My boyfriend's teenage daughter is coming to visit and I need to take her to a truely Japanese experience. She is studying Japanese and would be thrilled to get a taste of the culture. I would love excellent food and a dreat atmosphere.
Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Sushi Station in Rolling Meadows in an awesome experience. It is a casual atmosphere, great for lunch. The sushi and small plates come around in a conveyer belt so you pick and choose what you want. The selection is amazing and it's all really fresh. Every color plate is a different price so they just add up your stack of plates at the end. Best of all, it's authentic. I had been to a few of these restaurants in Tokyo..........very cool. http://www.sushistation.us/
The Japanese Market in Arlington Heights is a ton of fun. I've never been to Japan, so I don't know how truly "authentic" the food court is, but I know it's delicious and a really great way to spend a hot afternoon. Or any afternoon! Here's the Web site: http://www.mitsuwachicago.net/
I lived in Tokyo for a couple years and find Mistwa just like falling into a little corner of Japan. Not a "traditional" Japanese setting, and nothing fancy, but just like a little suburban Tokyo department store. FYI, its not just a food court, but a grocery store/book store/mini department store/liquor store/travel agency/etc.
Downtown Chicago on Ohio St. there is a little sushi restaurant in the Ginza Hotel which I also find 'authentic' if not particulary fancy. Its kind of like the little corner shushi restaurant you would find on a side street by a train station on the outskirts of Tokyo. I've had better sushi in Chicago, but this one is the only one that actually makes me think of Japan. It looks real seedy from the outside, but its nice inside and the food is good and cheap. Tokyo Ginza Fish House - 19 E. Ohio.
That said, Mitswa would probably be more fun since there is more to see - all sorts of odd foods in the grocery store, odd Japanese household items, etc. They also often have big full color advertising papers written in Japanese that she could take home.