Winter blues filling you with wanderlust? Do you just need to go somewhere? It may not have come with a passport, but Roka Akor gave the Yelp Chicago Elite Squad a trip to remember when they discovered Yelp's Goin' Japanese. Think of it as travel without the jetlag.
To ensure the event started off on a spicy notes, enamored guests were greeted with Roka's signature cocktail: the Ginger Daiquiri. This drink brought heat and kick to a cold, wintery Chicago afternoon. Sufficiently warmed up, Elites clinked glasses of red and white wine to accompany their rosy cheeks and enticed tastebuds.
Enticed? Certainly. For as dedicated as the cocktail program is, Roka is known for its fantastic cuisine — and guests got to experience every delectable morsel. Samples of the Hamachi Serrano Roll, Salmon Avocado Roll and Organic Vegetable Roll began the maki lovefest. Lest you think maki was the only example of Roka's culinary mastery, Elites feasted their eyes (and tummies) on Rock Shrimp Tempura, Robata Grilled Sweet Potatoes, Wagyu Beef & Kimchi Dumplings, and Skewers. Without a doubt, this menu knocked some socks off.
But… there's more. Not content to simply be a restaurant that serves great food and drink, Roka demonstrated what sets it apart from the rest — in two parts. Part 1 involved a stop at the Robata Grill where guests were privy to a demonstration by Executive Chef Ce Bian on preparing Robatayaki-style "open charcoal" cuisine. After that, bar manager Jamie Grenon showcased Roka's Shochu collection, a Japanese distilled spirit that is typically distilled from barley, sweet potatoes or rice. Ramping up the evening, Roka raffled off a $200 return trip to the restaurant to the thrilled Claudia M. Capturing every hot moment and cool experience was foodie photographer par excellence Andres DeLeon. Check out his photos here and read what guests had to say here.
Eastbound and down,