photo credit: Sushi | Bar
Sushi | Bar Chicago
There are Sushi Bar locations popping up across the country (Austin and Miami already have some). They all follow the same format: a speakeasy-style omakase with “new wave” nigiri, involving foams, dehydrated herbs, and multiple blowtorch appearances. The 12-seat Sushi Bar Chicago hidden in the back room of Lady May is no different. The $165, 17-course experience starts with a welcome cocktail, and then you’re led to a dark room the size of your first studio apartment. Seat assignments are marked by a name card, in part to help keep track of allergies and any upgrades you opt for—think truffle shavings and caviar. You know, in case a piece of wagyu with brown butter miso foam and dehydrated dill isn’t dressed up enough.
The pieces are undeniably inventive—you may get spot prawn with strawberry gochujang or akami with red miso and everything bagel spice. But some bites have more than three or four competing toppings, and the flavors can start to feel muddled. That’s especially true when multiple courses are finished with lemon juice, so everything starts to taste vaguely citrusy. But Sushi Bar is still a good option for a special occasion dinner. Courses move along at a good pace, and the atmosphere is fun enough that you won’t feel self-conscious if you get a little buzzed from the beverage pairings.