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The Scoop on Sushi

Making the Mark with Maki


For those who seek more than the traditional fish, soy and wasabi, sushi restaurants are continuing to cater to the specialty roll niche. Here's where to find some of Chicago's most creative and delicious specialty rolls.

1156 W. Belmont Ave., 773-525-5541
Roll to try: Volcano Roll--shrimp tempura with snow crab meat and spicy sauce, rolled with tempura crumbs and volcano sauce
Ambiance: simple, casual atmosphere with a very friendly staff

Cafe Furaibo
2907 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-472-7017
Roll to try: Fire Drop--deep fried tuna, mayonnaise, fish eggs, avocado, cream cheese and spicy sauce, rolled in red tobiko
Ambiance: relaxed with wonderful service

Coast Sushi Bar
2045 N. Damen Ave., 773-235-5775
Roll to try: Po Boy Maki--white fish tempura, unagi, cream cheese, masago, spicy sauce, scallion, avocado, tempura crumbs and eel sauce
Ambiance: hip, dark atmosphere with lively music

3057 Dundee Rd., Northbrook, 847-714-1319
Roll to try: Double Spicy--cooked eel and crab meat topped with shrimp and two different spicy sauces
Ambiance: with only eight tables, this tiny spot gets very busy, but it's worth waiting

Green Tea
2206 N. Clark St., 773-883-8812
Roll to try: Jackie Roll--shrimp tempura with avocado and tobiko, wrapped in cooked shrimp and topped with a special spicy sesame sauce
Ambiance: unassuming but tranquil atmosphere with fish prints on the wall

Heat Restaurant
1507 N. Sedgwick, 312-397-9818
$25 and up
Roll to try: Soft Shell Crab Maki--soft shell crab, scallion, Japanese mayo and dry bonito
Ambiance: elegant dining room with subtle lighting and centerpieces of black goldfish in elevated, clear bowls

Itto Sushi
2616 N. Halsted St., 773-871-1800
Roll to try: Vegetable Roll--shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, cucumber and avocado, wrapped in soybean sheet instead of seaweed
Ambiance: major sporting events are broadcast on two large TVs in this casual restaurant

Izumi Sushi
731 W. Randolph St., 312-207-5299
Roll to try: Hawaiian Roll--unagi, avocado and macadamia nuts, covered with mango slices and unagi sauce
Ambiance: conversation friendly lounge atmosphere

600 W. Chicago Ave., 312-822-9600
Roll to try: Spicy Mono--spicy octopus roll topped with spicy tuna tartare and sweet unagi sauce
Ambiance: swanky industrial space with two dining rooms, a sushi bar, a downstairs lounge and patio

240 E. Ontario St., 312-587-0600
1400 N. Wells St., 312-664-3663
320 N. Dearborn St., 877-866-9216
1320 Shermer Rd., Northbrook, 847-562-0064
275 Parkway Dr., Lincolnshire, 847-541-8800
Roll to try: Sunset Roll--crab, avocado and cucumber, wrapped in fresh salmon and topped with salmon roe and sweet miso sauce
Ambiance: each location has its own distinctive character and atmosphere, all sleek but inviting

2032 W. Roscoe St., 773-327-4860
Roll to try: Unagi Cheese--unagi, cheese, cucumber, avocado and shrimp tempura, rolled with tobiko
Ambiance: intimate 40-seat restaurant

Kizoku Sushi & Lounge
358 W. Ontario St., 312-335-9888
Roll to try: Las Vegas Roll--salmon, crab, cream cheese, avocado, masago and scallions
Ambiance: restaurant features a waterfall, a tropical fish tank, a 25-seat sushi bar and a sake lounge

623 W. Randolph St., 312-887-9999
Roll to try: Ichigo Maki Roll--spicy unagi, masago, jalapeno, tempura and avocado, topped with togarashi, spicy tuna and strawberries
Ambiance: sit at the beautiful semi-circular centerpiece sushi bar

2020 W. Division St., 773-862-8500
Roll to try: Special Zuke--panko breaded shrimp topped with soy marinated salmon and a wasabi cream sauce
Ambiance: trendy with a comfortable and hip upstairs lounge with 30 varieties of sake

50 E. Grand Ave., 312-670-6750
888 S. Michigan Ave., 312-922-1127 $8-$15 Roll to try: Fire Cracker Maki--shrimp, unagi, cucumber, avocado, cream cheese, spicy tobiko and jalapeno, rolled and deep fried Ambiance: relaxed and contemporary Michigan Avenue location designed by Chicago architect Douglas Garofalo

Ra Sushi
1139 N. State St., 312-274-0011
Roll to try: Crazy Monkey Roll--smoked salmon, mango and cream cheese, topped with avocado, red tempura bits, cashews and drizzled with a mango sauce
Ambiance: simple modern dining room with nice outdoor seating

Sai Cafe
2010 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-472-8080
Roll to try: Halloween Maki--fresh salmon wrapped with green bean tempura and wasabi, topped with black fish eggs
Ambiance: cozy, casual and intimate atmosphere

5547 N. Clark St., 773-878-6886
Roll to try: Andersonville Roll--shrimp, crab, cream cheese, cucumber and masago
Ambiance: sit at the sushi bar where Sushi Mike will roll custom sushi for patrons

Triad Sushi Lounge
1933 S. Indiana Ave., 312-225-8833
Roll to try: Sahara Maki--tuna, yellowtail, jalapeno pepper, avocado, masago, cilantro, spicy sesame oil and lime
Ambiance: lively atmosphere with a lounge that features karaoke after 11 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday

Tsuki Japanese Restaurant and Lounge
1441 W. Fullerton Ave., 773-883-8722
Roll to try: Spicy Pinenut Tuna Roll
Ambiance: hip, industrial-chic interior with an enticing lounge

Usagi Ya
1178 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Roll to try: Godzilla Roll--shrimp tempura, unagi, cucumber, avocado and tempura crunch, topped with red, black, green, orange and yellow tobiko
Ambiance: cozy and comfortable with two platform-style, pillow-stuffed tea rooms o

Published: August 01, 2005
Issue: Fall 2005