From fat-marbled otoro to delicate live scallop, Chicago sushi chefs continue to up the game when it comes to sushi. While in the last year the city has bid sayonara to the venerable and much-lamented Katsu, in its place comes a swath of newbies, including Raisu and Katana, which look to enrich the ocean animal game.
From splurge-worth sushi counters to casual table engagements, here are Chicago’s 14 best places to wild out on raw fish. Listed from north to south.
4 Naoki Sushi
Hidden inside the former Intro Chicago at Stratford in the Park, is Lettuce Entertain You’s tribute to fresh fish. Led by Naoki Nakashima, Lettuce’s long-time sushi chef, the menu offers “Naoki-style sashimi”—such as madai with charred shimeji mushroom and plum—as well as classic pieces and maki rolls. The space only seats 50 at an illuminated sushi bar and closely spaced tables reminiscent of an intimate Tokyo restaurant.
Sushi-san’s motto is “hip hop and hand rolls,” which should give some indication of the casual vibe at LEYE’s ocean-oriented follow-up to Ramen-san. While chef Kaze Chan is serving a full slate of izakaya-inspired plates from tempura to grilled pork belly, Sushi-san’s sweet spot is its namesake, inclusive of both maki rolls and more traditional nigiri. An $88 omakase option changes seasonally based on fish availability, while a hand roll-dedicated bar enables patrons to craft bespoke temaki. Just recently, Sushi-san introduced a $35 Late Night Omakase served after 10 p.m., which is essentially a shorter four-course chef’s choice menu of sashimi, tempura, nigiri, and donburi. Fun fact: Sushi-san serves late, until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, otherwise until midnight Sunday through Thursday.