Upon a marbled wall, a Japanese triptych mural tells the story of a gargantuan fish licked by cerulean waves and a tiny boat tossed about in its wake. Even though this vibrant piece reflects a chaotic scene, the sushi bar where the owner and head chef crafts creative rolls and maki is anything but—he’s a seasoned artist with more than 15 years' experience slicing, dicing, and coiling. He carefully furls Alaskan king crab, shrimp tempura, and sweet chili sauce and creates tantalizing nigiri and sashimi with freshly carved squid and freshwater eel. Bartenders, meanwhile, pour wines and sakes to complement the chef's mouthwatering Japanese cuisine.
Sunlight pours through ground-to-ceiling windows, streaming across hardwood floors and dark wooden tables that friendly servers speckle with dishes of aromatic steak teriyaki and tempura udon soup. Diners can enjoy these exotic feasts amid the contemporary yet casual dining room’s traditional folding screens and bamboo accents or, when the extraterrestrial overlords who control the weather permit it, outside on the patio.
Skillful displays of hibachi cookery, and tender, juicy steaks of filet mignon and swordfish bring added vibrancy to the bright space at Kegon. Electric blues and purples abound throughout the wide-open dining space, and chefs show off their well-honed skills in knife work, vegetable chopping, and fire safety at the hibachi-grill tables. Sushi chefs expertly roll rice around spicy tuna, tempura shrimp, and crabmeat, and plump potstickers and salty edamame kick off meals with notes of umami flavor.
In the hungry face of hunger, it is widely agreed that sushi is an acceptable cure for growling digestive tracts. With today's Groupon, you can satisfy the most demanding of cravings for sliced, rod-shaped foods at Kamehachi. Twenty dollars gets you $50 worth of sushi, sake, noodles, and more.
Zipangu Hiro's chefs, specially trained in Japan, juggle meats and vegetables for patrons, searing it themselves or allowing guests to cook their own cuisine at one of Zipangu Hiro's five traditional yakiniku grill-top tables. The multifaceted menu contains such crowd pleasers as veggie and seafood tempura encased in crispy batter and golden-fried. Yakiniku—the Japanese tradition of cooking your own thinly sliced meats and vegetables on a smoke-free tabletop range—puts the piquant power in diners' hands with a variety of exotic edibles, including duck ($10), pork belly ($8), shiitake mushrooms ($4), and various dipping sauces. For fire-free dining, a huge list of sushi creations rolls over hunger, including such favorites as spicy tuna ($5) and california rolls ($5), and original specialties including lobster tempura ($15) and the house's special-sauce-laced Kamikaze ($11.95).
Tatami Restaurant's chefs whorl fresh fish, colorful veggies, and chewy rice into more than 60 types of sushi for in-house dining adventures and elegant catered meals. Diners graze on a bounty of traditional and fusion-inspired sushi combinations, many of which bear names evoking the city on the lake and its flavorful denizens, including the signature Kansaku roll, which shares its name with Tatami Restaurant's sister restaurant and salutes the eatery with shrimp tempura, freshwater eel, and a ribbon of cream cheese. The 10-piece Lake Shore Drive roll employs outrageous flavor tactics to upstage Chicago’s beach vistas, pulling out all the stops with a combination of yellowtail, cilantro, and spicy mayo. Diners craving a hot, hearty meal can savor traditional Japanese entrees such as chicken yaki soba or tofu katsu with sweet chili.
The chefs at Nobori Sushi create authentic Japanese food for lunch and dinner and build party trays packed with rolls and sushi. Their lengthy menu includes appetizers such as sea urchin shots topped with quail egg and ponzu sauce, along with noodle dishes, tempuras, and teriyakis. As the name of this casual restaurant would suggest, the star of the show is the sushi. Dragon rolls share the plate with rainbow, dynamite, and caterpillar rolls. Soybean paper hugs a select subset of rolls, appeasing the taste buds of those who dislike seaweed or are addicted to legumes.