Windy City Bites: Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill
Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill
1751 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622
Confession: My name is Catherine Courtney and I eat for the insta. Let's be honest, everyone does it whether they admit it or not. It's an epidemic. While I was scrolling through my feed one afternoon, I came across Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill. Immediately, I stopped in my tracks. Never before had I seen a sushi roll that was such a work of art. Quickly saving the image on my Insta collection, I knew I had to make an effort to check this out when I was in Chicago, and I am SO glad that I did.
Plotting out my trip, I noticed that the restaurant was BYOB, something that is more prevalent in Chicago than in Nashville. I was beaming. It's the little things, right? I grabbed a few bottles of 3 Floyds beer, yet another thing that is hard to come by at home and made my way over for lunch. Located in Ukrainian Village, Yuzu is easily accessible by bus or train and if you aren't the most timely, you can always grab an Uber.
Lunch is served from 11:30-3:00 pm each day. Time clearly got away from me as it often does when I visit Chicago, so I grabbed and Uber and high-tailed it over. Perfect timing, as my friend was just getting out of her taxi when I walked up. Catching my breath, we were warmly greeted by the Yuzu staff. I explained to the host that I really wanted a table close to the window with good lighting as I was going to be photographing what I ordered. He smiled, clearly, this wasn't the first time for this request, and placed us at a large table with perfect lighting. THANK YOU!!
Thank goodness my girlfriend was a frequent visitor and coached us through the menu. She knew exactly what I wanted to do and pointed me in the right direction. We ordered a variety of rolls and popped open the libations.
Arriving first was Over the Rainbow. This was the roll that I saw on Instagram that caught my attention, thus the visit. Comprised of tuna, salmon, super white tuna, avocado, unagi spicy mayo, wasabi and sweet soy, this roll was almost too gorgeous to eat. I'm sure you all are thinking " Are those sauces even edible? How do they taste?" Rest assured, those sauces are killer. Don't be fooled by the Crayola-like colors, there is nothing more fun that dragging your sushi roll through the sauce. Even though I am not a super huge fan of salmon, I easily worked my way around it.
Trying to contain my excitement and still reveling is the sushi goodness, the Chicago Spring roll made its way to our table. My jaw dropped. I was blown away. The sushi chef, who's as much of an artist as he is a chef, did a remarkable job creating a picturesque scene of Chicago. Not only was this roll beautiful, but it tasted delicious and combined all of my favorite things. Using shrimp tempura, avocado, cream cheese, red tobiko, Masago, chili sauce, wasabi mayo, scallion, tempura crumbs and sweet soy sauce, the roll was durable enough to drag through the myriad of sauces without falling apart.
On the heels of our scenic Chicago roll, the chef brought over his final masterpiece, the Dragon Ball roll. A combination of shrimp tempura, unagi, avocado, cucumber, tempura crumbs, spicy mayo and sweet soy sauce provided the perfect amount of texture, flavor and spice.
After eating our way through these masterpieces, we decided to order one traditional roll to round out our meal. Taking the meal in a different direction, we ordered My Favorite Midwest Roll which was lightly battered in tempura with bites of ahi tuna, avocado, cream cheese, scallions, Masago, and spicy mayo. I didn't look at Yelp prior to our visit, but if I would have, I would have known that aside from the jumbo rolls, this is one of the more popular items on the menu.
By this time, lunch service had concluded and we were hanging out finishing our wine and beer catching up as girlfriends do. The staff was so incredibly kind and never rushed us once. In fact, our server knew we were having a wonderful time and even asked if we wanted mochi, which is a total must. While the flavors are always rotating, my favorite was the chocolate coconut, again two of my favorite flavors in one bite!
Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill has a playful approach towards Japanese cuisines while respecting age old tradition. Combining a contemporary (hipster-chic) atmosphere with their passion for both art and creativity, you feel as if you have gone to your neighbors' or best friend's house for dinner.
Plan on joining them for dinner? Make sure you secure reservations. Click here and you can get the details. A big thank you to Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill for hosting us. Looking forward to my next visit when I am in Chicago!
Until next time!