Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday; dinner: seven days
Open late: Thursday-Saturday till midnight, Sunday-Wednesday till 11
Chicago location of the Japanese robata chain.
Roka Akor reminds me of our traditional downtown temples of red-muscled excess. That said, it's not an ordinary meat-on-a-stick joint—there is no stick meat, for one thing. The flaming charcoal-fueled robata grill is utilized for a series of vaguely Asian-accented ribs, chops, and seafood items, but mainly on steaks, such as a 12-ounce prime rib eye, cooked precisely to order, dressed in soy vinaigrette, and shareably cubed and stacked in a pyramid. The grill also turns out similarly knifed, lightly charred gelatinous pork belly and sweetly glazed pork ribs and a set of lamb chops, mildly seasoned in some undefined blend of "Korean spices." And it produces a very simple and satisfying grilled mackerel that your server might try to talk you out of because "it's a very strong fish." Given the wide-ranging menu, it's a surprise that Roka Akor's sushi program commits so few of the foolish crimes against raw fish prevalent these days. Sure, you can get your Dynamite scallop roll topped with "dynamite sauce," but it's filled with real crab, and the thin discs of bivalve aren't lost among either. Assorted sashimi plates are beautifully composed, mounted atop bowls of crushed ice and accompanied by real wasabi grated at the table. There's a Homeric sake and wine list, and for an upcharge of $14 you can get truffle shaved over your wild mushroom hot pot. So if you've got a grudge against the depleted bluefin tuna and have the corporate card in your wallet, why not? Let god punish the board of directors. Read the full review >>
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