Sleek decor and bold colors fill Sushi-Ai's dining room to complement the elegant plates of sushi rolls and Japanese-influenced entrees. A white banquette lines one wall and modern chairs snuggle up to black tables illuminated by candlelight. Against a red-tiled backdrop, sushi chefs slice up nigiri and arrange their signature maki rolls, which can be cloaked in black rice upon request. The Green Turtle roll comes topped with shrimp and wasabi tobiko to hide its core of freshwater eel and avocado, and the salmon Obsession is filled with cucumber and crabmeat that move in with lightly battered spicy salmon, gradually copying the salmon's personality quirks and mannerisms.
Nozumi’s culinary team of world travelers turns to seasonally available ingredients and their own global palates to create innovative Japanese cuisine. While seated at a high-top table beneath a hushed lighting fixture or nestled in a cushy booth, diners can choose shareable plates from five tapas-style menus or entrust their selections to the chef, who employs a fresh selection of seafood to furl signature sushi rolls such as Rinjin Dragon, packed with shrimp tempura, fresh-water eel, and veggies drizzled in spicy mayo. Non-sushi entrees include grilled tiger shrimp and seared day-boat scallops swimming in creamy basil sauce and fettuccine noodles, and a tuna sandwich anchored by seasoned yellow-fin steak and coleslaw. Guests can also set up shop at the sushi bar or reserve the private Tatami room, designed to accommodate 8–10 people or one very large secret.
At Sushiyaki, chefs roll up creative cuts of sushi, glaze meats with teriyaki, and whip up noodle entrees complemented by Japanese beers, wines, and teas. Red walls, eclectic decorations, and tunes from guest DJs fill the traditional dining area, and Japanese-style private rooms feature low tables and floor cushions. Bento boxes and sushi buffets let visitors plan their own taste-bud excursions, during which the smooth, black sushi bar becomes an airport check-in desk inexplicably staffed by fish-slicing chefs.
Naomi Sushi’s chefs assemble artful plates of sushi and sashimi, adorning dishes with neon flashes of roe and colorful sauces and filling bento boxes with fresh fish and tempura. Bamboo stalks sprout from large urns beneath low lights, surrounding booths beneath oversize canopies. Lime-green walls frame black-and-white paintings, and a bubbling fountain stands nearby, granting wishes to any passersby who throw in pairs of unused chopsticks.
Eclectic ingredients, including eel and mint leaf, fill more than 30 maki rolls and helped earn Wildfish a spot on Gayot's list of the 10 best Chicago sushi restaurants in 2012. One roll pairs spicy salmon, fried tuna, and pico de gallo, and another mixes spicy mayo and sweet soy sauce with Alaskan king crab and a splash of Bacardi 151. Filet mignon and lobster sizzle in the tropical-hued dining room with walls of red, green, and gold and bamboo that sways against the ceiling. Glasses of imported Japanese beer and sake clink together in high-backed booths that offer privacy during dates and meals out with a parrot that only knows how to say your medical records.