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Chicago sushi?

I go through phases of sushi addiction - am currently coming out of an off period and am wondering what all the great places are these days?

I used to love Heat sushi before their unfortunate downhill slide, and am thinking about trying out Kaze this weekend. Has anyone tried it out? And what other sushi places are your favorites? I know the old standbys like Sushi Wabi and Sai Cafe are out there, but I am looking for more sashimi/nigiri and less maki-focused fare ... (though a great maki or handroll is a beautiful thing, if you can find it - the spicy tuna handroll at Heat made me want to cry it was so good ...)

I would appreciate your thoughts!

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  1. I have always liked Kamehachi - I have never had a bad experience.

    1. I'm a big fan of Tank on Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square, but that's because their maki rolls are fantastic (and some are half price betw. 1-6p on Sat. and Sun.).

      Naniwa on North Wells has always improssed me with their nigiri. SO fresh.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sis2catbat

        Tank is now half-price on weekdays for lunch.

      2. Kaze is good, but definitely not for the sushi purist. The fish is of very high quality, but most of the nigiri comes with some kind of topping. I like it, but I have to be in the mood for it.

        The best combination of food and atmosphere is probably Mirai. Very high quality fish (pretty consistently) and a fun atmosphere. Ai is also a good choice in this category.

        If you want no frills, just good fish, you'll want to go to Katsu (which is a bit of a schlep, but is excellent).

        I've recently been going to Ponzu quite a bit. It's just a little neighborhood place, but they have a new sushi chef and are bringing in a lot of fish from Japan. Surprisingly good, especially for the neighborhood.

        Mirai
        2020 W Division St
        (773) 862-8500

        Ai
        358 W. Ontario
        (312) 335-9888

        Katsu
        2649 W Peterson Ave
        (773) 784-3383

        Ponzu
        2407 N Clark St
        (773) 549-8890

        5 Replies
        1. re: jesteinf

          Thanks for the tips! I have an issue with Mirai (the mean lady owner, not the sushi - it's great), but I've never tried the others. I'll have to try them out. In the meantime, I made a res at Kaze last night for this weekend, so I guess I'll check it out. Maybe it will be a good way to ease back into the sushi frame of mind ...

          1. re: jesteinf

            Good call on Katsu, I think. It was featured (for the umpteenth time) on Check, Please! this past weekend and everyone extolled the discretion of Katsu's discerning eye. The woman/employee/hostess(?) who did the introduction said, "If Katsu not here, we don't open." And Katsu himself said there are many Japanese items on the menu besides sushi.

            1. re: sis2catbat

              Hate to say that my two visits to Katsu were disappointing. Don't know if it was an off night but the fish wasn't the freshest and although he had some unusual offerings it wasn't worth the price. Tank may be a little more pedestrian, but I enjoy it more (hey, maybe I'm a little more pedestrian).

            2. re: jesteinf

              I've become a huge fan of Ai over the last several months. I think they've supplanted Mirai for the best sashimi in Chicago. Also, they have arguably the best wine and sake program of any Japanese restaurant in Chicago.

              1. re: Sam Harmon

                That's good to hear. I haven't been to Ai in at least a couple of months, but I've never been disappointed there.

            3. I really like Kitchenette on Ashland at Grace in Lakeview. Ok, the name is not great and they serve both Thai food and Sushi which may be a turn off to some people. I've found the family that owns the place to be very kind and willing to impress, the sushi is always fresh and relatively cheap, and best of all its NEVER crowded. This is the opposite of a Sushi Samba experience - just a small sushi joint turning out beautiful pieces for their loyal customers.

              1. Hi, just wanted to report back. Went to Kaze this weekend and really enjoyed it, although I have to admit that I wasn't that excited when I opened up the menu. I ended up just telling the server what I like, and he brought out some great nigiri and sashimi dishes. My friend got the omikase and was very happy with it, too. My fish was very fresh, and I have to admit that I love a little enoki (sp?) mushroom and truffle oil on salmon - who knew? Also, the waiter started us both out with sweet potato soup, which I never would have ordered, but it was fantastic - plenty of seafood and a little spice. The sake menu is a little limited, but I liked our choice. Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience and will go back again. But, not until I've tried out y'all's other suggestions - thanks!

                1. I adore Kamehachi (I see that's already been recommened). I also like Tsuki Sushi in Lincoln Park!