Tom Uiprapassorn, chef and co-owner of Okami Sushi, 6818 W. North Ave., Chicago, combines his love for Japanese anime and architectural sushi at his restaurant nestled in the North Avenue District. In Japanese, Okami can mean “Great God” or “wolf,” but owners of the sushi centric restaurant bearing the name took inspiration from Okami Amaterasu — a white wolf goddess character at the center of a video game launched in 2006.
Born in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Uiprapassorn earned his degree in architecture prior to emigrating to the United States and settling in Chicago with his sister, Wow Morales. Though excited to be in the States, he was not passionate about pursuing a career in architecture — after his arrival he went looking for “any job” to make ends meet. He spent his first years in the city working at a small-scale sushi bar with a lean, but dedicated staff. In time, Uiprapassorn partnered up with his sister and brother-in-law, Moses Morales, to bring Okami Sushi to life.
Uiprapassorn enjoys tossing ideas around with his chef-friends who work at Momotaro, but also relies heavily on his own imagination to keep dishes coming out of Okami’s open kitchen. Okami welcomes guests to experience Uiprapassorn’s creative take on sushi and ramen. The Chin ramen is a rich and memorable combination of pork bone broth, thin ramen noodles and garlic oil crowned with crispy chicken karaage, bamboo shoots, kizami seaweed, chili threads and a softboiled egg. Warming Yuma udon boasts a clear chicken soup broth with thick noodles topped with marinated shiitake mushrooms with tempura fried shrimp, oyster, scallop and kanikama. Both offerings are hearty, complex and well executed.
Folks looking to embrace the energy of free-style Japanese cooking will do well to order some of Okami’s signature maki rolls or chef’s selection of sushi. The Princess “Monoke” Roll gives a nod to another character in Japanese anime and features shrimp tempura, BBQ eel, avocado, cucumber topped with seared super white tuna, honey mayo, unagi sauce and crispy shallots. The Davy Jones roll, topped with fried beet, is stuffed with octopus, cilantro, and jalapeno before being deep fried. Traditional maki rolls and nigiri are also available.
Uiprapassorn feels at home in his restaurant kitchen and wants to invite everyone to pay them a visit in the North Avenue District.
6818 W. North Ave., Chicago