Even though I’m a suburban girl, I prefer dinner downtown and trying out new restaurants. But sometimes, it’s nice not having to deal with all the traffic and, instead, finding something wonderful in your own backyard.
That’s exactly what I’ve located in historic downtown Hinsdale. It’s a Japanese sushi restaurant called Nabuki; a hidden gem the locals know all about. From the creative rolls to the fresh and delicious raw tuna and sashimi, every bite is a pleasure.
In fact, in 2014, Nabuki surprised a lot of Chicago restaurateurs when it received the prestigious Michelin stamp of approval, the Bib Gourmand. It’s awarded to restaurants that deliver quality food for an affordable price. Not sure why it didn’t get the acclaim again last year but Michelin dropped all suburban restaurants from that list in 2015.
Nabuki isn’t new. It’s been around for 6 years but is consistently good. I think consistency is what makes or breaks a restaurant. Nabuki is beautifully decorated, bright and modern with bamboo floors and a water theme that includes paneled walls resembling water and a light beam over the sushi bar that mimics waves. I love walking in there on a gloomy Chicago day. The atmosphere just makes you feel good.
But it’s the food that draws you in. And surprisingly it’s the work of an executive chef by the name of Juan Perez. No relation by the way and not a name you would think of when it comes to sushi. But what makes Chef Perez so good at what he does is how he combines such an interesting mix of sauces and sushi rolls with a Latin flair.
The menu is seasonal so it’s always changing. But I do have some favorite staples. They include the Asian tacos – mini tacos served in a crispy wonton with spicy tuna, avocado and drizzled with unagi sauce. Last time I was there the chef chopped up and added mango and a few other things I couldn’t figure out and it was so refreshing and good.
I also never leave without ordering the Piccadilly Lobster rolls. Lobster tempura, scallions, radish sprouts and avocado rolled in soybean paper with spicy mayo make up my favorite dish. I love the crunch in that roll and the flavor combinations are always a wonderful mix and a delight to the taste buds.
The menu is diverse and has the traditional sashimi, tuna and raw sushi. But there’s also steak and cooked seafood options if sushi is not your thing. I love that it’s a very family friendly restaurant and offers a good kids menu that includes chicken fingers, hot dog rolls and more.
The bar itself is inviting, serving up a wide array of cocktails and wine, some of which are half price on Sunday’s. The cocktails are always changing and it’s fun to try whatever the specials are for the week. I actually like the mojitos, which they offer in different flavors. Sharon Suarez is one of my all time favorite mixologists. That girl knows how to make a good drink.
However, not everything is perfect. For instance, we tried a fried calamari the other night that could have used a little more seasoning and paled in comparison to other menu items. The spicy sauce on the side wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of flavor in the calamari batter. But we should have known better, when you’re at a sushi restaurant, it’s probably best to stick with what they specialize in.
Overall, you won’t be disappointed if you decide to make the reverse commute from the city or another suburb to Hinsdale. It’s a delicious twist on traditional Japanese food that has the locals and commuters always looking forward to coming back.
Are there any suburban or city restaurants you highly recommend? If so, let me know and maybe we can profile it next.
Connect with me @ sylviaperez.com or on Twitter @Sylviaperezprod