Miku Sushi, 4514 N. Lincoln, welcomes you with warm greetings, wonderful smells, and mellow, soulful music. And then it tempts you with a bountiful menu selection of piquant Asian preparations and excellent, fresh fish at half the cost of pricier places like Mirai and Arami. What more could a sushi/ramen lover ask for? Well, perhaps a full bar. On a recent visit, a vodka martini came out properly balanced and shaken and perfectly chilled with just a hint of the tiniest ice flecks. But choose your dry white wine or sake or whatever to your taste.
It’s a pleasure at lunch to watch three professional chefs hard at work behind the counter, choosing, trimming, filleting and slicing a variety of cuts of super-fresh fish to create beautiful displays with rice and/or vegetables on elegantly pristine plates accented with deep green leaves. Nary a molecule of off-smelling aroma from any of the fish—even sitting right there in front of the chefs. Cool R&B and jazzy tunes create a relaxed and slightly sensual mood, while the sushi chefs create the magic with the food. The efficient and quietly warm attention of the waitress/server makes you feel taken care of but not pandered to. Natural light from the front windows filters back through the long, narrow authentic-Chicago-style space. And delightful is the word for the excellent food served here.
Miku’s ramen—in honor of National Noodle Month on special during the month of March at only $8 for either the regular or the spicy pork ramen—is exceptional. Thick, slightly al dente ramen noodles fill a generous bowlful of miso-scented pork broth studded with chopped green onion. A halved soft-boiled egg, having taken on the gentle taupe color of the broth, sits shyly on the side of the pool, while a small tangle of black cabbage leaves sit daintily in its own area. Slices of super-tender pork peak up from underneath the surface. The broth is tangy and rich without being overly salty. Ramen experts are invited to compare, and even if you don’t know much about ramen, you’ll find much to enjoy in Miku’s loving rendition.
The chef’s selection of sashimi comes out as a glorious presentation on ice. Generous cuts of perfectly portioned and trimmed fresh fish—yellowfin, regular tuna, salmon, sea bass, and red snapper along with exotically trimmed vegetable decorations – e.g., a fan of razor thin cucumber slices or a flower carved out of carrot—all perfect and fresh and crispy and delicious. A dish to satisfy your hunger—for sustenance, for flavor and for beauty.
The Miku Signature Maki is a roll made of a rich combination of avocado, cream cheese, and unagi (eel – num!), wrapped in rolled-in-seaweed rice and topped with a slim slice of bite-y jalapeño and a juicy little morsel of foie gras. Served with a dark, thick sweet soy sauce that hardly seemed necessary (you can get it on the side), this roll is an exercise in creamy extravagance. Each of Miku’s Lincoln Square Classic Maki and Traditional Maki are half-off between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. during March.
Miku Sushi, located in Lincoln Square just north of Welles Park and hard by the Old Town School of Music, is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, so go treat yourself. Some nasty construction was happening on Lincoln Avenue during our visit, but don’t let it discourage you; that’ll soon be over. Park on the side streets for now. You will be more than glad you came.
P.S. Somehow lost our photos from the restaurant, but check out the gorgeous ones on the Miku website.