Inside Rockit Ranch's Sunda New Asian with Chef DeGuzman
Sunda New Asian, member of Rockit Ranch Productions, is sister restaurant to some of Chicago’s hottest dining spots including DiningIn partners Rockit Bar & Grill, and Rockit Burger Bar.
Named Chicago’s Top Celebrity Hangout by Chicago Tribune, Sunda New Asian has hosted Hollywood stars and prominent athletes from Ryan Lochte, Barbra Streisand, Channing Tatum, Joe Jonas, Michael Jordan, Gerard Butler, Nicole Richie, and recently, Lady Gaga.
"She was here not too long ago, we made a couple of special dishes for her," said Jess DeGuzman, Executive Chef at Sunda, about the 'Born This Way' singer.
"The most consistent are the professional athletes, a lot of players from the Blackhawks, Bears, and the Bulls. They tend to be more health conscious, so they love the sushi.”
His passion for cooking began in college when he realized how much students dined outside of their dorms for an easy, indulging treat. “College students eat out at restaurants a lot,” he said, “but I became really excited about cooking my own food at home.” As a new hobby and way of saving money, he perfected an all-time favorite dish: fried rice.
Luckily, his college specialty and regional food preference wasn't too far from where he'd end up, eventually holding various positions in Sunda as Executive Sushi Chef, and later his current Executive Chef position in early 2012.
DELIVERY MENU PEEK
The eclectic, award-winning Asian Fusion restaurant, named after the Sunda Shelf, has combined modern Eastern Asian and Southeast Asian spices and techniques, creating Chinese-Japanese-Szechwan-Korean influenced dishes available through DiningIn delivery including:
- Lemongrass Beef Lollipops: NY strip beef wrapped lemongrass, spicy chili glaze.
- Grilled Ahi Tuna and Pork Salad with Chili vinegar, mango, sweet onions.
- Kimchi Fried Brown Rice with scallions, braiser pork belly, and garlic.
- Sunda's Yellowtail Jalapeño Roll: Japanese salsa, olive oil, and ponzu.
- Pad Thai: Rice noodles, egg, carrots, cabbage, tamarind sauce, scallions, and chicken or tofu.
- Honey-Ginger Braised Beef Shortribs with creamed baby bok choy congee and crispy carrots.
With a Japanese cooking background, Chef DeGuzman shared with us his favorite dish to make on the menu, the Hamachi Tartare, made up of 'healthy, great flavors and culinary techniques.'
The Hamachi Tartare comes with tobiko, ikura, avocado, jalapeño, chives, and Yuzu Wasabi Ponzu sauce.
To accompany the dishes, Chef DeGuzman pointed out, Sunda has chosen only the best Japanese sake by the glass or bottle, served hot or cold.
Sake is a Japanese drink made from fermented rice conaining approximately 9%–16% ABV.
Special Sake Selections:
- Gekkeikan “Laurel-Wreath Crown” - Fushimi, Japan
- Rock Sake "Cloud" Nigori - Oregon
- Ty Ku "Coconut" - Nara Japan
- Knteki "Pearls of Simplicity"
FRESHNESS, BUYING LOCAL, AND SUSTAINABILITY
Chef DeGuzman talked to us at DiningIn about the importance of giving customers the freshest, sustainable seasonal ingredients available.
Sunda’s committment to social responsibility includes buying only free-range chicken, building relationships with local sellers, and using "harmoniously raised fish" from Verlasso, ensuring a responsible Sunda kitchen and dining experience.
Sunda, from Rockit Ranch Productions partners Billy Dec, Brad Young and Arturo Gomez, is a comfortably stylish New Asian restaurant led by Executive Chef Jess DeGuzman offering contemporary interpretations of traditional dishes from Japan, China and the Southeast Asian Island region.