A chic escape in the heart of downtown Evanston, Todoroki Hibachi + Sushi is a welcomed getaway from the usual sea of purple sweatshirts and Wildcat gear found on Davis Street. Sleek, sand-colored booths built into textured-stone walls trace the perimeter, right across from classic black tables set for two. Dim spotlights shine romantic light from overhead, illuminating platefuls of hibachi-grilled seafood, steak, and vegetables, or the chef’s selection of fresh sushi including nearly 20 signature rolls. White, red, and sparkling wine accompany meals, and japanese beers and sake help patrons pretend they’re in Japan or a movie that takes place in Japan.
Landing on Chicago magazine's list of best places to spend fewer than $30, Coast Sushi Bar is praised for its uncomplicated menu full of rolls the magazine called "fresh, tight, and gloriously cheap." Servers fill handcrafted tables in the minimalist, dark-wood dining room with plates of hamachi carpaccio, rolls lined with lobster and crispy salmon skin, and spicy tamarind duck; diners sip from bottles of wine and beer thanks to the eatery's BYO policy.
The chefs at Dozika fuse Asian flavors from multiple regions, including Japan, Thailand, and Korea. Spider maki roll combines soft-shell crab and masago together with avocado, cucumber, and unagi sauce, and sashimi and vegetarian rolls provide colorful additions to boards of sushi. Noodle, curry, and fried rice dishes abound for diners looking to sample something new or finally learn how to spell “umami.”
Upscale Japanese eatery Kansaku has attracted the taste buds of Zagat reviewers with its blend of sushi, traditional Japanese entrees, and Western-cooking styles. With à la carte nigiri and sashimi, chefs arrange morsels such as shrimp, smoked salmon, yellowtail, and snow crab artfully atop plates. More than 30 maki rolls bundle fish with spicy mayo, tempura, and tobiko, letting diners sample the sea without obtaining a degree in marine biology. During and after meals, glasses of wine, saketinis, and icy desserts satisfy cravings for sweetness after loved ones ship off to whittling camp. Kansaku’s interior designers have furnished the restaurant with wood and gold accents amid minimalist décor exemplified by a sleek sushi bar.
Chen's taps diverse Chinese, Japanese, and Thai traditions to forge a slate of Eastern dishes and creative cocktails that have gleaned numerous accolades from Zagat. Executive chef and owner Bing Zhou plates elegant portions of lemon chicken, peking duck, and seafood gently seasoned with Chinese spices as maki rolls nestle raw morsels of salmon, lobster, and yellowtail in innovative combinations. Bartenders sling more than 25 martini styles beneath the soft lighting of recessed sconces as bamboo floors support terra-cotta statues of historic warriors. In the lounge, overstuffed chairs sidle up to a crackling fireplace to share stories of their ottoman ancestors beneath cream and persimmon hues.
Dark, glossy tables gleam in the sunlight that streams into Little Wok, illuminating plates of steaming Chinese dishes and delicate rolls of sushi. An enormous menu ranges through a pan-Asian encyclopedia of pad thai, Korean eel stone bowl rice, creative maki, and cheek-warming bowls of noodle soup.