Venture out to Ukrainian Village to Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill where they aim to expose guests to their unique, yet familiar take on Japanese cuisine. Fusion is a way of life for the innovative minds of Yuzu. The goal is simple — combine elements of different traditional dishes to create a new culinary experience for your palate.
Trisha Bunjungscinsiri, Manger and Director of Operations, describes owner Yut Vongchana as “a humble hipster”. Before opening Yuzu back in 2011, Chef Vongchana, who is originally from Thailand, worked at Sushi Wabi — a staple for the Chicago sushi aficionado. It was his time at Sushi Wabi and his world travels that inspired him to open his own restaurant. He wanted to create a place that provided guests with quality food at an affordable price, but more than that he wanted to create a community that kept people coming back. He selected Chicago as the backdrop for his new venture to turn his dream into a reality.
Sushi, Art, and Music
Those are just three things that everyone who works at Yuzu loves and are driving the concept of this sushi haven. Walk into Yuzu and you’re likely to hear Passion Pit booming from their ever-changing playlist as you’re greeted by the fragrances of spice and citrus coming from the kitchen. The walls feature Japanese comics, but they aren’t the only art you’ll see while dining at Yuzu. The sushi plating is just one of their many masterpieces, and you’ll be talking about it long after you finish your meal.
It’s more than just fusion — it’s art. When chef Vongchana first opened Yuzu, the premise was for each dish to reflect seperate regions of Asia. From Korean BBQ to subtle, yet tantalizing Thai flavors, each dish has its own delectable punch. The menu is constantly changing to keep the regular crowd’s interest piqued with each new sushi roll they unveil. Yuzu delivers on its promise to constantly push the envelope with the unexpected.
From the Robata Grill
Robata refers to a cooking technique native to Northern Japan. Once a method used exclusively by fisherman, it has developed into an new rustic cuisine that has spread throughout the country. Similar to barbecue, the flavor from cooking skewers over a hot charcoal grill are a must to achieve the smoky undertones. From the beef short rib (a staff favorite) to the tofu dressed in a warm peanut sauce, the options are endless. If you’re feeling lucky, try the shishito peppers, about one in seven peppers packs quite the kick. The subtly smokey flavors blended with a possible spicy kick are definitely worth it.
It’s fresh and bright flavors make this one of the best tuna pokes I’ve had. It packs a punch but the Hawaiian tuna is balanced by the delicate pop of the avocado. It’s pure heaven for all you avocado lovers out there.
It’s All About the Rolls
This is not your average sushi roll. While Yuzu does feature classical favorites, they are best known for the daring components that accompany their “Jumbo Rolls.” They take the saying “you eat with your eyes first” to a whole new level — I dare you to not post a picture as they bring out your order.
The “Breaking Bad” tuna roll adds complex and innovative flavors like fried ginger, grilled asparagus, and ties it together with a vibrant display of wasabi mayo. Each roll offers a unique combination of traditional sushi flavors and is elevated with seasonal ingredients and varied textures.
If you thought the creative minds behind Yuzu couldn’t get any further outside the box, wait until you try their newest creation. It’s a nostalgic roll that incorporates a favorite after-school snack: Cheez-Its. The added crunch from the cheese cracker paired with the kick of Sriracha will make you wonder what other whimsical rolls they’ll come up with next.
Yuzu strives to color outside the lines. It’s about developing and melding unique spices, flavors and cultures in a new and upbeat way. Whether you are a regular or a first time diner, they’ll have you feeling like part of the family in no time.
Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill, 1751 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60622
Photos provided by Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill.