Friday, January 18, 2013

Sushi Kushi San3

Location: 281 West Townline Road, Vernon Hills
Cost: About $35 per person

I don't know if you remember the first time you were introduced to the idea of sushi, but I sure do. It was in an episode of my favorite childhood TV show, Doug (see S01E08). You see, Doug had this goofy, yet hip, grandma who was visiting town. More or less, in the process of Doug learning that his grandma was cool, he also learns to eat sushi with her. Oddly enough, we always had to beg my grandma to come have sushi with us when I was a kid (and she would always get the cooked junk anyways).

So I've been to a whole bunch of north suburban sushi places. There are all these gigantic specialty rolls an excessive yet decorative amount of spicy mayo. The other day I saw this documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which focuses on this sushi master who has devoted his life to the art of proper sushi preparation (in turn he's also "ruined" his sons lives, but that's just my interpretation), and all I could think about the whole time is how dissapointed he'd be in what we eat. The point I want to make is that this type of sushi has run amok in the north suburbs of Chicago. There is a place for spicy sauce and interesting preparation, but some places overdo it. The most recent perpetrator was Sushi Kushi San3.

Sushi Kushi San3 is part of a group of restaurants, this one just so happening to be pretty close to the house I grew up in. They've got a decent sized dining room with a lengthy sushi bar. The room is well lit, and there are plenty of pictures of the different rolls so that you can get a good idea of what you're ordering. In fact, many people would get up from their seats to go to a wall in the middle where they post a list of the daily specials (it was kind of weird). The crowd was eclectic. We had a nice group of bikers roll in as we were walking out. It was neat to see a doo-rag at the sushi bar.

As far as service went, it was a team effort that dropped the ball. We had one waitress that was overworked, and one teenage boy who seemed like his parents were forcing him to work there against his will. The soup came out after all of the sushi, and we had a bunch of other peoples' food end up on our table only to have us send it back. The cost was what you'd expect with most specialty rolls running into the mid teens and the basic stuff floating just under $10.

The Food
The best part of the meal by far was the Brittled Tuna appetizer. It was basically a plate full of tuna, pickled cucumber, avocado, and tempura flakes. For $10 it was a really hefty portion of tuna. I would probably go back and just order two of those next time.

The Brittled Tuna

Next came our sushi rolls. Honestly, I usually go back to the website when I'm writing my posts to help myself figure out exactly what we ordered, but the menu online doesn't list the sushi rolls. It doesn't really matter because they were relatively incomprehensible. I think it was the turtle roll and the dragon something or other. That's not to say that there wasn't a nice combination of flavors between the fish and the sweet and spicy sauces. Still, one of the plates was basically drizzled in enough sauce to make it into a soup with makimono dumplings. One pointer is to get the rolls made with black rice. The textural addition is a nice change of pace.

 Note: In case this isn't clear, the whole center of the plate is sauce, and the rolls are on the perimeter.

Lastly came our Tempura Udon Soup and Shrimp Fried Rice. The broth was standard, and the noodles had a pleasant, chewy texture. The tempura showing was the poorest I've ever seen (1 small shrimp, 2 sweet potatoes slices, and 3 green beans). By the time we got to the fried rice, the earth of my tongue had been salted. My parents seemed to like it a lot, but I couldn't really tell.

The Udon Soup

 The Tempura (how plentiful)!

 The Shrimp Fried Rice

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, or maybe places like Macku and Roka Akor have ruined other sushi for me. Sticking to my ways of comparing it to other places in the same class, I'd say that Sushi Kushi San3 is a little better than Sushi Thai (right down the road), but not enough for a bump in rating. I'm giving it 2.5 out of 5 Pearls.

Sushi Kushi San3 on Urbanspoon


  1. Sushi Kushi is probably the best Sushi restaurant I have been to and I have been to several. Not sure I wwill trust Jeff's reviews after this.