Chicago Japanese food scene on a roll


Art by Kayla Johnson '19

Japan: An island nation with one of the premier economies in the world. Following WWII, Japan reincarnated itself as an economic powerhouse, with cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka rising from the ashes to become centers of industry and culture. Japanese culture focuses on the pursuit of perfection, with many Japanese willing to work years to perfect their crafts. The Japanese food scene is a perfect example of this ethos: Recently, 230 Tokyo restaurants received at least one Michelin star. To put this in perspective, Paris, the city with the second most awards, only has 118 restaurants.

When one thinks of Japanese cuisine, the first dish which comes to mind for many is sushi.

Near Saint Viator, there is an abundance of sushi restaurants, one such being Shakou. Shakou has locations in both downtown Arlington Heights and downtown Barrington, as well as three other locations, and they serve high grade sushi from a varied menu. Additionally, they have a glut of signature rolls which you can try, with interesting ingredients such as cream cheese, strip steak, or jalapeño.

In Schaumburg, at the Streets of Woodfield a cheaper option for sushi can be found at Tokio Pub. Tokio Pub is a fusion restaurant which offers sushi rolls alongside tacos, and a host of  other crossover items. Udon-noodle burger anyone? Despite the seemingly odd combinations, both the Japanese and Mexican menu items work well together.

If you are looking for somewhere for a special occasion, Chicago has a multitude of sushi restaurants ready to accommodate your splurge. One of the best choices is Momotaro, a modern Japanese restaurant which opened in 2015. The food is the focus here, with a carefully curated menu that focuses on tasting the fresh fish brought in daily. On my visit every item rated at least good, with most approaching great.