Inari Sushi is the place to be. Japanese cuisine that is part of a healthy and light diet. Carefully prepared fresh fish and seafood are full of nutrients and the elegant way the food is served gives you a good reason to meet with a date, with friends, or for a business meeting.
At Hokkaido Sushi Hibachi Steak House and Lounge—named after Japan's second-largest and northernmost main island, Hokkaido—highly trained chefs entertain both family gatherings and intimate dates at the hibachi table and prepare fresh sushi with salmon, tuna, squid, scallop, sea bass, and other cuts of seafood. The in-ground fish tank that circles the entire bar illuminates platefuls of teppanyaki filet mignon and crispy shrimp tempura. Nearby in the LED-laden Vegas-inspired eatery, a team of sushi chefs rolls slices of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and asparagus inside a sheet of seaweed in the signature Crazy maki roll. Additional maki ingredients include unagi, cream cheese, jalapenos, and tempura soft shell crab.
Zoku's sushi chefs roll more than 25 types of maki and rustle up warm bowls of pan-Asian cuisine. Crisp and flavorful components are found in all dishes, including Chinese appetizers, Thai noodles, and Japanese sashimi. Chefs serve up artful plates dripping with sauce, bursting with color, and hoping to be discovered and offered a food-modeling contract.
Chefs at Friendship Chinese Restaurant forge their pan-Chinese and Japanese dishes with an intense pride and dedication to the tradition of well-crafted cuisine. New menu additions include ginger-bacon crusted fresh cod, seafood havarti maki, and grilled mongolian beef with asparagus and rosemary oil. The eatery’s authentic tastes and modern twists are available for delivery as well as dine-in eating amid the dining room’s dark hardwood decor and rows of Buddha-head statues.
Executive chef Abdon Calderon adds an international spin to Japanese fare, invading traditional maki with ingredients such as plantains, coconut, and chocolate. Lunch and dinner crowds sample Japanese tempura, bento boxes, and sashimi, arriving with their own adult beverages in tow. The 4,000-square-foot space hosts guests in a main loft-style dining room among the vivid red walls of a lounge furnished with white booths, or on a small patio by the flickering glow of tiki torches, sure to soften facial features or snarling werewolf-face masks.
“Gosu” is a Korean word implying exceptional skill, and in this case, it refers to the mastery of Korean and Japanese food preparation by the restaurant’s chef and owner, Bang. As diners luxuriate in velvet booths and banquettes, Bang’s cadre of skilled chefs whips up appetizers of boiled soybeans, soft-shell crab, and vegetables or shrimp swathed in savory tempura. The dining room, with its tiered, wooden ceiling and paper lanterns, inspires mellow conversation, and decorative mirrors steam up from menu entrees of Korean-style steamed pork and beef in bold citrus and curry sauces. Gosu invites diners to unwrap artfully packed sushi before warming spoons in a cinnamon tea or Japanese cider, which offer spicy relaxation without the sneezing repercussions of bathing in black pepper.
When Miae Lim opened Mirai Sushi, she sought to create a lounge setting just as fashionable as the haute sushi dishes that would be served there, resulting in an ambiance which Frommer’s labels "decidedly youthful" and "funky-chic." It’s within this hip atmosphere that diners sup on the shareable plates and seasonal fish of a menu pioneered by master chef Jun Ichikawa. Like a working cold-fusion machine at an eighth-grade science fair, the menu’s shrimp-and-ginger dumplings and panko-breaded shrimp rolls attract praise; these and other dishes have earned the eatery inclusion on Gayot’s 2012 list of Top 10 Japanese Restaurants in Chicago. In the downstairs dining room, wooden tables and chairs gather around an L-shaped sushi bar. Upstairs, ambient light glows above low lounge seating, where diners sip imported Japanese beers or specialty cocktails made with sake and fresh fruit juices. Celebrities sometimes stop by, blending in with the hip crowd and dodging autograph requests from activists who think that famous people’s signatures count for double on petitions.