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“Lovely looking robata with good food, albeit pricey”
Review of Sumi Robata bar

Sumi Robata bar
Ranked #1,001 of 9,717 Restaurants in Chicago
Cuisines: Japanese
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed August 16, 2013

As with most Robata Bars, the dishes just add up and you have no idea what you have spent until the check comes. The pros: This restaurant is in a trendy, gallery area of North Wells, and has a sparse modernistic interior, and a really nice patio. We ate outside. The servers are helpful and enter orders into some type of PDA or smart phone. Once entered, the food comes out quite quickly and if you sit outside of course there is no smokiness in your hair and clothes. We ate a bit of almost everything and some things were steals, like beef skewers for $4 or 4.5, whilst some of the non-yakitori are pricey, ie the $14 sea bass, which is a tiny 2x 3.5 inch slab in a plastic pouch with sauce. (the presentation on this dish was really unfortunate as it looked like a doggie doo bag), but it was delicious. All in all, compared to more traditional robata bars, the environment is less crowded and you have space to eat, and it is comfortable. I am frankly a fan of more traditional preparations like sea salt, etc. Some items were still delicious but seemed to be in my opinion, had too many flavors going on. I like to just taste the flavors of the items, which is not to say these more trendy items were bad, as they were not. All in all, $180 with tip for 2 with about 2 drinks each. So you can see how this can get pricey, unless you happen to eat rice to fill yourself up a bit.

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Thank kimparklee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (46)
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38 - 42 of 46 reviews

Reviewed April 21, 2013 via mobile

This new place has almost no sushi, but the small, simple cooked dishes are well executed. The Uni "flan" like creamy appetizer was exciting. Surpriaingly light, it had a smoky, slightly nutty flavor. A good entry point for those scared of non traditional sea-food. The portions are small, but variety and flavor compensate. Seating is close, the decor: spartan Japanese. One negative is the absence of cheaper Sake selections. Cheapest half bottle is $45.
Not open for lunch during the weekend.

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Thank ygray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2013

Apparently robata is style of grilling in Japan. The offerings are basically all small plates individually prepared, most grilled robata style. There are a couple of sashimi offerings and some salads and soups. We tried steak, scallops, shrimp, lamb and asparagus. Each item exploded with flavor and taste. It doesn't taste anything like what we in the US think of as grilled food.

The restaurant is small and very attractive. There is a large sushi style counter with comfortable stools where you can watch the chefs prepare your food and a limited number of tables. Service is excellent and servers well trained on the menu and preparations. A number of bottled Japanese beers are offered and a small number of wines. Cocktails are good and served almost too strong.

Best to make reservations. On a previous occasion we had a reservation for 3 and assumed we could show up as a foursome without a problem but they weren't able to accommodate us at that time. We are so glad we went back.

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Thank joesChicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

While in Chicago we decided to try this new Sumi Robata Bar that everyone we knew was talking about. Our experience was wonderful not only with the food but with the bar downstairs, their specialty cocktails are to die for. The idea of simplicity with the decor added to our experience. We tried several items in the menu and was mesmerized watching Chef Kato at his craft. Food was fresh and the quality like no other. We Do not mind spending our hard earned money on quality food. The Chef Kato does not sit on his laurels. He continues to money forward with new innovations. Can't wait for summer! I think they are opening the outside area.

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Thank amazedhappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

The brand-new Sumi Robata bar, with it's clean, simple decor and efficient use of small space, is like something right out of Tokyo. Light wood tables and chairs, the robata centerpiece when you walk in, a truly great private room for special events, and a beautiful bar in the basement. And the similarities do not end with the decor. The best of Japanese food is pure and healthy - cooked perfectly to bring out the flavor in every bite. And here is where Sumi truly excels. Something as simple as grilled shitake mushrooms were completely addictive. Grilled romaine didn't sound like much, but it was superb. In fact, everything we ate was superb. Sweet potato fries were some of the best I've ever had.

I have to say, I was apprehensive about going to Sumi - I'm a vegetarian and it didn't look like the menu had a lot of substantial vegetarian offerings. My advice - just go, order what you like, try things you normally wouldn't (I had to be talked into ordering the cold tofu, very glad I was), and simply order more if you want! The non-vegetarian I was with was completely happy with his meal as well. I can't wait to go back!

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1  Thank Sunny77777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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