It's another "free money"-style Groupon today, with a $25 gift card to Ai Sushi. With today's Groupon, you can fool yourself a bit longer into believing you can still afford nice food.
Ai Sushi Lounge is River North's newest sushi restaurant. Featuring signature maki from chef Toyoji Hemmi and unique creations from his kitchen, such as the wasabi fillet mignon, sea bass cartoccio and the Parmesan salmon teriyaki, Ai is picking up rave reviews.
Chicago Scene says:
[Ai] boasts... an impressive menu and sleek new setting. It's also the perfect place to share sushi with a special someone.
If you're looking for a place to relax with a cocktail after work, the lounge features premium sakes, an extensive wine list, and martinis galore.
Oh, and Adventurous eaters will be happy to know that fugu (blowfish) – a Japanese delicacy requiring surgical precision and special training to prepare because certain parts of it are poisonous – will make a seasonal appearance on the menu at Ai Sushi. The only Midwest restaurant liscensed to serve fugu, Ai is a member of the FDA-approved “Tora Fugu Buyer Association” and features a Japanese-licensed chef.
358 W Ontario
Chicago, IL 60610
Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge
When executive chef Toyoji Hemmi surveys the restaurant's daily deliveries of fresh seafood, he envisions how the fish can be used to create exciting, new sushi entrees instead of just the widely expected staples. Food & Wine magazine praised this dedication to inventive flavor combinations in 2005, labeling chef Hemmi an "innovator" and calling him one of its "favorite iconoclasts" in the United States.
He accentuates maki with seemingly disparate ingredients—including rosemary, walnuts, and cherry tomatoes—that add new dimensions to the rolls' familiar tastes, textures, and pronunciations. Established Japanese flavors remain at the forefront of other items though, such as the wasabi-rubbed filet mignon and the organic cha-soba noodles. This distinctive interplay between contemporary and traditional approaches helped to earn the menu a score of "very good to excellent" from Zagat.
The dining room's vaguely industrial setting also toes the line between contemporary and historic, featuring rustic brick walls and exposed wooden rafters as well as chic, low-slung chairs and modern track lighting. Diners can peek behind the stone-countered sushi bar and watch the chefs assemble platters of maki and nigiri, or join the bartenders, who pass their evenings pouring tastes of sake and shochu.
Near North Side
358 W Ontario St
Chicago, Illinois 60654Get Directions