Saturday, November 3, 2012

Coast Sushi Bar

Location:  2045 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
Coast Sushi on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
Hearing from a lot of friends that Coast is some of the best sushi in Chicago, I had to try it out.  Coast does have excellent sushi and is delicious, but I couldn't label it as my favorite.  Overall, the rolls were incredible... they have a huge variety, tons of specials, and are reasonably priced.  The atmosphere is fun, and it always seems busy.  It is a great BYOB restaurant that you can eat and drink at for hours... so keep that in mind!  The staff was knowledgeable and friendly.  They do limit 2 bottles of wine per table (so bring the larger bottles).  Also, parking is really difficult in the area unless you are prepared to walk.  Regardless, another great sushi place and for that reason a 4-mile rating was given.

What We Ate:
(I apologize ahead of time for the blurry pictures; it was dark and I had to brighten them up.)

Edamame

This is the "staple" appetizer that everyone orders at a sushi/japanese restaurant.  The edamame here was a little disappointing however.  Still served in shells, the edamame was just boiled.  No salt, no special seasoning.  I love the flavor of soybeans by itself, but the added salt on the shell always makes them so addicting.  Nothing fantastic, but I would probably order it again by habit.

Hamachi Carpacio

One of their recommended appetizers... The hamachi carpacio is 5 pieces of thinly sliced sashimi style yellow tail drizzled with a garlic oil and topped with a slice of jalapeño, cilantro, and a little citrus from limes.  It is served along side a bed of baby greens with a balsamic dressing.  The yellow tail was extremely fresh and the garnishing/toppings didn't hinder the taste of the fish.  The jalapeño was almost sliced too thinly though to give any heat whatsoever.  This appetizer is a little on the expensive side, but if you really enjoy sashimi, I would recommend it for sure.

Assorted Sushi Rolls #1
Top Left to Right:  White Dragon Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Fresh Philly Roll
Bottom Left to Right:  Rainbow Roll , Alaskan Roll 
After a quick chopstick lesson for my friends, we dug right into the first plate of sushi.  We ordered the White dragon roll, the fresh Philly roll, the spicy tuna roll, the rainbow roll, and the Alaska roll.  I am not going to explain everything in each roll, but I will mention some of the high points and lows.  First of all, the White Dragon was by far the table's favorite.  This is one of the signature maki rolls that is filled with shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado, a wasabi dressing, eel sauce, and topped with a tempura crumb.  It was extremely creamy and the flavors all blended well... no need for soy sauce.  The other point I wanted to mention was not to get the Alaska roll.  It claims to have King Crab in it, but the "crab" reminded me of the typical imitation stuff found in the other less expensive rolls.  For the price though, the caterpillar roll was excellent with lots of fresh slices of fish on top of the roll!

Assorted Sushi Rolls #2
Left --> Top --> Right:  Spicy Creamy Roll, Volcano Roll, Dragon Roll
After demolishing about half of the first plate, we decided to order a few more rolls.  This time, however, we ordered the spicy creamy roll, the dragon roll, and the Volcano roll.  From these, the Dragon was again the favorite. It was very similar to the white dragon, but instead it was topped with sliced of unagi and extra eel sauce.  I enjoyed the roll; it had a little sweetness to it.  My favorite though from this plate was the Volcano roll.  Stacked high, as you can see in the picture (top roll), it was a simple roll of white tuna, a volcano sauce, and lots of tempura crumbs.  The crumbs gave a nice crunch that seemed to be missing in some of the other rolls.

Spooky Roll "Halloween Special"

We finally ended with their Halloween Special... the "Spooky Roll."  The waiter mentioned this right off the start and recommended trying it.  I honestly cannot remember everything in it, but I do remember it had avocado, cream cheese, and something else inside the roll.  It was topped with fresh salmon, black masago, and an orange mayo based sauce.  It looked black and orange as you can barely make out in my picture.  Overall, the roll wasn't anything crazy, but it was still fun to try and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
DO:
- BYOB!!!  There is a limit of 2 bottles of wine per table so either bring a huge bottle or don't come with an insanely large group.  They will even bring a bucket if your wine bottle is too big like in our case.
- Share rolls...  I think eating sushi is the best only if everyone agrees to share rolls.

DON'T:
- I wouldn't worry about making reservations too far in advance.  We went on a Saturday night and it seemed like constant business was always going on, but nothing insane where we would have to wait.
- Don't order too many appetizers... they aren't as good as the sushi and are pretty heavy on the wallet.

How far would I walk for this food?



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