Stairway to Heavenly

Toko V

Terri Taylor  |  Photos by Snapper with Thai coconut water/dragon fruit. Photo by Claire McCormack., Toko V. Photo by Claire McCormack.
November 22, 2013

Toko V’s cozy front terrace overlooks Highland Park Village, but the tastiest scene is in the back. Climb the stairs to this second-floor sushi bar, take a seat at the counter and watch as sushi master Daniel Chau (formerly of Steel Restaurant & Lounge) slices, wraps and rolls. Developed by Twomey Concepts, the restaurant offers an extensive menu with traditional sashimi, nigiri and specialty rolls, as well as an assortment of Pan-Asian plates and noodle bowls. Executive chef André Natera presides over both Toko V and its downstairs sister restaurant Village Kitchen. (Also connected is The Marquee Bar, tucked behind the Village Theatre marquee.) “Downstairs is more family-focused,” explains Natera. “Upstairs is date night.” The relaxed interior is neutral-toned with splashes of serene green. Art creates areas of interest: a playful mural with Japanese lettering, a blue-lit flying fish by local artist Gary Buckner and wall hangings of Japanese birch. Diners can order a la carte or ask for a tasting plate created by the chef. Try the beautiful yellowtail and super white tuna roll with cilantro and sriracha and the pepper-seared escolar tataki with yuzu lime garlic sauce. A winning starter is the green papaya salad with ribbons of slightly tart papaya tossed in sweet and spicy dressing with peanuts and flavorful dried shrimp, cilantro and mint. Share small plates such as pork potstickers with champagne tozsu sauce and blistered shishito peppers with Thai sweet chili sauce. Meat-eaters will love the sweet glazed Korean-style pork ribs, and the marinated strip steak with wafu sauce and watercress slaw. “Toko V serves the Asian food I enjoy eating,” Natera says. “It’s geared to an American palate. We break the traditional rules a bit, but our modern approach still remains within the ideals of simple cooking.” 33 Highland Park Village, 214.522.6035;