Runa, A Japanese Restaurant with Dim Sum Brunch, Lands on North Avenue
WICKER PARK — Will the fifth time be the charm for the southeast corner of Oakley and North avenues in Wicker Park?
A storefront that's been home to four restaurants in six years has a fresh new concept. If all goes well, by this time next month diners could be noshing on sushi and perhaps even chicken feet.
Runa, the Japanese word for "platinum moon," will take over the recently shuttered Lazy Parrot and offer sushi, Japanese noodle dishes, Chinese fried rice and dim sum, which are Chinese Mandarin small plate dishes.
Owner and chef Henry Zhang, 33, said he's "debating" putting chicken feet on the dim sum menu but is "afraid it might freak people out."
Zhang described the delicacy as "fried and marinated in sweet and spicy sauce and steamed. A very tender meat."
Zhang said the 2,600-square-foot restaurant seats 40 to 50 people, including six at counter seats at the sushi bar.
A glass tank near the front of the restaurant will house live lobster, mussels and clams, which guests can select to include in their meals, Zhang said.
The centerpiece of Zhang's dim sum menu will be Har Gow, traditional Chinese dumplings of which Runa will offer several types stuffed with roasted pork, shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, cabbage and water chestnuts, among other ingredients.
Zhang's extensive sushi menu offers 25 individual sushi and sashimi pieces, 30 varieties of rolls or maki and 17 chef specialty rolls, many of which have creative names such as "sexy beach," "mango tango," "tuna fantasy" and "flaming runa," which pays homage to the restaurant's name and contains shrimp tempura and crab stick topped with salmon, super white tuna and red and black tobiko (omega-rich flying fish eggs).
Appetizer highlights include spicy tuna ravioli, sashimi grade tuna mixed with seaweed salad and scallions. Side dishes include sweet potato fries and yakisoba (fried ramen noodles).
Zhang, a Chinatown resident, grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Chicago in 2008.
Zhang said he's been working at sushi restaurants for the past 13 years and most recently co-owned Inari Sushi at 7428 W. North Ave, in Elmwood Park.
Zhang sold his half ownership in Inari Sushi in March so he could devote his attention to Runa.
"I've always dreamed of having my own restaurant," Zhang said.
Zuna's hours will be 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. No website or phone yet.