California Sunset, Ocean Drive, and Smoky Bear—though these may sound like sights on a West Coast summer road trip, they're actually specialty-roll combinations at Sushi-Ai. The contemporary Japanese restaurant whips up a wide spread of maki such as fresh eel, tuna, blue crab, and salmon, as well as unique specialty rolls bequeathed with names including the Scary Spider and the White Sox, which is dotted with black tobiko. The entrées, though more traditionally monikered, are no less delicious and come in the form of filet mignon, seared tuna, Atlantic salmon, sea bass, and lobster.
The low lights and intimate environs of Sushi-Ai's dining room summon a romantic ambience suitable for date nights, and meals find mates of their own with selections from a large list of wines and Japanese sakes.
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.