Dining Away from the Desk – Chikurin Sushi & Asian Cuisine

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sometimes you just have a craving for sushi. You can be going along, living your life, eating meat and potatoes (or, for all the vegetarians…potatoes) and then suddenly you need sushi. A craving so intense it must be fulfilled immediately, or in this case, as soon as you can acquire a Restaurant.com coupon and persuade two of your best guy friends to take you on a faux Valentine’s Day date.

To satisfy the sushi itch, we (I) scored a $50 gift certificate to Chikurin in Bucktown using Restaurant.com. I only paid $4 for it, but the catch was that you had to order $100 worth of food and drinks. Not a problem. My man friends are hungry, and apparently just love sake. More on that in a second.

We made a reservation that night for 7:30, figuring we would definitely need one for Valentine’s weekend. Um, wrong. There was plenty of seating, which made us slightly nervous. I mean, who really wants to eat at the sushi place that only has a handful of customers, especially on the one weekend where it’s practically a requirement for all couples to crawl out of their winter hobbit holes and enjoy a night of fine dining? Well, we do, because we’re cheap budget conscious.

We started perusing the menu, and since this was a faux Valentine’s Date, we obviously wanted to do what all couples do on Valentine’s Day – get as drunk as possible. My two dates decided that ordering sake would be a terrific idea for that purpose, so despite my protests, we ordered a bottle:

Sake and Sake Bowls

We started with crab rangoons for an appetizer, figuring they were a safe starter. They were amazing (but to be fair, I love anything stuffed with cream cheese and fried). We also ordered a few rolls, I ordered salmon nigiri and we all shared the Orange Peel Chicken.

Chikurin Sushi

We had two of Chikurin’s special rolls – the Rainbow and the Green Turtle. The Rainbow roll has tuna, salmon, super white tuna, shrimp and avocado wrapped around crabstick and a sweet egg. The Green Turtle is freshwater eel, avocado and tempura crunch, topped with shrimp, wasabi tobiko and wasabi mayo. We all enjoyed both specialty rolls, but the standout for me was the Green Turtle. All of the ingredients worked really well together, and the slight crunch of tempura was a nice touch. A definite must-order.

The Orange Peel Chicken was perfect – crunchy and sweet. One of my man dates thought it was too tough/overdone, but I think that’s just the way OPC is supposed to be. The standard rolls were just what you would expect from a good sushi place – fresh and flavorful.

In terms of service, we had a nice and accommodating server who worked with us to get our bill up to $100, but not too much over so we could maximize our $50 coupon. We ended up ordering another bottle of sake (again, despite my protests) and finished up the dinner with chocolate, strawberry and mango mochi.

Overall, we had a delicious dinner and a great experience at Chikurin. My only complaint was with the seating – they put us at the table that is next to the shelf with the copy/fax machine, and it kept making some disconcerting noises throughout dinner. My advice would be to move it to a spot that wouldn’t be disruptive to diners, but this is a pretty small concern. I would definitely eat at Chikurin again, and I hope that more people discover this Bucktown sushi spot.

And now what you’ve all been waiting for….me and my (faux) dates!

Chikurin Sushi Chicago

Chikurin Sushi & Asian Cusine is located at:

1811 W. North Avenue

Chicago, IL 60622 | 773-252-8880

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