While it originated in 8th-century Asia as a means of preserving fish with fermented rice, sushi has since emerged as both a working-class street food and a gourmet cuisine. Chicago may be half a world away from Tokyo, but here you’ll find Michelin-recommended restaurants serving decadent signature rolls and trendy sake lounges. But the city also rewards those willing to try a simple laid-back sushi bar or a small BYOB hot spot.Read More
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Lee Guidry knows good food. He has been immersed in the the restaurant world since the age of 13, when he got his hands wet washing dishes. After years of working his way up the food chain and getting professionally schooled in the fine art of cooking, Lee now artfully blends the best elements of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine as the executive chef at SushiSamba. When not busy searing lobsters and lamb chops on the Japanese robata charcoal grill, he puts his chef’s hat away and lets other Chicago chefs do the cooking for him. But even outside the kitchen, he doesn't stray from his passion for international flavor. Here are Chef Lee's top Chicago restaurants for international eats. Cumin | 1414 N. Milwaukee Ave. Puffs of basmati rice cooked with Indian biryani spices, chicken sautéed in a spicy curry sauce, and cauliflower florets flavored with Nepalese spices pepper the Wicker Park eatery’s menu of Indian and Nepalese treats. While the dishes are great, Lee said, he also applauds Cumin’s top-notch service from an attentive and well-dressed staff. The chic decor also lends a pleasant sight with bold red walls, a floor-to-ceiling photographic mural of a Nepalese cityscape, and sleek black chairs tucked under linen-topped tables. Taco Joint | 1969 N. Halsted St. and 158 W. Ontario St. Liquor bottles shaped like skulls and tequila bottles aplenty line the colorful shelves at Taco Joint’s bar. But Lee bypasses the tables and heads straight for the bar for one reason only: the affable bartenders. Good conversation flows freely while he downs anything from crab-cake tacos to tortas pressed like a panini. “The food is solid—good every time you go,” he said. “I usually go with the specials, whatever they are running that day.” India House | 59 W. Grand Ave. and Three Suburban Locations If any place knows how to properly spice their dishes, it's India House, according to Chef Lee. “They do a good job and make it the way I like it,” he said. The chefs spice their way through 140 items on the menu, including lobster curry and tandoori lamb chops. And Chef Lee is so fond of the entire menu that he leaves the ordering completely in his girlfriend’s hands, confident that he will never be disappointed in her selections. Gaylord | 100 E. Walton St. and One Suburban Location From the housemade cheese and veggies cooked in a traditional charcoal clay oven to the spicy chicken vindaloo, Gaylord’s entire Indian menu has Lee’s stamp of approval. In fact, the dishes are all so good that he doesn’t have a favorite; instead, he tries to “mix it up” every visit. And the more than 100-item selection is so extensive that Lee doesn’t have to worry about repeating meals any time soon. Bub City | 435 N. Clark St. While not quite in the international cuisine category, this River North barbecue joint is so good that Chef Lee couldn’t leave it off the list of his top picks. Bub City boasts a giant American flag crafted from beer cans and more than 90 types of whiskey behind the bar. That, paired with the cocktails—such as the Horse’s Neck (With a Kick) with Wild Turkey bourbon, lemon, and ginger beer—earned kudos from him. He also loves the eclectic barbecue and seafood menu, featuring a pick 'n' lick–style shrimp boil, slow-smoked pork shoulder, and full slabs of baby back ribs.Read More
Nothing is better than healthy cuisine at a local Sushi spot in Chicago. One spot that has been on my radar for quite some time is Yuzu. Yuzu is a personable and cozy quaint restaurant to bring a bottle of wine and have good conversation over sushi, grilled bites, and numerous veggie options. Hands down a perfect spot for date for intimacy - hello, date night plans!Located in East Village, it is the ideal ending to a day filled with browsing funky boutiques and people watching. Yuzu also offers delivery and takeout, which is great for our regular polar vortex experiences. Its small dining room sets the scene for intimate dinners with close friends and significant others, and the BYOB policy is the cherry on a sundae.In many Asian recipes, soy sauce and other sauces are not gluten-free. If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, then you might have to figure out a game plan with the server to find something as a substitute to the ponzu sauce and soy sauce. Nonetheless, there is a bountiful amount of plant based vegetarian and vegan options that they have to offer and can prepare it to your specific needs!What we had: Seaweed SaladPacked with numerous vitamins and minerals, it's a great way to start your meal. Some might not enjoy the taste of seaweed, but it's worth a shot if you feel like being experimental. We love the salty flavor (and the health benefits)!From Yuzu's Robata Grill:The robata grill at Yuzu has a variety of veggies to choose from such as: asparagus, tofu, zucchini, cauliflower, shishito pepper, nasu (eggplant), and mushroom. Pictured above: Tofu with sweet chili and ground peanut, zucchini with peanut sauce, and eggplant with teriyaki sauce. All very delicious, and satisfying.Plant-Based Approved Menu Items:Besides what we noshed on, Yuzu has an abundant amount of healthy options for vegans and vegetarians. Here are our picks!Vegan Salads: + Cucumber salad with vinaigrette dressing. + Avocado mango salad with greens and ponzu sauce.Vegetarian appetizers: + Curry puff with caramelized onion, potato, curry, and cucumber relish. + Baked mushrooms with ponzu sauce. + Edemame and Miso soupVegetarian sushi rolls: + Asparagus rolls with asparagus, avocado, cucumber and wasabi mayo. + Shitakee mushroom + Green harbor roll: broccoli, sweet potato, asparagus, sunflower seeds, avocado, cucumber. + Sweet potato tempura roll.Veggie based lunch specials: + Bento box: Tofu, Zucchini, and sweet potato robata with miso soup and a green salad. + Veggie roll special: Asparagus and mushroom rolls with two pieces of inari.Besides all their veggie options, their sushi is DELICIOUS and if you are pescatarian then you MUST try Yuzu's maki rolls! We had the very spicy tuna roll (featured photo) - such a treat!Read More
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Many people described the Maki as Favorite.