Tanuki Sushi & Grill

Tanuki Sushi & Grill

Tanuki Sushi & Grill

3006 N Sheffield

www.tanukisushichicago.com

Fun fact: I am the most directionally challenged person you'll ever meet. Because of this, I am late to dinner at Tanuki, (hosted by Keng of @Strangefoodschicago and Tom of @Tanukichicago, thank you!) even though it's only a five minutes walk away. I am late because I really am the worst with directions ever and still manage to make a wrong turn, walking almost three blocks before realizing my mistake. 

"Sorry, sorry," I apologize sheepishly as I approach the table. "I got lost on the way here, I'm so sor--WHAT IS THAT? That looks delicious!"

I am staring at what remains of Potato Croquettes + Salmon Aloha (spicy salmon tartar over fried rice pieces) + Coconut Shrimp and Beef Skewers.

Beef skewers + coconut shrimp

Beef skewers + coconut shrimp

"We saved some for you guys," everyone says.

I take a bite. I am the worst, but I am also the luckiest and my table mates are the best. The croquettes are delicious, the sauce is amazing! I could eat a whole platter of the skewers, and end up dipping them in the croquette sauce, it was that yummy.  

Next up is Soft Shell Ponzule: breaded soft shell crab, avocado, fish roe, and spicy citrus-soy vinaigrette. I love soft shell anything, and I love avocado anything. Therefore, it is only appropriate to declare my love for this dish. The flavors marry together very well in this starter, with the soft shell providing a nice texture against the avocado.

Softshell Ponzule

Softshell Ponzule

A platter of Carpaccio is brought out with the Katsu Curry. 

Carpaccio

Carpaccio

When it comes to sushi, I prefer sashimi and very simple rolls. I typically do not like a lot of extra ingredients in my sushi rolls, and am happiest with classics, such as spicy tuna or salmon + avocado. So this carpaccio platter was heaven for me! My favorite sashimi on earth is escolar, which was included on the plate (the white pieces.)The escolar melted happily away in my mouth, and I also tried the tuna which was very good.

The panang curry sauce in the Katsu Curry was bomb! I think it can be easy to get so excited about sushi offerings that sometimes the kitchen menu is forgotten, but definitely check this dish out. And let me know if you try the other kitchen offerings!

Katsu Curry

Katsu Curry

Sushi rolls! Grisly Godzilla (tempura shrimp, cream cheese, avocado, topped with smoked salmon, spicy mayo, roe):

Grisly Godzilla

Grisly Godzilla

Beautiful presentation and tasty. Spicy! Good roll to impress a date and share. :)

For someone who just claimed to like simple rolls, I'm going to turn around and say my favorite was Terah's Fire Cracker (lightly fried roll of spicy tuna, cream cheese, asparagus, avocado, almond):

Terah's Fire Cracker

Terah's Fire Cracker

There is no rice in this roll, and the pieces disappear way too fast. I felt like the flavors melded together well and because it is fried, it also has a light crunch which is nice.

SHITACOS

SHITACOS

SHITACO! Spicy tuna, softshell, poke and...tako. Octopus. Another fun fact: I do not like octopus. I will almost always try it, but I think I've liked it maybe once when I've tried it. For the most part I'll eat almost anything, but chewy things with tentacles put me off. (Squid is also usually a no-go for me.) I mean come on! Tentacles!! Do I need to say more?? So naturally I had to try the octopus shitaco first:

Actually pretty tasty! I am surprised when I want to eat more. Except for the main...uh, leg, the pieces of octopus in the taco are smaller and I like this. All of the taco flavors are all good but I especially like the soft shell crab. One recommendation with these tacos is to eat them right away (not that you should have a problem with this!) If you wait, the nori goes from crisp and sturdy to soggy under the contents.

With the Shitacos also come Poke Pucks!

Tuna, mango, and avocado under tempura nori pucks. Mango gives a light balance to the fried "puck". These are more substantial and filling than they look! 

By then I was 95% stuffed. I say only 95% because no matter how much I eat, I always, on principle, try and save room for dessert. And I'm so glad I did because...

LYCHEE ICE CREAM! And matcha ice cream, matcha/chocolate cake too. Lychee tho! I love lychee. Lychee anything. It's such a refreshing flavor, perfect for summer. (Or any other day if you live in Foodcellfie Land) So naturally I find lychee ice cream absolutely amazing. I can't believe I've never had this before. The matcha was great too, but for me the lychee really was the star.

Both of the cake flavors were delicious. Also you can barely see but there were little accents of raspberry sauce on the plate which I wanted to lick off! It went well with the chocolate. The cakes were dense but not overly rich. I knew I loved them because I somehow managed to eat most of the plate even though I was stuffed, even though when dessert first arrived I had to fight for my share:

"Where is my spoon? Hey, you took my spoon," I accuse my neighbor. He looks up at me and smirks, finishing his bite. "Hmm, I suppose I did, didn't I? ...Mmmmm."

"Fine then," I reply grumpily. "I'll go get my own spoon."

When I go inside and request more silverware, Tom hands me three spoons, thinking I need one for everyone. Eeeexxxceeelllent. 

"Look he gave me three spoons," I announce, and scoop up ice cream with all three. I give my table mates a sideways glance. "...Mmmmm."

Thank you so much Keng and Tom! Everything was excellent and I'll definitely be back. This time I won't even get lost on the way there, fingers crossed!!