Hot Woks Cool Sushi

The Loop
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The Irving Park location of this pan-Asian restaurant got off to such a strong start that Lois Lee, who owns the spot with her husband, David, didn't waste any time opening a second. Apart from the space, a long, narrow dining room displaying what Lee terms "cultural evolution" art, meaning works created by artists who've been influenced by multiple cultures, this spot is pretty similar to the original. Two additions here: bento boxes and a liquor license. Look for wine, beer and sake to start, with cocktails on the way. And they won't be just any cocktails. Lee's father, Paul Fong, is the man behind legendary Riverside tiki bar and Polynesian restaurant Chef Shangri-La, and she plans to offer some of the same fun specialty drinks. The restaurant's name neatly sums up the rest of the menu. There are hot stir-fried dishes from China, Thailand and Japan, plus "cool" items from the sushi bar. Maki include familiar faves such as rainbow and dragon rolls, but the Fukudome hits it out of the park-it's a jumbo roll with shrimp tempura, mayo, masago, avocado, chili sauce, red tobiko, cream cheese and scallions, with a coating of tempura crumbs and a topping of wasabi mayo and sweet soy sauce. This location will soon add an Ozzie roll, peppered with bold flavors such as cilantro and spicy sauce, to cater to the Sox crowd. But North Siders and South Siders alike should be able to get behind the red, white and blue Obama-nami, which incorporates a mishmash of flavors, from cream cheese to jalapenos to masago-in other words, says Lee, "a lot of diverse ingredients that are well integrated."