It’s a mystery of the universe, but for some reason wrapping raw fish in rice and seaweed and calling it sushi makes it date night fare in a way that a basket of fish and chips can never be. We don’t understand it, but we’re willing to go with it, especially when that sushi is served at an excellent restaurant like Coast Sushi. Southcoast, the lively Michigan Avenue location of this popular Chicago sushi empire, is a perfect spot for a casual date, but it’s not a secret, so book in advance and anticipate some additional wait time once you get there. It’s worth it for seafood that’s so fresh you’ll swear it came out of the ocean just moments ago.
Start your culinary journey with the delicate and flavorful Agadeshi tofu salad. With its subtle dashi dressing and zesty bonito flakes, one bite will mentally transport you to a tranquil garden in Kyoto. Continue with more dishes likely to spark conversations about tastes and travel. Enlivened by cilantro and jalapeño, the hamachi carpaccio draws inspiration from both Japan and Latin America, while the corny tuna blends midwest with southwest in its corn-and-avocado base.
Not surprisingly, there are no wrong turns when it comes to classic sushi and sashimi, so order whatever you usually enjoy and expect it to be excellent. For sushi rolls, however, the white dragon roll is worth singling out. Made with perfectly-cooked shrimp tempura and wrapped in a mix of wasabi tobiko, cream cheese, and “spicy sauce” (don’t ask, it’s a secret), every bite yields a delicious new layer of flavor.
At this point, you’ll both be giddy from the sushi, so end your meal on a playful note with an order of Coast’s signature “choco sticks.” Each of you can grab a choco stick to show off your finest dipping skills in this delightful take on chocolate fondue with mango, strawberry, and kiwi. Just remember to let your date have the last bite. It’s just one more reason to return here next month to do it all over again.
Photo: Luke Ma