Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill

Location: 1715 W Chicago Ave.
Cost: About $30 per person normally

The other week I got an invite to check out this sushi restaurant, Yuzu, a bit out West on Chicago Avenue. My rotation schedule had been pretty busy for some time, and I was lucky they still remembered the invite by the time I was finally able to stop in. The meal promised to be pretty large, so I brought along my buddy Josh, who has been known to put down a ton of sushi in his day.

Yuzu is on a pretty empty spot of the street out in the Ukranian Village, but it carries enough bustle and excitement on its own. We had a reservation (which was necessary on a Friday night) and walked right past the crowd on the patio and into the cozy sushi bar. The background music was all pretty solid 90's hip hop. The service was friendly and efficient (probably too efficient).

The meal was comped based on the invite, but the prices in general are very reasonable for sushi. Most simple rolls are around $5 while the large specialty ones are closer to $10. The robata options are all in the $2 price range. They brought out enough food to our table for a party of 6 at least, and the bill would have probably come out to $25-$30 per person, which I think is pretty reasonable for sushi.

The Food
The meal started off with the Tuna Poke. The dish had this crown of avocado and a chili pepper sauce that really complemented the tuna well. From there, they brought out the Avocado Mango Salad and the Grilled Whole Squid. The salad was huge and had this ponzu dressing that balanced fantastically with the mango. The squid had hints of ginger and jalapeno that set the dish apart from prior grilled quid dishes I've had.

Next came an onslaught of what seemed like the entire robata menu. The chicken satay and the beef short rib were my favorites.

After that came a collection of rolls that we couldn't even imagine finishing (for stomach capacity purposes, not because of the taste). This included the Chicago Spring, Black Sea, Fire, Sin Nombre, Pot River, South Beach, Monster Spider, and Sorry I am Drunk. If you'll recall, I have often criticized restaurants for muddling fish into these collections that make no sense and are doused in sauce. I though uniformly, the flavors melded well together and that most of the sauces were reasonably portioned on the side. The Pot River (tuna, salmon, cilantro, jalapeno, and a lot of other things) and the Chicago Spring (shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, and other stuff) were my stand out favorites. I usually hate rolls with cream cheese, but this one must have hit me at just the right time.

For dessert (not like we could eat anything else at this point), they brought out a small portion of the Strawberry and the Chocolate Mochi. The exterior dough was soft and the ice cream inside was rich and creamy.

When I rolled down the empty stretch of Chicago Avenue I didn't have the highest expectations, but Yuzu packed in a lively crowd with some solid sushi and robata options. Since the meal was comped, there will not be a Pearl rating, but I thought the meal was excellent. For sushi it was very reasonably priced as well. Hit it up sooner rather than later.

Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill on Urbanspoon


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