Roka Akor: Part I

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration and sushi rolling class at Roka Akor Steak and Sushi, which opened in July, 2011. Serving Robatayaki Japanese cuisine, this sleek River North spot offers small plates, sashimi, sushi and prime steaks, fish, chicken and vegetables prepared Robata-style on an open charcoal flame. Counter seating is available before the grill for an up close look at how the dishes are masterly prepared and an opportunity to interact with its lively staff. The tranquil design features white limestone and rustic raked poplar.

The demo that we attended was the last of three monthly events scheduled for the fall with Executive Chef  Ce Bian. The class began with a cocktail lesson from mixologist Tony Selna (that recipe will be in an upcoming post) followed by the demonstration and tasting. Whether it was rice preparation, slicing or rolling, Chef Ce Bian engaged his audience, offering tips and showing us how it's done by a pro, making everything look effortless. My niece, Kelly, who lives in the city and frequents many of Chicago's top sushi spots was the perfect guest for the day.

Ce Bian noted that there are dozens of different styles of sushi. "If you go to a new city, you'll find a different style," he said. As we learned about the art of sushi rolling, we enjoyed salted edamame.

And some flavorful pot stickers.

And a taste of rare ribeye. I'm sure there was a more sophisticated term for this bite. Whatever name it goes by, it was incredibly succulent and left me wanting more.

See what I mean about that lively bunch!

It was a fun experience. For $75 you learn to make and sample one of Roka Akor's signature cocktails, learn sushi making techniques, enjoy appetizers, sample menu items accompanied with sake and end with dessert. Follow the blog for additional posts to come on the cocktail and sushi rolling portions of the day. 

Roka Akor
456 N. Clark