$20 for $40 Worth of Sushi and Japanese Cuisine at Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge

Near North Side

86% of 217 customers

Give as a Gift
Over 1,000 bought
Limited quantity available

In a Nutshell

The chef integrates surprising ingredients into sushi and Japanese cuisine, earning praise from Food & Wine magazine and Zagat

The Fine Print

Expires Feb 6th, 2013. Limit 1 per person, may buy 2 additional as gifts. Limit 1 per table. Phone reservation required. Dine-in only. Not valid for specials. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Fish is said to be an aphrodisiac, much like a bottle of red wine or a powerful brain visibly pulsing beneath its skull. Start the evening off right with this Groupon.

$20 for $40 Worth of Sushi and Japanese Cuisine

The menu includes wasabi-rubbed filet mignon ($21.50), signature spicy-tuna rolls with walnuts and rosemary ($14.50), and organic cha-soba noodles with vegetables ($9.50).

Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge

When executive chef Toyoji Hemmi surveys the restaurant's daily deliveries of fresh seafood, he envisions how the fish can be used to create exciting, new sushi entrees instead of just the widely expected staples. Food & Wine magazine praised this dedication to inventive flavor combinations in 2005, labeling chef Hemmi an "innovator" and calling him one of its "favorite iconoclasts" in the United States.

He accentuates maki with seemingly disparate ingredients—including rosemary, walnuts, and cherry tomatoes—that add new dimensions to the rolls' familiar tastes, textures, and pronunciations. Established Japanese flavors remain at the forefront of other items though, such as the wasabi-rubbed filet mignon and the organic cha-soba noodles. This distinctive interplay between contemporary and traditional approaches helped to earn the menu a score of "very good to excellent" from Zagat.

The dining room's vaguely industrial setting also toes the line between contemporary and historic, featuring rustic brick walls and exposed wooden rafters as well as chic, low-slung chairs and modern track lighting. Diners can peek behind the stone-countered sushi bar and watch the chefs assemble platters of maki and nigiri, or join the bartenders, who pass their evenings pouring tastes of sake and shochu.

Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge

When executive chef Toyoji Hemmi surveys the restaurant's daily deliveries of fresh seafood, he envisions how the fish can be used to create exciting, new sushi entrees instead of just the widely expected staples. Food & Wine magazine praised this dedication to inventive flavor combinations in 2005, labeling chef Hemmi an "innovator" and calling him one of its "favorite iconoclasts" in the United States.

He accentuates maki with seemingly disparate ingredients—including rosemary, walnuts, and cherry tomatoes—that add new dimensions to the rolls' familiar tastes, textures, and pronunciations. Established Japanese flavors remain at the forefront of other items though, such as the wasabi-rubbed filet mignon and the organic cha-soba noodles. This distinctive interplay between contemporary and traditional approaches helped to earn the menu a score of "very good to excellent" from Zagat.

The dining room's vaguely industrial setting also toes the line between contemporary and historic, featuring rustic brick walls and exposed wooden rafters as well as chic, low-slung chairs and modern track lighting. Diners can peek behind the stone-countered sushi bar and watch the chefs assemble platters of maki and nigiri, or join the bartenders, who pass their evenings pouring tastes of sake and shochu.


Reviews

Very good food, nice atmosphere, good wait staff. The freshest sushi available at all times.

Richard kimoto, Urbanspoon, 3/14/10

From the scallops beautifully cut and so sweet to the rolls that melted in your mouth. Outstanding. Highly recommended.

C.K., Yelp, 6/5/12

Tips

86% of 217 customers

  • “Very attentive staff, quite pleasant dining experience, wonderful food”

  • “Great attentive service ”

  • “Overall, a nice sushi restaurant with a good selection. ”

  1. A

    Near North Side

    358 W Ontario St.

    Chicago, Illinois 60654

    312-335-9888

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For those looking to get out of the house with the ladies