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Sushi Dokku

Restaurants, Japanese West Loop
2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsDragon Roll at Sushi Dokku
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsSalmon tartare at Sushi Dokku
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsMadai nigiri bites at Sushi Dokku

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

When people talk about outstanding sushi, they talk about the fish as sacred object, its handling as artistry, its consumption as Zen practice.

I am here to talk about something else: Dragon Rolls. Along with Rainbow Rolls and Spider Rolls and Volcano Rolls, they are the unpure offspring that many say degrades a hallowed lineage. Self-proclaimed connoisseurs dismiss the Dragon Roll and its cousins. For this, I blame places like Sushi Dokku, the relocated (and renamed) Sushi Wabi.

Because, true, a Dragon Roll is not sacred or Zen or clean-flavored or delicate. But, when done right, you respect it! It’s delicious: the crunch of the tempura-battered shrimp contrasting with the cool avocado and deep-flavored unagi. Like a cheeseburger, it sets all the fat/sugar/salt cylinders firing. But just like there are bad, industrial cheeseburgers, there are sorry Dragon Rolls, the likes of which I had at Sushi Dokku: uncrunchy shrimp, flavorless eel, cut into fat slices and perched forlornly on the plate.

That sorry roll would have shocked me given Sushi Wabi’s place in the hearts of many Chicagoans, given the chic decor (two-person sushi-bar stools are a step forward for date nights everywhere), given the prime Randolph Street address. But by the time the Dragon Roll arrived, it was no surprise. Not after my companion’s $15 glass of Japanese whiskey came poured over enough ice to qualify it as a slushie. Or after we waited 20 minutes for a server to come back and take our order. Or after the gruel-like wakame salad and mushy salmon tartare.

Instead, it was a foreboding sign of the sushi to come: pieces of anemic, worse-for-wear fish on clumpy, sticky rice. It fell to the tiny adornments to provide flavor to the bland cuts of fish in the nigiri bites, which worked in the case of the hirame (fluke), brightened with bits of kumquat, but not in the madai, which even finger limes couldn’t make sparkle. Dokku’s generous with the fish, such as uni, but the sashimi are clumsy things nonetheless, displaying a lack of quality product and skilled assembly that even an over-the-top-maki-lover can’t help but find crude.

By: Julia Kramer



Address: 823 W Randolph St

Cross street: at Green St
Transport: El stop:Green,Pink to Morgan. Bus:8,20.
Price: Average maki: $12
Opening hours: Dinner (closed Sun)
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Users say (1)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

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1 person listening

There are places in chicago that do sushi well. Then there are places that do sushi really well. All you really want is the sushi to be fresh , tasty and maybe a little bit creative , because how many variations can you really put on a California roll.

Sushi Dokku delivers. It's on the higher end of the scale so don't come expecting $8 rolls. On average rolls will run you around $14. But it's worth it. Ive had the hot daisy and Godzilla rolls and was not disappointed at all. The atmosphere is great but if you want to turn it up a notch , head downstairs to booze box. There's a separate entrance but it's all connected.