Ai Sushi

Chicago

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In a Nutshell

The chef integrates surprising ingredients into sushi and Japanese cuisine, earning praise from Food & Wine magazine and Zagat

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Feb 6, 2013. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per person, may buy 2 additional as gifts. Limit 1 per table. Phone reservation required. Dine-in only. Not valid for specials. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Fish is said to be an aphrodisiac, much like a bottle of red wine or a powerful brain visibly pulsing beneath its skull. Start the evening off right with this Groupon.

$20 for $40 Worth of Sushi and Japanese Cuisine

The menu includes wasabi-rubbed filet mignon ($21.50), signature spicy-tuna rolls with walnuts and rosemary ($14.50), and organic cha-soba noodles with vegetables ($9.50).

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.

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.

Customer Reviews

This is a beautiful place. The service is prompt, courteous and super friendly. The server was extremely knowledgable about the menu and offered suggestions when asked and the cocktails were awesome. I will definitely go again.
Adina L. · March 7, 2013
Great attentive service
Amanda H. · February 27, 2013
Your food and service is great - Thank you!
Nia A. · February 25, 2013

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