We did our homework, but the dog ate it. We were going to take out the trash, mom, but something super important came up. We meant to put on pants, but the day got away. There are a lot of “buts” in life. We like Arami, but, well, let us explain.
It’s easy to miss Arami off of Chicago Ave., but once inside you'll find a cool space. The main dining room is like an unfinished atrium with a partial glass ceiling and music bouncing off the brick walls. The food is pretty good too. Arami is best known for its sushi, from the simple nigiri and sashimi to the slightly more complex rolls - it's all solid. You can also go the small plates route that includes different appetizers, rice dishes, meats off the robata grill, and even ramen that does the trick. All in all, it's a cool place with satisfying food.
Unless you only get ramen, it’s pretty damn expensive for a solid meal --- and it's not a memorable one. The roughly $70 chef's choice nigiri and sashimi sounds great, but the chef chooses to give you a meager amount for that price. And that's also true for all of the a la carte sushi, which is both tiny and overpriced. At one point, you needed Arami in your rotation because it was one of the first places to drift away from the crazy rolls with 37 fried ingredients drenched in spicy mayo, but that's no longer the case. And at one point, Arami was all the talk because of its head sushi chef, but now he's somewhere else.
So, if you were to casually ask on any given night whether or not you should go to Arami, our conversational response would sound like this: “It’s a cool place, and like, it’s good and all, but the portions are tiny and you'll spend a lot on sushi that's fine but not special." And that's why we think there are better options if sushi is what you want. Just make sure you find the time to put on pants either way.
With pork belly, soft egg, grilled mushrooms, and house-made preserved veggies, this is a good bowl of ramen. But for us, Arami isn't really a ramen place. When we want ramen, that's the focus of our meal --- and this isn't a ramen destination. At Arami, ramen can add substance to your meal on the cheap, but if that's your goal you should probably be somewhere else.
The robata section of the menu is grilled meats from a charcoal grill. They're good (but small) bites that add some variety to the meal.
We can't get behind this for two reasons: One, it's small pieces of fish for big prices. And two, you'll usually only get the simple stuff like tuna, salmon, and maybe some yellowtail. That kind of limited variety doesn't cut it for us.
If you're going to do it big on the sushi, make sure to order the things you want. And make sure to order a couple extra items than what you would normally get.