Thursday, June 21, 2012

Roka Akor

February 27, 2012
456 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654
Roka Akor on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:

A new hot spot in Chicago that focuses on a type of Japanese cooking style that focuses on grilling.  The atmosphere here is amazing--very upbeat and is definitely a place to be seen.  The food keeps up with the reputation of this restaurant.  Most of the dishes will immediately make you crave coming back and the others are hit or miss.  Definitely a great place to bring a date or just to try if you like the mainstream restaurant scene!

What I ate:

Robata Grilled Scallops

Personally, this was my favorite dish of the night!  Served like lollipops, this appetizer unfortunately only comes with two scallops and makes you WANT MORE AND MORE!  It has a yuzu sauce which is a kind of citrus based sauce, similar to grapefruit.  It is served with micro greens and is meant to all be eaten in one bite.  A must try dish!

Robata Grilled Pork Belly

An extremely tender pork belly with the perfect amount of fat and crispy skin.  It is served with roasted golden beets.  The fat was packed with flavor... so much that I can actually consider this one of my favorite pork belly dishes I have tried!

Rock Shrimp Tempura

The rock shrimp tempura had large chunks of shrimp lightly battered in tempura batter and fried.  It was crispy and was served with a sweet chili aioli sauce (without question the best sauce of the night--in fact, we saved the sauce to dip other pieces of entrees).  I was disappointed because it didn't come with the wasabi peas which I am a huge fan of.   Hopefully they don't forget the next time.

Miso Glazed Black Cod

The presentation for this dish is incredible... it was difficult to get a good picture because it was wrapped almost like a present.  The cod was buttery and flaky and it was served with amazing pickled red onions.  Make sure to combine it all to make the perfect bite!

Prime Ribeye

This was cooked to a medium temperature and I didn't like it as much.  It was a little tougher and served with the sauce drizzled on top.  It was piled high with a micro green salad as well.

Prime New York Strip Loin

A great cut of meat... this was cooked medium rare to medium.  So a little overdone for my preference but it was extremely tender.  It had a nice salt crust on top and was served with a black truffle aioli sauce which is another sauce to save for other dishes.  I really enjoyed this steak!

Berkshire Pork Loin

Served with kimchee, this dish was good but definitely not great.  It had way too much cumin so it overwhelmed any other flavor.  The pork though was cooked to a perfect temperature.

Lamb Cutlets

I felt this dish had a Korean influence... It reminded me of Korean BBQ.  The meat was delicious--tender and well-spiced.  But, the sauce was a disappointment.  It is very bland and just added heat to the dish.

Crimini Mushrooms

First time trying this type of mushroom.  It was cooked with a soy butter and garlic sauce.  I was surprised when biting into the mushroom because of all the sauce that was absorbed when cooking.  A great side to share!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I am a sucker for brussel sprouts and these were something special.  It was served with a Wafu dressing which is a soy sauce based vinaigrette used a lot in Japanese cooking.  I really enjoyed the Bonito flakes that were sprinkled on top!

Grilled Sweet Potato

Definitely not my favorite dish... some of the sweet potato was cooked perfectly and some were undercooked and some overcooked.  It was hit or miss.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Do share plates...  This restaurant is meant to share even though people do order their own dishes.  They serve it family style so not everyone's food will arrive at one time if each person does order their won food.
- Do try more of the appetizers.  I felt these were the best dishes and best deal too.
- Do make reservations.  This place is packed all the time! But it is definitely a great place for a date.

- Don't save room for dessert.  I was really disappointed with all their options and after trying a small sample of a dessert, I was glad I didn't order anything,

How far would I walk for this food?

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