Slurping Turtle who?!? That’s right, Sumi has claimed the “robata grill” throne previously presided by Slurping But in all seriousness, this place is pretty freakin’ great. The service is impeccable, the grill items are top notch – they even have beef straight from Japan (not Kobe, Japan but still…pretty impressive!) and the space is bright (a break from the standard dimly lit places), minimally decor’d; the narrow hallway, as you walk in, opens up into a small dining room space in the back of the restaurant. There are a couple more, private like, dining spaces at this place and what looks like an outside patio deck (a much needed break for Chicagoans in the summer).
We sat at the robata grill bar and, boy, were we glad we did! We saw, firsthand, the dishes we were served up, getting flavored and browned on that robata grill. We ordered Japanese favorites: shitake mushrooms, onions on a skewer, shishito peppers, wagyu beef with ponzu sauce, skirt steak, lamb chop, chicken teriyaki rice with egg and scallions, Miyazaki (japanese) meat, salmon sashimi with its own roe, japanese style tofu and finally, fuji apples drowsed in caramel sauce with ice cream, for dessert. Now, you probably think, they wheeled us out of there after so much food, but worry you not – portions are extremely small. Most of the items listed above were from robata grill; the tofu and chicken rice were not and they were the largest items we got – so brace yourself – you may need to order seconds or even thirds.
The chefs working the robata grill were super friendly and eager to describe the plates they were dishing out. Our waitress was super attentive and so was the manager – you can never go wrong with good service!
Sumi has been open for short 5 weeks but has already gained a sizeable following – I grabbed the last (decently timed) reservation available. I liked the environment A LOT – it was light, very light – a change from my usual hangout spots – it was also spacious even though we sat in the narrow part of the hallway spanned across the robata grill. It was comfortable – that is probably the right word to describe it.
I am definitely taking my hubs there as well as my suburban friends – I think they would appreciate Oh, the best part is they have a Japanese inspired bar, right below the restaurant, called Charcoal Bar. But I’ll save this one for my next post!
Good job, Sumi, you have another fan!