This New West Loop Japanese Restaurant Will Serve Wagyu Nigiri

A5 wagyu, seven-month-pickled ramp, sea salt

B.K. Park’s hybrid Japanese restaurant Mako is one month from launch

Chicago’s sushi revolution is in full swing, thanks to the addition of tasting-menu counters like Yume and Kyōten. And come mid-December, B.K. Park—one of the city’s pioneering sushi chefs, who introduced pristine fish over seasoned rice with the 2013 debut of acclaimed omakase haunt Juno—will launch his sophomore effort: Mako.

While the chef planned to debut his hybrid sushi and plated Japanese dish concept right around now, as it happens with build-out delays and such, he’s pushed the opening back just over a month. And as the pieces fall into place on the lower level of the Parker luxury apartment building in the West Loop, Park is finally ready to share details of his menu.

While Juno is known for its contemporary-style nigiri bites built from top-grade seafood, that’s not to say that Park hasn’t dabbled in classic nigiri preps, too. And at Mako, he’s written a similarly mixed omakase menu—priced at $175 for 23 courses—that includes sanma (mackeral pike) anointed with pickled baby kelp and ginger-scallion; and shiro anago (white saltwater eel) marinated in sake, dressed with yuzu zest and sea salt.

While one would never find beef nigiri at a traditional Japanese omakase bar, Park is going for it. And he’ll balance the buttery A5-grade wagyu with seven-month-pickled ramp and sea salt. Overall, the chef plans to serve a more seasonal menu than he has offered at Juno, with a focus on unique cuts of fish.

As for non-sushi offerings, think a one-bite play on ceviche made from lime juice-marinated Japanese red snapper wrapped with mountain yam, perilla leaf, red onion, and cherry tomatoes and topped with okra; Peking duck breast with crispy skin, pickled shimeji mushrooms, fermented maitake mushrooms, and burnt onion puree; and soy sauce-braised abalone served with pickled quail egg and abalone liver sauce.

Mako—named after the world’s fastest-swimming species of shark—will be equipped with a 13-seat omakase counter, in addition to 10 tables. And alongside the restaurant’s single omakase menu, Park will offer an $85 wine pairing.

Check out some of the dishes below and stay tuned for more opening details.

Rachel Bires
Mackeral pike, pickled baby kelp and ginger scallion

Rachel Bires
Kinmadai: Goldeneye snapper

Rachel Bires
Shiro Anago: Sake marinated salt water eel, yuzu zest, sea salt

Rachel Bires
Japanese red snapper marinated with lime juice, wrapped with yamaimo, oba, red onion, cherry tomatoes and topped with okra

Rachel Bires
Peking duck breast, crispy skin, pickled shimeji mushrooms, fermented maitake mushrooms, burnt onion puree

Rachel Bires
Abalone braised with house soy, pickled quail egg, abalone liver sauce
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