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Check Out Nori's Tasty New Digs

By John DiGilio in Food on Dec 9, 2011 7:00PM

It was not that long ago that we were heaping praise on Edgewater Thai restaurant, Blue Elephant. Imagine our surprise on a recent return visit to find our little nook replaced by a shiny new eatery more than twice its size. Nori is growing its Chicago empire and its latest outpost has landed on Devon Avenue. Blue Elephant may now be no more than a tasty memory, but at least we can say that something equally delicious has taken its place.

Nori, which started in Lincoln Park, is having a growth spurt. New locations for the Asian-inspired eatery have popped up in both Bucktown and here in Edgewater. We've actually written about Nori before. The Loyola outpost turned what was once a small, corner shop into a large, polished restaurant complete with take out lounge and sushi bar. We were tempted by the large windows, enameled interior, and the chance to try something new. So we had to check them out. Though we were sad to see that Blue Elephant was no more, we were more than happy to take a table beside the new sushi bar.

For starters, we ordered the Summer Rolls. At about seven bucks, what we got was more of an entrée than an appetizer — a huge plate of smoked tofu, greens, and carrot rolls wrapped in a delicately thin rice paper and served with Vietnamese dipping sauce. The crunch of the fresh veggies was a wonderful accompaniment to the savory flavors of the tofu and sauce. We had to try the sushi, so we also ordered a California maki. We know that many fish purists will say that this roll of rice and imitation crab does not really count as sushi. So be it. It was delicious nonetheless and not expensive at $6.50. Finally, we wanted to sample one of Nori’s many noodle dishes. We had a flavorful and satisfying Yaki Soba to complete our meal. The Japanese egg noodles were plentiful in this dish, which also featured vegetables and soy sauce. This entrée came in at about nine dollars, and was more than enough to leave us overly stuffed and happy.

The restaurant business is a fickle thing. Even the tastiest places can be here today and gone tomorrow. It is the nature of the beast. The best we can hope for is that either our favorites stick around as long as we do or the restaurants that set up shop in their stead offer us something equally as memorable. Kudos to Nori for taking a great little spot and making it even bigger and better. We just hope it is still there the next time we go back! Our money is on this one sticking around a bit.

Nori, 1235 W. Devon Ave.