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.
At Hana Asian Bistro, cooks artistically prepare and arrange entrees of authentic Asian cuisine, pulling from a pantry filled with quality meats, fresh seafood, and market-purchased produce. The chic eatery—tucked inside the Skokie Fashion Square shopping center—jazzes up sushi rolls with unique pairings, such as lobster and mango, and spicy sauces, such as kung pao sauce or japanese curry. Chefs also prepare a lineup of specialties including walnut shrimp and seafood noodle soup. To complement these expertly crafted meals, diners can order a side of fried rice or a fruit-infused bubble tea.
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.
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.
Upon reading Sashimi Sashimi’s menu, patrons will see a familiar selection of maki and nigiri that includes classics such as spicy tuna rolls and unagi sashimi. But that’s not to say they won’t be surprised—all of the nigiri comes in at less than $2, and maki rolls start at just $3.50. While the words ‘affordable’ and ‘sushi’ don’t generally go well together, Centerstage assures that “the ‘low price equals low quality’ adage has no place at Sashimi, where the fish is fresh and prepared before your eyes.” The restaurant is inspired by authentic Japanese sushi houses, where customers look on as chefs prepare their meals at an open counter. And in addition to traditional maki, nigiri, and sashimi, the menu also includes vegetarian maki and specialty rolls such as the mango lobster roll with crab, avocado, and tobiko, served with a mango lobster bib.