Monday, December 16, 2013

Sumi Robata Bar

Location: 702 N Wells
Cost: About $40 per person

A while back, Josh and I went over to Yuzu to try out their sushi and robata options. If you'll recall, I thought it was delicious, but they brought us way too much food. Josh has always been a bottomless pit when it comes to sushi, but even he couldn't put down that whole meal. Accordingly, we took about a three month break from Japanese food. When we got together for dinner the other week though, we decided it was time to pick up our favorite genre again by checking out Sumi Robata Bar.

Sumi Robata Bar is a small place on the Western edge of River North. They restaurant has a simple, trendy look with a sushi bar along the right wall and plenty of hard wood decor. I think they had a patio that looked pretty cool, but we were so cold walking there that we didn't take time to admire the outside much. We had a reservation, which we might have been able to get by without. The cost is reasonable for the part of town and style of food with most robata items falling in the $3-$7 range.

The Food
As I eluded to earlier, it was freezing out when we went. So, we started things off with some hot appetizers. We tried the Pan Fried Gyoza, the Yakitori Don (rice bowl with chicken and poached egg), and the Ochazuke (sea bream over rice in tea broth). The gyoza had a nice crisp that was only applied to one side making for a nice textural contrast to the rest of the chewy wrapping. The Yakitori Don was probably my favorite dish of the night between the juiciness of the chicken and the perfectly prepared egg. I'm not sure my palate was used to the tea broth in the Ochazuke, but it was warm so I wolfed it down anyways.

 The Gyoza

The Ochazuke

The Yakitori Don

From there we got a variety of items from the robata grill including the Shishito Peppers, the Mushrooms, the Octopus, the Lamb Chop, the Skirt Steak, the Chicken Thigh, and the Beef Tsukune Slider. The peppers had a nice grill that mellowed out their natural spiciness. The mushrooms were a little gooey considering they were right off the grill. The octopus was just the right chewiness. The skirt steak came out perfectly with an even exterior char and pink center. The chicken thigh was one of my favorites to this course, but that's probably secondary to my baseline fondness of chicken thighs. The slider was interesting in that the bun was too soft and the meat was a bit dry. The lamb chop was well prepared as well, and I didn't leave a scrap of meat on that bone (my dad would've been proud).

For dessert we got the Donatsu (doughnuts with green tea mousse). I felt the same way about the mousse that I feel about green tea ice cream where it seems like they should've just gone with vanilla, but again, I don't think that's a fair judgement to pass and the texture was smooth. The doughnut had this warm chocolate filling that hit the spot, but the cake was a bit too dry.

Sumi Robata Bar was warm and cozy on a night we needed it to be. I'd say that I really liked half of the dishes and was rather indifferent to the rest. My favorites were the Yakitori Don, the Chicken Thigh, and the Skirt Steak. I'm giving them 3 out of 5 Pearls.

Sumi Robata Bar on Urbanspoon


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