Robata Takes Chicago
Sumi Robata Bar
In a city renowned for its many unique and exquisite dining experiences, it can be easy to adopt a ‘been there, done that’ attitude towards each new hip establishment claiming to bring something new to the already crowded table. Sumi Robata Bar, as it were, is one such eatery – offering a new and never-before-seen focus on the ancient Japanese culinary tradition of robatayaki (grilling over Japanese white oak), with a concise menu that’ll revive even the most jaded of gastronomes.
From Gene Kato (formerly Japonais) comes a selection of robata delicacies like wagyu rib-eye, Alaskan king crab and pork jowl, each grilled to perfection and imparted with the perfect smokiness. Other standout appetisers include the house-made tofu, chilled and served with caviar and crispy ginger, and the beef tsukune slider, a playful take on the traditional dumpling (here serving as the bun) and the American hot dog (here made with ground wagyu and Japanese seven spice).
Just in time for alfresco summer supping, Sumi has opened a 20-seater garden patio with wooden cabana decks, and if that weren’t enough incentive to pay Chef Kato a visit, the exclusive and intimate 11-seater basement Charcoal Bar is mixologist Matthew Lipsky’s playing ground, just perfect for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail. Try the summer special ‘Strawberry Gazpacho’ with gin, strawberries, cucumbers, yellow pepper, and sherry vinegar – refreshing!