Every now and then, when you least expect it, that special restaurant comes along. Driving in the Lincoln Park area one night after work, the hubby and I were in the mood for sushi, but not necessarily for anything special. He remembered a place on North Clybourn he had passed before and we headed in that direction.
When we walked into Macku, we almost turned around. It looked too swanky (i.e. expensive) for a random weeknight out. Maybe it was because we were overly hungry. Or maybe it was because I was crabby (i.e. impatient) after the hubby took forever to parallel park (the man has many fine qualities; parking is not one of them…sorry babe). Whatever it was, I’m so glad we stayed, because…
Macku may be my new favorite sushi restaurant in Chicago.
Woah. Big claim. I know. But let me tell you, this place is the whole sushi package. Ocean fresh fish, cut perfectly so that each bite seems to smoothly melt in the mouth. Spicy rolls without the globs of excessive mayonnaise that so often plague sushi rolls. A creative wine list with options by the glass. And, as it turns out, reasonable prices. Great, you may be thinking, sounds like any other good sushi place in Chicago. And you would be right. Except that you would not have tried the soup.
At the waiter’s suggestion, I tried the sweet potato soup. Cooked and then served in a shallow clay pot, each bite of the sweet potato puree burst with flavors of potent fresh shellfish combined with earthy tuber. In the middle reigned a beautiful black tiger prawn, seemingly overseeing each otherworldly spoonful with approval.
The broth of the udon similarly exploded with paradoxical taste. It was light yet spicy and savory, tasted of the ocean yet also had hints of earthiness. In the broth swam chewy green tea udon noodles and succulent vegetables, enticing the diner with elegance and comfort all at once.
As if the sushi and soup were not enough, Macku offers chef’s choice platters with items on and off the menu. You simply give the chef a budget ($50 per person minimum; “no budget” would be closer to $150 per person) and let him or her go crazy. Since I happen to think chefs are the best connoisseurs of their own dishes, I am particularly excited about this. We’ll definitely be back to try this on a special occasion. Clearly, this meal was only the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Try Macku at 2239 N. Clybourn Ave.