After so many fine meals over the past couple of days, I was at a little bit of a loss as to where to go eat for my last lunch in Chicago before heading to the airport. I have to admit that I was craving a little bit of Asian flavors, and I had heard some people mention Sunda. Although it bills itself as New Asian cuisine, I really wasn’t expecting anything too special. I figured it would be a mix of different Asian cuisines with fancy presentations and mediocre flavors. I suppose that tells you how much I was wanting to have something Asian. The restaurant itself is pretty spacious and decorated with several elements of Asian-esque art and wall coverings. It was pretty empty which seemed somewhat appropriate for lunch time, but I’m sure it this place would be pretty packed and bumpin’ for Happy Hour and beyond. The ambiance seems to scream cool and hip.
I figured that the Rock Shrimp Tempura would be similar in taste and texture to the Chinese cuisine’s Honey Walnut Shrimp. The sauce was similarly creamy but not as sweet nor as crunchy. The shrimps were a little heavy on the batter which isn’t necessarily bad except that this batter was a little too doughy. The caramelized walnuts added a nice bit of sweetness and texture though.
I had the highest hopes for this dish, because I have rarely met a spicy tuna on crispy rice dish that I didn’t like. There’s just something about the soft yet simultaneously crispy texture of the rice that manages to really showcase the spicy tuna. Although it looks good, the spicy tuna didn’t have much flavor beyond the healthy dose of sriracha and jalapenos. It needed a little bit more salt and maybe sesame oil. I ate it all, but it was just okay.
The noodles in the Longevity Garlic Noodle dish were a little too soft for my liking. The dish as a whole reminded me of braised e-fu noodles which I actually like. There was that intensity of garlic flavor that is usually associated with garlic noodles, but there was a decent bit of lump crab meat which I really appreciated. I still could have used some more crab though.
All in all, the food was solid but not that great. I felt like I was able to get my fix for Asian food, but in comparison to the collection of restaurants that I had visited over the course of this trip, it probably did fall at the bottom. Not because it tasted bad, but it just didn’t have anything particularly special or memorable to help it stand out the way the other restaurants did.
110 West Illinois St.
Chicago, IL 60654
PAFO Ratings for Sunda:
Price 3 stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3 stars