Hi, I'm Lu!

A PhD Student at University of Chicago who loves discovering the world and trying new eats! Hope you enjoy!

Cocoro: Authentic Japanese

Cocoro: Authentic Japanese

Figure 1. Hiyayakko
Figure 1. Hiyayakko

Recently, we discovered some delicious, authentic Japanese food in Chicago.  I had written about the popular Slurping Turtle before, but the food at Cocoro goes above and beyond your expectations.

We first ordered hiyayakko (Figure 1), which is a chilled tofu with a combination of toppings.  Here, the tofu was topped off with katsuobushi (dried tuna flakes), seaweed and soy sauce.  The tofu was so silky and absorbed the saltiness of the soy sauce perfectly.  The best part was that they put the ginger on the side so it didn’t overwhelm the flavors of all the other ingredients.

Figure 2. Takoyaki
Figure 2. Takoyaki

To my delight, they had takoyaki (Figure 2) on the menu!  These battered balls of octopus that are normally sold as street food in Japan were wrapped in just enough batter to give a light outer crunch and an emanating taste of octopus from within.

Figure 3. Japanese curry with a side of pickled radishes
Figure 3. Japanese curry with a side of pickled radishes

I’ve always enjoyed Japanese curry because it has a tinge of sweetness, and the curry at Cocoro is just phenomenal, especially with the freshly made tonkatsu (Figure 3), which is a deep-fried pork cutlet.  The crispiness persevered despite the Japanese curry covering it!  Now that’s a sign of some awesome cooking technique!

Figure 4. Sansai udon
Figure 4. Sansai udon

Whenever I see udon on a menu, I can’t seem to stay away.  This time, I opted for the sansei (4 mushroom) udon in a miso broth (Figure 4).  I could tell the pure broth was infused with flavors from the mushrooms, and the noodles were some of the smoothest and softest noodles I’ve ever slurped up!

Figure 5. Tuna tataki
Figure 5. Tuna tataki

Finally, we had the tuna tataki with avocado (Figure 5), which is a complex conglomerate of ingredients here at Cocoro.  The tuna is seared and marinated in vinegar with a bit of spice to give the tuna some kick.  Topped with avocado and some green onion, this tuna is literally infused with flavor!

Tips:

  1. Try the items off the authentic Japanese menu – absolutely amazing here
  2. Cocoro isn’t exactly known for its sushi, so stick with the normal food.
Cocoro on Urbanspoon
Remnants of the 1982 World's Fair

Remnants of the 1982 World's Fair

Retreat to Chicago Botanic Gardens

Retreat to Chicago Botanic Gardens