I’ve previously mentioned one of my favorite sushi places is Sushi By Chef Soon, located inside Seocho Garden in Lisle, IL. Yesterday, I finally got to share it with my good friend, Martin. I had already experienced it with my other sushi-obsessed friend, so this was long overdue for us.
We arrived for lunch just as they opened. Since it was a Tuesday afternoon, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Chef Soon was there, skillfully preparing our meal. We started with some tasty miso soup. (I enjoy miso soup, but it’s one of those things that is so specific a recipe that few disappoint and fewer impress.) Martin and I both love eel, so we ordered one piece each of the more common fresh water unagi and the less common salt water anago off the ala carte menu. Both were as good as any we’ve had. We asked the server about popular maki, because I couldn’t remember all the great ones I’d had during my last visit. We ended up with three, Ocean Drive, Tropical Island, and a favorite I soon remembered from before, the Summer roll. These are listed under the section, “CHEF SOON’S SIGNATURE MAKI”. We started with the Ocean Drive and Summer rolls and followed with the Tropical Island. Ocean Drive is almost triangular-shaped and tastes amazing, with the distinct freshness of the bell pepper and lime coming through. Tropical Island is also great, with an almost tortilla-like wrapping, that was very fresh tasting as well, and had a noticeable mayo flavor.
Both of the other rolls were delicious. Neither was as mind-blowing as Summer. The presentation of the Summer roll shows off it’s most unique feature; razor-thin slices of lemon top the roll and give it it’s signature zing. It’s the kind of roll that takes you back a bit, slows you down, makes you relish ever chew, the kind of taste sensation that makes you chuckle a little at how good it is. As Martin reacted with exquisite surprise, I knowingly nodded and replied, “I know, right?” I felt a little bad saving my last piece of Summer until we finished the Tropical Island, because I’m sure Martin was jealous watching me savor that last morsel.
I’ve been to enough sushi places to notice a pattern. Some excel at the nigiri (ala carte) while providing adequate maki (rolls), and vice versa. Sushi by Chef Soon is one of the rarer places that excels at both. Martin and I will continue to explore Chicagoland for great sushi, but I’ve officially proven to him now that my current favorite will be hard to beat. Enjoy!