ramen. I usually can’t handle really spicy foods, and this was a mild spicy blend. It was delicious.
I would come back for the Spicy Roasted Garlic Miso Ramen alone.
Our first dish of Robusuta a.k.a. The Banana Lobster Rollwasn’t terrible (see: Dessert Martini & Dessert Sushi). It was, however, beautifully presented, as all of their dishes were.
But, what came next was creative, delicious, and gone within minutes.
It was mochi, which if you haven’t had, please do. It’s Japanese ice cream. Note: I had mochi in a Chinatown restaurant and it was served warm during Dim Sum. That is not real mochi.
Cookie Dough Spring Roll
This dessert deserves its own award. It’s the cookie dough spring roll. It was like raw cookie dough rolled up and lightly drizzled with chocolate. It came with a strawberry sauce on the side. It was a perfect way to end the night.
Miku Sushi is a cute restaurant that takes Japanese cuisine to a flavorful and creative level. Not only are their dishes floral, saucy, and decadent, but they are also original.
There are too many good dishes to only come back once. So, I am going to give you two recommendations.
Appetizer: Kabocha King Crab Soup and Rock Shrimp
Main Dish: The Flaming Dragon Maki
I want to try a few other rolls: Ocean Sundae (shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado, red tobiko, sriracha, scallion covered with tempura crumb, wasabi mayo and sweetsoy); and the Smokey Bear (unagi, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber, topped with smoked salmon)
Martini: Kyoto Lime
Dessert: Cookie Dough Spring Roll and Mochi
Appetizer: Spicy Tuna Ravioli and Rock Shrimp. The fresh tuna and avocado paired with the spicy shrimp is perfection.
Main Dish: Spicy Roasted Garlic Miso Ramen
Martini: Red Occtupus (effen’s vodka, triple sec, rose’s lime juice, pomegranate juice) – the waiter told me this is one of the best of their cocktails
Dessert: Cookie Dough Spring Roll
Mikus Sushi is offering half-priced maki sushi throughout January, 11:00 am -6:00 pm for dine-in.