As my friend and I were walking around one evening, we were just looking for a bite to eat. Our go-to safe place for food is always somewhere that carries sushi. We both have never found a maki roll that we didn’t like, so sushi gatherings are ideal for all parties. While we had plans to go to another sushi lounge after a party, a twist of fate led us to River North’s Roka Akor.
Oddly enough, we both weren’t familiar with Roka. Famous for their Robatayaki style “open charcoal” cuisine, they are rated among the top sushi lounges in the U.S. The holy grail of the food industry Michelin, has also rated them as a dining establishment of excellence. Essentially, it was guaranteed that we would have a wonderful experience.
We were immediately drawn to the chic atmosphere and outdoor seating. It was something about the discreet signage and dark interior that intrigued us. As soon as we read the menu located on the door, we spotted sushi rolls and we were sold that this is where we would dine for the evening.
On a weekday, Roka Akor had a few patrons at the bar and diners were also seated outside. However, the restaurant itself was quite calm as we had our choice of any seat. We sat at what I would like to declare the perfect seat in the whole world. I make such a bold proclamation because there is one special seat where diners could sit both outdoors and indoors. It sounds absurd in theory, but there is such a table that does exist. Half the table is slightly outdoors while one is still technically seated indoors. You get to feel the cool crisp air of the outdoors, without being completely exposed. If you are lucky, definitely request this table as it made for a fabulous view. Every restaurant should have an indoor/outdoor option.
While we lavished in the impressive views of River North, we started out by ordering some mocktails. I ordered the White Peach Margarita complete with a sugar rim while my friend ordered the Raspberry Mule with fresh lime and ginger beer. Since we weren’t in the mood for a cocktail, the delicious and satisfying mocktails made a great alternative.
To start off our meal, we both ordered the Red Miso Soup with Lobster. Our server assured me that this selection was packing flavor and seasoning. As soon as I took my first bite, her assertion was correct. Pieces of lobster were prominent with just the right amount. Each bite was oozing with flavor. This is easily one of the most flavorful bowls of miso soup I have ever had.
Roka Akor has a reputation of flying in the finest and freshest sashimi and sushi. Selections are hand-picked from varying regions throughout different seasons. This attention to detail became quite evident with the Crispy Prawn with Chirashi and Dynamite Scallop.
I’ve always loved the contrast of soft sushi rolls with an element of crunch, so I found the Crispy Prawn to be my favorite. It also looked incredibly appetizing, and I’m glad that the appearance matched the actual taste. The Dynamite Scallop was also satisfying. The scallops were delicious, you could tell that it was a fresh selection. However, of the two rolls the Crispy Prawn is by far my favorite.
We concluded our evening with Butterfish Tataki with Shiso and Yuzu Shallot dressing. The butterfish had a hint of sweetness, but it did not overpower the other flavors present on the palate. It’s recommended as an appetizer, but I think if one still has room left, they can make room for this dish in the end.
Overall, I enjoyed my time at Roka Akor, and I can see myself venturing back. The service was also incredible and they were quite attentive.
I’m so glad that we took the time to take a leisurely stroll through River North that led to our chance encounter with the wonderfully appealing Roka Akor.