Roka Akor is a trendy Japanese with sushi, steaks, and plenty of interesting fusion dishes. And the River North restaurant will remind you it’s both trendy and expensive every step of the way. At some point during your meal, the waiter will probably ask if you’ve seen “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” because the head chef once trained under Jiro. And if you’re eating here you’ve either seen the documentary or will very enthusiastically lie and say “Yes, of course I have seen it because I am C-U-L-T-U-R-E-D. Also, I’m going to get drunk while I eat all this food.”
That’s kind of Roka Akor in a nutshell. It’s expensive, it’s trendy, and more than anywhere else it feels like you stepped off Clark Street and onto the Vegas Strip. But goddamn is the food delicious, and that counts for a lot. Considering there is no shortage of similar places in River North that fail spectacularly going for the same kind of vibe, we give Roka Akor a lot of credit for pulling it off.
Right now, you’re reading this and falling into one of two categories. One: you love a good date night or Girls Night Out in River North before hitting Underground or somewhere else nearby for a nightcap, and this is right up your alley. Or two: there is no way in hell you’ll ever eat at this restaurant. And here’s our response to both of those thoughts. One: you’re right, make a reservation immediately and plan on going big on one of the omakase options. And two: this might not be your first choice, but don’t dismiss it. The food is excellent, and you never know when you’ll need a place like this for the right situation.
Just remember to bring your credit card, or better yet, hopefully somebody else is paying the bill.
This is the best way to sample the entire menu, and it’s probably the best bang for your buck unless you try to weasel out of here on the cheap (not possible). You can go the $98 “signature” route or go “decadent” for $128, which we’re pretty sure means they put caviar and truffles on everything. But we’re very into it. You’ll get everything from sashimi and maki rolls to more sashimi and grilled seafood and wagyu beef carpaccio and grilled wagyu beef for good measure. The dessert set-up is ridiculous too, and it’s all great.
Get some veggies involved. Always a good starter.
Rock Shrimp Tempura
Fried stuff in general is usually good, and that’s especially true when it’s shrimp.
Beef & Kimchi Dumplings
We’re big dumplings people, and these are some great dumplings. We’re into the beef and kimchi mix.
Japanese Grade A5 Wagyu Beef
Definitely order it. And always go A5. Don’t be caught ordering A4 like a chump (we have no idea what these grades mean but this will taste very good in your mouth).
New York Strip With Bone Marrow
NY strip is always a smart bet on the meat front, and the giant piece of bone marrow it comes with is a nice meat-butter bonus to have with it. And meat-butter bonuses are the best kind of bonuses.
Japanese Wild Mushroom Hot Pot
This comes out as a whole big ordeal in a gigantic pot, and it’s hot. Well done Roka Akor menu writer. Order if if you’re into hot pots that taste great.
It’s all good. We could go down and pick the things we liked (like this yellowtail sashimi below), but in all honesty you should just pick your favorites or let the waiter tell you what is currently in house that they like. Or give Jiro a call and let him order for you.