The much-anticipated opening of Shakou Barrington arrived Monday, and a few of us from 365Barrington.com were the first patrons through the door, excited to enjoy lunch together and share in Shakou’s opening day success.
Shakou, which translates to “social life”, is modern Asian cuisine served in a highly contemporary atmosphere. The community’s newest dining destination provides the perfect anchor to the long-awaited Barrington Village Center development at the corner of Hough and Main streets downtown.
Owner Adam Garvanian greeted us at the door as we arrived for our 11 a.m. reservation. “Our goal was to bring the city vibe to the suburbs,” Adam says. “We know a lot of Barrington residents have moved out from the city and miss the energy and great food of Chicago. We’ve brought that to you.”
We would agree. There is a very Japonais-like feel to the fantastically decorated and airy atmosphere with two large dining areas plus sushi and cocktail bars on the main level. Think clean, bright and contemporary with music that sets the mood. Upstairs, we fell in love with the bar and dining spaces which are perfect for private parties and events. Huge sliding doors allow guests to meander out onto the amazing, heated terrace overlooking Main Street and Barrington’s Catlow Theater.
City quality and an urban aesthetic also hold true in the food. You are in for a treat with Shakou’s unique sushi and signature maki offerings. The Ocean Drive is a refreshing surprise, stuffed with cilantro, tuna, yellow tail, avocado, green pepper and spicy mayo, wrapped in soybean paper and finished with lime juice. It is fresh in both quality and flavor and a treat for the tastebuds.
The Pink Cadillac, Crunch Roll and Dragon Fire bring high-quality and creativity to traditional sushi offerings… with a twist. The Pink Cadillac combines shrimp tempura, avocado and spicy mayo, and is topped with Sriracha and marinated fruit for a delicious and tangy taste combination to complement the savory seafood.
The butter pan seared Dragon Fire roll melts in your mouth with the flavors of crab, cucumber and avocado topped with spicy tuna, spicy tako, citrus mayo, habanero sauce and unagi sauce
And the Crunch Roll has a crispy kick with spicy crab, cucumber and avocado topped with seared spicy tuna, unagi sauce and tempura crunch.
For lunchtime patrons or takeout, Shakou’s Bento boxes burst with abundant offerings. They have hot meal boxes featuring salmon, beef or chicken teriyaki, and cold boxes with a variety of sushi offerings. We tried the Maki Bento box which had Crab Rolls and Spicy Tuna Rolls with the perfect amount of fire. All Bento boxes are served with salad, gyoza, shrimp and vegetable tempura and, priced between $12 and $14, are an incredible value.
Enjoy contemporary cocktails from Shakou’s full martini menu or specialty drinks like the Champagnini with a hibiscus flower. Today, we also sampled their popular Moscow Mule served in a copper mug engraved with Shakou’s logo. Non-alcoholic drinks such as the sweet green tea are also perfect pairings for Shakou’s many offerings.
Highlights of Shakou’s dinner menu include their signature Chilean Sea Bass, Braised Short Rib, Salmon or Chicken Teriyaki, Tilapia and Seared Tuna Steak. They also offer a wide array of salads, including a beautiful Spicy Noodle Salad featuring shrimp and scallops mixed with spicy sauce and garnished with fuji apples and micro greens.
Save room for the finale, as Shakou’s dessert menu is robust. We tried the Exotic Bamba and predict this shareable treat will become a Barrington favorite. It is passion fruit, mango and strawberry sorbets settled in a white chocolate crust served with fresh berries and whipped cream. It has a light, elegant taste that provides a perfect finish to a Shakou meal.
Shakou’s staff knows their sushi and anxiously awaits, welcoming you to the new locale. Our server, local resident Liz Adair, told us “I have served at many sushi restaurants and think Shakou knows its specialties and does them well. The Sea Bass is amazing, the signature rolls are unique, and dishes like the Ocean Drive fill our menu with above-average offerings”.
We couldn’t agree more. Shakou, we wish you well in your certain immediate success in Barrington, and look forward to dining with you again soon.
Shakou is located at 121 W. Main Street in the new Barrington Village Center. They are open Monday through Saturday for Lunch and Dinner and for Dinner only on Sundays. For a reservation, click here or call 224-655-2853 and, for more information, visit ShakouSushi.com/Barrington.