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Sushi House Review – December 2011

Sushi House
281 Rice Lake Square
Wheaton, IL 60187

Chicago Tiger Sushi made its second trip to the Chicago Suburbs, this time to visit Sushi House, tucked away in the sprawling, labyrinthine Rice Lake Square strip mall in Wheaton, Illinois. Team Tiger attended on a quiet Friday night. Although we had made reservations, this was not necessary.

Important note: As you walk in, you should check out the specials posted by the entrance. Our waitress didn’t mention them, and we only noticed them on the way out, and so we missed out on the seasonal Navidad sushi and the “Classy” roll.

Upon sitting down, we were welcomed with a warm greeting and warm towels. The décor was low-key, with light jazz playing in the background. Some semi-private booths, illuminated by Japanese-style paper lanterns, are available at the front of the restaurant near the windows.

The chopsticks were of the standard snap-apart variety. While Andutakusan prefers these– they give him a satisfying feeling of having to work for his food, like an ancient hunter gatherer– Hobiko and Monishimi prefer fancier chopsticks. The soy sauce dishes were plain, round, and ceramic. Low-sodium soy sauce was not on the table (although available). The bathrooms were clean but slightly dingy, with poor caulking and crooked fixtures.


We ordered the Garlic-Sautéed Edamame and the Hamachi Jalapeño as appetizers. Andutakusan thought that the garlic was a nice twist on the standard bean. However, all agreed that the edamame was too greasy. Additionally, Hobbiko thought that the application of garlic was a little heavy-handed.

The Hamachi Jalapeño was plated well, consisting of slices of hamachi overlaid with thinly-sliced fresh jalapeño. Although we struggled to pick up the flat hamachi (using chopsticks), our taste buds were rewarded by the crisp peppers contrasting with the firm fish, all brought together by a satisfying heat. Andutakusan declared this the best appetizer he’s had at a Sushi restaurant, however, it should be noted that we had started drinking at this point.


We were immediately intrigued by the Sake Tinis, which are similar to martinis, but made with sake and boldly-flavored liquors. We each ordered a different variation: Princess Monishimi got the Japanese Slipper, flavored with ginger liquor; Andutakusan got the Geisha, which featured peach liquor; and Hobbiko got the Zen, made with green tea liquor. They all were easy to drink, yet each was unique.

We followed that up with Sapporo ON DRAFT, something else that was unusual. Also available were red and white wines and other Japanese beers. Also, Miller Lite.


Princess Monishimi ordered the Red Crunchy Roll, consisting of shrimp tempura, avocado, masago, and tuna on top, drizzled with two kinds of sauce. This was her favorite roll, although the tempura could have been more crunch-er-riffic. She also got the Mixed Veggie Roll, which upped the crunch quota by one, featuring a crunchtacular crunchiness. ¡Crunch! Finally, she had the Spicy Aji: Spanish mackerel with scallions, ginger, and chili sauce. She thought this roll was somewhat lacking in flavor and crunch.
4 stars (out of 5).

Andutakusan had the Red Dragon Roll, which featured spicy tuna, wrapped in avocado, with spicy sauces, and crunchy crunches crunched all around. The spice was balanced perfectly with the coolness of the avocado. He also ordered various nigiri: fresh salmon, smoked salmon, maguro, and hamachi. All were reasonably fresh and not fishy-tasting. 4 stars.

As a new resident of the area, Hobbiko felt obliged to order the Wheaton Roll, which contained tuna, salmon, cream cheese, avocado, festive green tobiko, on a plate of spicy mustard and reddish soy-based sauce. The presentation was appropriate for the season, although the cream cheese was slightly overpowering. Hobbiko also ordered nigiri: maguro and hamachi. Compared to some of the other places we’ve reviewed, the fish was not as fresh as he expected. 3.5 stars.

Monishimi and Andutakusan also ordered the tamago, which Monishimi thought was of insufficient girth, but was long enough to satisfy her needs. Andutakusan thought that it was just fine. Tamago is all about the execution anyways.


Service was attentive, yet not overbearing. One slight nit from Hobbiko was that he arrived early but was not offered water while he waited.


The sushi experience, while not orgasmic, was quite satisfactory. Like someone you’ve been dating for six years. Just buy her a ring already! 3.83 stars.

Postscript: Residents of Wheaton should look for coupons in the local circulars. On this particular night, we got 20% off.

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