Sushi Samba: "River North-trendy sushi spot" Top 5 Page for this destination Japonais Tip by Dabs

Japonais, Chicago: 26 reviews and 37 photos

Let me start off with a confession, I don't "get" sushi and I don't "get" people who gush over eating expensive raw fish wrapped in seaweed and rice. But we were invited to go with a group, one of which said this was his favorite restaurant in the city and the menu does have quite a few non sushi options so we gave this place a try.

We ate here on a Saturday night at 5:30pm and had a large party of 13, they seated us right away and didn't rush us through dinner, our waitress was a bit snarky with comments like "does anyone want silverware? I'm only going to ask once" like she was talking to children and "we prefer to serve large parties a selection chosen by us". Sorry babe, you're working for your "gratuity included on the bill because you're a large party"!

The decor is bold and trendy, there are giant white pods hanging from the ceiling, I almost expected to see one of those creatures from "Alien" pop out. And I didn't go to the bathroom but I understand there's an attendant to "assist" you which I hate, thanks very much but I can open my own stall door and wash my hands without assistance. The area to wah your hands is out in the open and you can see right into the opposite sex's bathroom.

It wasn't as dressy as I thought it'd be, there were several tables with young kids and lots of people in not very dressy jeans plus one tatooed woman at the table next to us who was smooshed into a strapless kelly green dress, I fully expected to see one of her breasts pop out during dinner, now that'd be a real floor show!

Favorite Dish: We tried two appetizers, tiger shrimp tempura served with ponzu maionese and tempura dipping sauce ($12)-good flavor and texture, I think there were 5 in the serving, and chicharron de calamar, cornmeal crusted calamary with tomato, mint, plantain, tamarind ($13)-good flavor, portion size a bit small for the price.

We figured we had to try at least one sushi offering so we picked pacific king crab, avocado, asian pear, soy paper, wasabi-avocado crema ($16), still don't know what the big deal is but the wasabi made me cry and cleaned out my sinuses.

One side dish, peruvian corn ($6). interesting in that the kernals are so huge, nice flavor

Dessert was Mochi, a soft japanese rice cake filled with ice cream ($10)-very tasty but 4 lumps of ice cream for $10?

Someone at the table with us ordered the chocolate fondue and I was glad I didn't, the chocolate fondue was a very small demi bowl of chocolate, not a dunking pot.

One thing I did like was that they had a $12 kids menu, I swear the kid in our group got more food than we did!!!!

My verdict? I thought what we had tasted good but was overpriced, we dropped just over $100 with 1 cocktail each and my husband was still hungry, I imagine others in our group spent closer to $200 but they were good enough to provide separate checks to our large party. If you like trendy and if you like sushi, you just might like this place.

Address: 504 N. Wells Street
Price Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: between Illinois and Grand
Phone: 312-595-2300
Price: US$41 and up
Rating: 3
Theme: Japanese/Sushi

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 15, 2009
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