Hot Woks Cool Sushi: Millenium Park’s Best Japanese Restaurant

photo 1 (15) My friends Sarah and Bryant joined me on my food adventure as we traveled out of the suburb into the bustling city, stopping at a Japanese restaurant in downtown Chicago right next to Millenium Park. photo 2 (15)

We ordered 4 dishes for the three of us, each of us ended up having to pay ~$15.

At 2:30 on a cold, drizzly Saturday afternoon, the place had attracted a small crowd. It housed a variety of people, as I would expect…this place is smack dab in one of the busiest parts of town, Millenium Park. I have no doubt they get a bunch of tourists everyday craving sushi (holla).

The Thai Iced Coffee I ordered didn’t seem Thai to me at all. It was just iced coffee mixed with cream and sugar. For $2.50, I’m not sure it was worth it at all. It was delicious and rejuvenating, but I could have made it for far less.

photo 1 (14)
Between the three of us, we split a crab rangoon appetizer ($5.75 for 5 pieces). It was piping hot and arrived in ~5 minutes. Though it was delicious, the price barely justifies the decent portions.

Then we split all three entrees, which arrived ~7 minutes after our appetizer was brought to the table.

photo 2 (14)
1) Pad Thai ($8.50) – a well-cooked rice noodle dish that was lacking in chicken, and tossed in a slightly overpowering tangy sauce. The kitchen left the toppings (peanuts, a lime wedge, shredded carrot and cabbage) in the corners of the dish so that they wouldn’t get soggy. Comforting and filling.
photo 4 (5)
2) The beef mushroom teriyaki bento box was meh…it supposedly came with veggie tempura, a Japanese salad, rice, California maki sushi, and beef and mushroom teriyaki. Yes, it did come with all of those things, the portion sizes were quite small. For one, the 6-piece sushi roll was smaller and far more bland than the caterpillar roll we ordered. The teriyaki was drowning in sauce and had only small bits and pieces of beef and mushroom. The veggie tempura was delicious, but I wish I had more; there was only one piece of each deep-fried veggie (sweet potato, broccoli, zuchini, etc) and one shrimp tempura.
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2) The caterpillar roll (8 pieces for $10.95) was well worth it, as it was one of the better presented sushi rolls I’ve ever had. My weakness is eel and eel sauce, but I was also wowed by the presentation. Look at that sauce work! Look at the red and black tobiko (“roe”, or fish eggs)!

The menu itself offers lots of generic Japanese foods. The appetizers are pretty common (crab rangoon, gyoza, edamame, tempura), but I wish I’d tried the untraditional egg roll, because it comes stuffed with an Italian vegetable blend! Talk about fusion!

The salads sound interesting but way over-priced. $6.95 for lychee and cranberries? I might sooner be able to make it myself, for a fraction of the cost. They dressed lots of their salads with miso dressing, which is common, but not as common as the ginger dressing that every Japanese restaurant I’ve ate at so far has had. The miso-dressing in the bento box was potent but quite delicious. Props to you!

This place is a great place to go if you’re looking for somewhere to dine in, carry out, and have food delivered. It’s extremely conveniently located, and pretty inexpensive considering how much people near Millenium Park could charge.

Hot Woks Cool Sushi has four locations total; I visited:

30 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60603

312-345-1234

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