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Mako

Mako - Chicago

Mako is relatively large (22 seats, with half at the bar) and the dinner is long (about three hours), but none of that will matter as the perfectly composed dishes of fish and seafood start arriving at your table. The style is omakase; the menu is in a state of flux, changing like the ocean to sweep before you new creations based on the very best that the chef selects from an increasingly wide seafood inventory available to Chicago restaurants.

You might begin to wonder if Chicago really needs another sushi joint, as there are now dozens out there. Mako, however, proves that there’s always room at the top for the very best sushi restaurants.

Mako is relatively large (22 seats, with half at the bar) and the dinner is long (about three hours), but none of that will matter as the perfectly composed dishes of fish and seafood start arriving at your table. The style is omakase; the menu is in a state of flux, changing like the ocean to sweep before you new creations based on the very best that the chef selects from an increasingly wide seafood inventory available to Chicago restaurants.

Chef B.K. Park, formerly of Juno, heads up the kitchen and according to the Michelin Guide, “Park has spun out this inspiring shrine to omakase. With nothing but a single plaque marking its entrance, this Japanese gem can be tough to spot. But once inside its tranquil dining room, the surrounding din of roaring traffic fades into the background and you’ll be entirely transfixed by the chef's dedication to the sushi craft. Mako is a hot ticket.”

Here are some of the menu items served at Mako, each designed to please the eye and thrill the palate. As omakase is the only option, it’s never entirely certain what you will be having for dinner, and although that is a big part of the fun of this experience, we’ll cover here some dishes that have recently been served at Mako.

All the very best ingredients come together in the King Crab, there’s the regal crustacean, of course, but also a clever uni miso, butter made of A5 wagyu beef…and a potato chip (fun!).

Sea bass is perked up with citrus notes from yuzu and clean flavor and crisp texture from green tosaka seaweed, with slight bittersweet flavor added by charred frisee.

Duck liver, or do you call it foie gras (?), is accented with sweetly acidic leek soubise and oxalis.

Dessert may be a Japanese sweet potato, spiked with whiskey, the flavors softened with crème diplomate (a balanced yin/yang blend of whipped cream and pastry cream), all anchored with more neutral brown rice.

To pair with the rotating selection of Park’s omakase dinner, there’s an incredible range of beverages from which to choose. Mako offers several inventive cocktails, but the sake selection is what is most likely to draw the eye, including relatively well-known beginner’s model sake, such as Yuki No Bosha, “Cabin in the Snow, available by the glass, as well as more rare and exotic selections including Junmais such as Hakkaisan ”Yukimuro’ and Maboroshi “Mystery.”

There are a few beers and a very well curated tea selection, as well as some outstanding Japanese whiskies, including a 21-year-old Nikka that could make for a beautiful way to close a spectacular and memorable dinner at Mako.

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