- Sarah Nardi
- Hot Daisy
When I heard that Sushi Wabi had closed, I felt my heart physically break. Sushi Wabi had been a mainstay of my 20s, a spot that, despite its location on Randolph Street’s restaurant row, still had a feel of the clandestine. It was the place you suggested for a date to demonstrate that you were in the know. It was where you brought people visiting from places like New York to prove that Chicago isn’t all steak houses and hot dogs. Sushi Wabi was dark, it was loud, it was working the industrial-chic aesthetic long before it became a thing that everybody did. And beyond that, the sushi itself was amazing. When the restaurant shuttered last year, the city lost one of the brightest jewels in the dining scene’s crown.
I know I’m not alone in my intense Wabi nostalgia because when word of Sushi Dokku began to spread, the news was delivered to me on at least ten different occasions by almost absurdly excited friends. Sushi Dokku is run by two Sushi Wabi alumni—Susan Thompson and Angela Hepler-Lee—and located on Randolph just one block east from the erstwhile spot. When a peek at the menu promised a handful of dishes instantly recognizable to the Wabi acolyte, I was convinced dining at Sushi Dokku would be like a trip back in time.