Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day! Raku Sushi; Naperville, Illinois

For Mother's Day, I hope you brought Mom out to a nice lunch or dinner.  That said, we had a chance to eat at a pretty nice restaurant in the western suburb of Naperville not long ago, Raku Sushi.  Generally, I'm not a fan unauthentic Japanese restaurants.  If I want Chinese food, I go to a Chinese restaurant or if I want Korean food, I go to a Korean restaurant.  I just like my food authentic.

I've spent over 10 years in Japan and can spot an unauthentic Japanese restaurant right away.  Usually, it's in the name of the restaurant.  A restaurant name including a major Japanese city such as Tokyo, Kobe or Osaka is a dead giveaway of unauthenticness as well as inclusion of  American-known Japanese words such as samurai, shogun or ichiban.  Next, if the menu doesn't have Japanese on it, it's not authentic. 

The truth is, most American people can't tell unauthentic Japanese restaurants from authentic ones and really don't care either.  Business-wise, Japanese food is much more profitable than Chinese or Korean food so Chinese and Korean owners go for the money.  Most Japanese restaurants in the U.S. are not owned or run by Japanese people.

When I saw Raku Sushi's "Dim Sum" (Chinese tapas) sign, I knew it was Chinese owners.  Japanese restaurants do not serve dim sum.  However on the night we ate at Raku Sushi, we felt like dim sum as well as sushi, so Raku was a perfect choice.  A little background on my family, I am Cantonese Chinese-American and my wife is Japanese so Raku would be a perfect choice for us.

You can tell from the outside of Raku's building and its interior that the building used to house a Baker's Square.  The interior is pleasantly decorated and clean.
Raku is awesome because it serves dim sum all day!!!  Usually restaurants stop serving dim sum after 3pm.  I picked up the dim sum menu and ordered an order of ha chaang fun (thick white noodles with shrimp), haam sui gok (deep fried pork pockets), gai lan (Chinese vegetable) and joong (sticky rice with fillings wrapped in leaves).  Wifey ordered various nigiri and maki sushi for her and the girls.  We ordered some chow fan (fried rice) for everybody.  The food all was brought to us about the same time.

Everything was... awesome!!! The dim sum was just as good as the Chinatown mainstays Three Happiness and Furuma, if not better.  I don't want to give it too many props, but on that night, it seemed to taste just as good as the dim sum we had in Hong Kong.  What was so great about it?  The food wasn't too salty and was really fresh.  Although some of the dishes were deep fried, they had a fresh oil taste if that's possible.  The shrimp in the chaang fun and fried rice were crisp and juicy unlike the often drier shrimps in those dishes.  And as a bonus, the sushi was delicious too!
The fish was fresh!  And the rice wasn't dry.  Regarding one of the nigiri we ordered, ikura (salmon roe), wifey commented that they were fresh and not fake.  Like for the chaang fun and fried rice, the shrimp on the nigiri was crisp too.

Finally, the service people were very attentive and the owner is a nice guy too.  Raku is not the cheapest of places and our dinner including tip was around 75 dollars.  But in this case, we got what we paid for.  I'll definitely come back for a special occasion.

If you have a craving for good dim sum AND sushi, I highly recommend Raku Sushi in Naperville.  I give it five har gows out of five har gows.  Thanks for the read, and hope your Mother's Day went well if you are a mom and reading this.

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