Not every chef can make the claim that their food is fit for royalty, but that's where Chef Sakuma stands out. He catered for Princess Norinomiya during her 1992 visit to the United States, and with her stamp of approval, visitors to Sakuma Japanese Restaurant can rest assured they're in good hands. There, Sakuma brings the same level of dedication when creating traditional Japanese cuisine for diners, regardless of royal status or how many games of Pretty Pretty Princess they've won. Elegant dragon maki rolls and lobster salad mingle on the menu alongside tempura-fried shrimp and vegetables, and seared tenderloin glazed with Sakuma's signature sauce.
But Chef Sakuma goes the extra mile to make sure guests feel welcome, too. The restaurant offers a Gourmet Evening, where diners can enjoy a prix fixe menu, free-flowing sake and cocktails, and the chance to mingle with a diverse group of people. At sushi-making classes, they can even learn to make some of Sakuma's signature rolls.
Orchid’s 7,000 square feet of sleek feasting space invites diners to sample a smorgasbord of contemporary pan-Asian cuisine featuring fresh sushi, hearty Korean barbecue, sweet Thai curries, and more. Entrees such as the braised Korean short ribs ($22) and the Thai green curry with shrimp ($16) detonate saucy taste explosions along thin red lip lines. Chlorophyll-friendly options include the vegetarian dinner plate ($15), a meatless medley of tofu steak, seaweed salad, kabocha mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables glazed in a miso-teriyaki sauce. For professional chopstick twirlers, Orchid offers an expansive selection of specialty sushi, including Crunch Melt, with shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and melted mozzarella, drizzled with unagi sauce ($14), and Salmon Obsession, a savory mix of fried and fresh salmon ($16) named in honor of Calvin Klein's best-selling portable grill.
Ginger-sauteed squid. Deep-fried pork. Creamy avocado and salmon. Dishes at Sushi Bar deliver fresh flavors, inventive pairings, and plenty of options. From maki to noodles to plated teriyaki combos, the menu greets hungry guests with diversity and Japanese favorites.
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.
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.
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.