Miku Restaurant Review – Sushi Joint Celebrates 1st Anniversary

Miku in Japanese literally translates as “everlasting beauty,” which rings very true for the new sushi restaurant at 4514 North Lincoln, in the quaint Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Square. This location had previously housed popular sushi joint Tank for ten years, as well as the short-lived American Pilipino eatery Laughing Bird.

 

Co-owner, Sara Katekaew

 

The “everlasting beauty” of Miku serves its customers creative sushi, authentic Japanese ramen, among other dishes, that were all gorgeously presented. Miku is currently celebrating its one year anniversary and is offering half price specials on all maki rolls served between 11am and 6pm, from January 16th-31st.

 

Miku interiors

 

 

The owners of Miku, married couple Stanley Liem and Sara Katekaew, only want the best for their Lincoln Square locals and other customers. They set very high standards on their menu, their staff, and the quality and presentation of their food. The fish they use in their sushi is flown all the way to Chicago from Tsukiji Market, the largest fish market in Japan.

 

 

A chef at the grill

 

Chefs at the sushi bar

 

Liem and Katekaew first met when they worked at former Tank Sushi. After they married, they opened two restaurants, one sushi and one Thai. They sold the Thai restaurant in November 2014, and bought the Tank Sushi space when Laughing Bird closed. Miku opened in January 2015 and has flourished.

 

I was one of many lucky individuals to attend a media dinner to sample Miku’s beautiful, and flavorful menu, which consists of soups, salads, small plates, maki, ramen, sushi, nigari, special entrees, and desserts. The bar serves Asian-inspired cocktails and sakes, wines and beers. I have eaten at the restaurant many times before, and keep coming back. Miku works well for vegetarians, such as myself, with many meatless dishes to choose from.

 

The interior is sleek and contemporary, with a stylish simplicity to dine in. The long, narrow space has wooden paneled floors, brick walls, booths and tables that run all the way down the walls, hanging lamp spheres, shades of yellow and black, along with a Japanese mural of ocean waves.

 

Miku interiors

 

Miku interiors

 

Miku interiors

 

Liem and Katekaew, along with the chefs and servers, were all friendly, accommodating, and provided excellent service to our table. I brought along a friend who also enjoys fine sushi and sashimi to help me sample the menu. I began with fresh, smoky toasted rice green tea, which was a lovely start to the meal. My starters included delicious garlic sautéed edamame and a shiitake mushroom skewer with togarachi BBQ sauce. The mushrooms were very tasty with the BBQ sauce, however I wished there had been more than one skewer offered per serving.

 

Garlic sautéed edamame

 

Shiitake mushroom skewer with togarachi BBQ sauce

 

Then, all of a sudden, everyone was being presented with beautiful-looking dishes to sample such as a spicy tuna ravioli (guests reported each taste was a spicy, delicious and hot bite on their tongues), and a spicy roasted garlic miso ramen with egg noodles, rich pork broth, pork belly, soft boil egg, bamboo shoot, sesame, scallion, mushroom, bean sprout, roasted garlic, chili pepper and sesame oil. The crowning jewel was Miku’s popular huge sashimi platter, sashimi matsu, with fifteen pieces of sashimi, elegantly placed together with different shapes, colors, and decorations. It was a sea of variety including cutout vegetables and spirals. It looked like a floral arrangement and too pretty to eat. Everyone at the table I spoke with who tried these dishes was very impressed and loved the flavors they tasted.

 

Spicy roasted garlic miso ramen with egg noodles, rich pork broth, pork belly, soft boil egg, bamboo shoot, sesame, scallion, mushroom, bean sprout, roasted garlic, chili pepper and sesame oil

 

Sashimi Matsu, with fifteen pieces of sashimi

 

Skewers of Ribeye - togarachi BBQ sauce and Chicken thigh - sweet soy

 

Rock shrimp with tempura, house spicy sweet glaze and mixed green

 

Flaming Dragon maki baked, shrimp temura, salmon, super white tuna, black tobiko, scallion served on flaming plate

 

The entrees I ordered included the greenday maki (organic mixed greens, avocado, asparagus, carrot, fried organic tofu, creamy ponzu) and tamago omelet. Miku especially prepared for me a vegetarian platter of bundled up vegetables of cut up shiitake mushroom, avocado, cucumber, and asparagus, which was absolutely delicious. I thought it was very thoughtful of them to create such a delectable dish just for me. This further showed us all how Miku goes out of its way for its customers. Everything tasted so good. As for the greenday maki roll, I especially appreciated the freshness of the vegetables garnished with the citrusy and creamy ponzu sauce.

 

 

Greenday maki with organic mixed greens, avocado, asparagus, carrot, fried organic tofu and creamy ponzu

 

Tamago egg omelet

 

Another beautifully presented dish was the robusuta lobster roll with fried banana, red tobiko wrapped inside-out with crispy rice topped with micro green and spicy honey mayo. This dish received several different reviews from my fellow diners. Some felt it was too dry and consisted of very unusual flavor combinations. Others thought that the flavors worked very well together.

 

 

Spicy Tuna ravioli with house lemon soy sauce, tempura crunch and spicy crab meat wrapped in thinly sliced avocado and sweet soy

 

The dessert itself was simple yet woke up my taste buds: We all sampled green tea and mango mochi ice cream, and cookie dough egg rolls with strawberry coulis purée. Mochi is always wonderful in my opinion. However, the cookie dough egg rolls were rich and chocolaty with a crunchy cookie shell. The strawberry puree complemented the rolls perfectly. I wished I had had more of those that evening!

 

Cookie dough

 

Overall, it was a wonderful, pleasant, and delicious media dinner. The dishes I ate reminded me of why I come to Miku so often. The dinner also introduced to me new dishes I had never sampled or knew of before. I will continue to haunt this sushi restaurant for years to come.

 

 

Photos by Jennifer Lunz

 

 

 

Miku Sushi is open Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm.

 

For more information or to make reservations, please call 773-654-1277 or visit the website.

 

 

 

 

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