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New sushi restaurant from a veteran of Kaze, Mirai Sushi, and Heat.

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Our Review

Chef Macku Chan (Heat, Mirai Sushi) and his brothers Kaze and Hari have resurfaced after the legal dispute that killed Kaze Sushi, their former Roscoe Village restaurant. Macku is an uncomfortably smaller space, but not much has changed when it comes to the overwhelming and unrestrained menu. The most questionable expressions of Macku's creativity where it comes to fish remain: while you can almost understand the combination of smoked salmon and Laughing Cow cheese, rolling it into unagi makimono just seems like provocation for its own sake. And yet I can see it appealing to the sort of sushi consumer who hasn't learned to appreciate fish and rice on their own terms. The eel is cooked, of course—none of that scary raw stuff—and incorporated into the roll with crispy shrimp. It's crunchy, it's cheesy—it should come in a bag and be eaten in front of the TV. While the Chans' signature nigiri and sashimi are more artfully presented and challenging, you can't judge the quality of the raw fish with such embellishments as pickled onion and truffle oil (topping bigeye tuna) or fried garlic and tomato-mushroom puree (disguising the merits, or lack thereof, of a slice of bonito). That said, there are a few inspired combinations that're better than the sum of their parts: otherwise lean flounder is nicely balanced by some buttery foie gras and spicy ponzu. Still, you'd have to opt for less-adorned standard pieces to discover that the Chan brothers' fish isn't bad at all. In fact, it can be pretty fresh. Further complicating matters at any given seating is a disorienting list of appetizers, soup, salads, and entrees. Some, such as a dainty cup of carrot soup with white miso, cream, and king crab—rich enough for two to share at $6—are marvelous. Others seem like extravagant teases: a toddler's handful of tiny, crispy river crabs alongside a reservoir of buttery Japanese curry, priced at a shocking $10, would be more appropriate at $5, or better yet as a shared amuse. The piscine sacrilege extends to the entrees, where it's epitomized by a lovely panko-coated fried cod fillet topped by wan slices of strawberry (in February?) and slid onto a slick of chocolate miso sauce—it's like a fish sundae with a side of bok choy. Such gimmickry plays to a collective willingness to be suckered.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$

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