National Sushi Day:
As you most likely know because you etch it into your calendar every year, International Sushi Day is June 18. It's a day to celebrate all things maki, nigiri, sashimi, and raw. In honor of the impending holiday, here are a couple Sushi Day specials to partake in, along with some other sushi newness in Chicago.
(Sunda's sushi platter special)
National Sushi Day at Sunda: River North's preeminent pan-Asian restaurant has just added a bevy of new sushi rolls to its expansive menu, which makes for a nice way to celebrate Sushi Day. In addition to all the new creations, chef Jess DeGuzman is making a special for the holiday, a combination platter brimming with maguro (yellowfin tuna), shiro maguro (albacore tuna), sake (salmon), ebi (shrimp), saba (mackerel), tamago (egg omelette), unagi (freshwater eel), and negi hamachi maki (scallion, yellowtail roll). Basically you get to eat the ocean for the reasonable price of $25. Other new sushi rolls include the Summer Garden with tuna, escolar, soy paper, basil, mango, mizuna, avocado, cucumber, and ponzu sauce; the Baked Seafood Dynamite with kani, scallop, ebi, roe, avocado, scallions, cucumber, tempura crispies, and dynamite sauce; and the Sweet Potato Caterpillar with roasted sweet potato, Asian pear, avocado, black garlic teriyaki, and roasted red pepper puree.
National Sushi Day at Roka Akor: In honor of International Sushi Day, everyone's favorite surf & turf-friendly restaurant, Roka Akor, is offering up a tempting sushi special. Their signature Hamachi Serrano Chili Roll will be half off throughout the day, which means a $6 discount from its normal $12 pricetag. You're welcome.
National Sushi Day at Arami: Frequently cited as one of the best sushi restaurants in Chicago, Arami just unveiled its new summer menu, featuring the masterful handiwork of executive chef Frederick Despres. New items span all corners of the hot and cold menu, from robata fare to sashimi, noodles, and donburi. Some of the freshest items include tomorokoshi, a riff on Mexican elotes made with shiro miso butter and togarashi; tako karaage salad with fried octopus, arugula, sweet corn, and soy-ginger sauce; chilled tonkotsu ramen; a poke trio featuring hamachi, ahi tuna, salmon, kaiso, tomato, pickled celery, and citrus-sesame soy; and smoked sake carpaccio and smoked kampachi made using Arami's rooftop smoker. Wait what?!
Ani: Speaking of Arami, the West Town sushi haunt just spawned a follow-up spot in Lakeview. Ani means "brother" in Japanese, which is cute and apropos, because not only is the restaurant connected to Arami, but owners Ty and Troy Fujimuri are brothers. The menu is fairly similar to Arami, featuring a plethora of traditional and contemporary Japanese and sushi dishes. The menu comes courtesy of executive chef Shin Matsuda.
- Matt Kirouac