Radio Anago

Warm miso scallops

Uni flight – Hokaido and Santa Barbara

Fluke sashimi special

Salad Handroll

Interior

**** (4 stars)

I held off going to Radio Anago because early reviews said it was very loud, and I want to have a conversation over a meal. But the sound has been lowered to appropriate levels and, as my server put it, “We’re now the restaurant we intended to be.”

And it’s a good restaurant. If you want sushi, and don’t want to sit in a bright space or at a sushi bar, Radio Anago is what you’re looking for. Lighting is subdued, it’s a surprisingly intimate space, and just quite different from other sushi restaurants.

That said, you’re not going to have the best sushi of your life here. A few years ago, this might have been the best sushi in Chicago, but a lot has happened in the past year or two, with impressive omakase experiences opening seemingly every week. So there are lots of higher end sushi offerings, but if you’re looking for an intimate place to have good sushi, Radio Anago is probably the best choice.

Radio Anago
226 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL
60654
(312) 796-3316
https://www.yelp.com/biz/radio-anago-chicago

Kumiko

Entry

Interior

Bar

Interior and bar

Patrick at the bar

Prawns

Eggplant dip

Loup de Mer

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Seamless

p>***** (5 stars)

This brilliant new cocktail bar combines drinks from creative director Julia Momose (GreenRiver, Aviary, Oriole) and food from chef de cuisine Mariya Russell (Oriole). Also involved, of course, are Noah and Cara Sandoval from Oriole, which is almost around the corner.

Oriole earned its Michelin stars in a flash, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some impressive awards coming to Kumiko soon, too.

As at Oriole, your first challenge is to find the place! The unmarked door is at the corner. Your experience begins with a warm greeting and a welcoming beverage (herbal tea the night I was there) at the host stand. Then you are ushered into the intimate dining room with its limited table seating and eight spots at the bar.

The atmosphere is welcoming, refined, and calming, with Japanese influenced simplicity that immediately puts you at ease.

The focus is definitely on cocktails and spirits, with an emphasis on sochu and Japanese whisky. There are also some very interesting rums, and a whole world of aperitifs and exotica.

Patrick, my bartender, was a charming host, and it was a delight watching his meticulous preparation of each drink. The main cocktail list offers a wide range of styles, so I had no trouble finding the bitter and complex flavors I favor. Patrick also helped me choose selections to match the food I ordered.

Speaking of food, the offerings are currently limited to three types of small bites (oysters, prawns, and steam buns), an eggplant dip, and two entrees (loup de mer and short rib).

I started with two of the tempura prawns, which seemed pricey at $8 each, but when they were served I realized we were in Michelin territory. They looked like something you’d find at Oriole, perfectly coated in a delicate tempura and artfully graced with yuzu, mint and edible flowers. Fabulous.

I also had the eggplant dip, which was nothing like I was expecting, but was also excellent. It was served in warm miso, and the primary flavor was of the fresh herbs–especially mint–topping it. The accompanying rice crackers were also wonderful.

My entree was the loup de mer, a delicate fish served with its crispy skin in place, and already sliced into manageable bites perfect for combining with the accompanying ponzu and bok choi. A crunchy mix of furikake (a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, and salt) added a great texture.

For dessert I had Japanese milk bread, which is essentially a caramelized French toast served with truffle flakes and ice cream. It was delicious.

The night I was there the omakase tasting was not available, so I wasn’t able to try that, but I’m just as glad I had a chance to explore on my own.

Because there are so many interesting spirits on offer, it’s an ideal place for people who like their drinks neat. I particularly suggest you try the El Dorado 15 year rum aged in dry Madeira casks; it’s a very complex treat.

The combination of great ambiance, perfect service, divine food, and meticulous mixology make Kumiko a winner, for sure.

630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL
60661
(312) 285-2912
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kumiko-chicago

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas

El Topo

Peruvian sea scallops

Kanpachi, yellowtail and yellowtail ceviche

Pumpkin spice old fashioned for Thanksgiving!

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Very good sushi with a slight Peruvian spin, such as the sauces used for the sashimi preparations. Fish quality was good, and service was friendly. Chill vibe.

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas
3327 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 607-0700
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sushisamba-las-vegas-las-vegas

Deep Blue

Interior

Menu

Chirashi bowl

**** (4 stars)

This place has surprisingly decent sushi for an airport. The interior decor is pleasant; and it’s arranged into two bars, one where the emphasis is drinking, the other for dining. There are also some tables. And of course the mandatory televisions.

All the sushi we had was good, if not cheap (it is, after all, an airport). Be warned, though, that the crudos don’t really match their descriptions (shishito peppers became jalapenos, ingredients were missing) and the ones we tried were both topped with unmentioned olive oil.

Service is pleasant but leisurely, so this is a good choice if you have plenty of time.

Deep Blue
John F Kennedy International Airport
Terminal 5
Jamaica, NY 11464
(866) 508-3558
https://www.yelp.com/biz/deep-blue-jamaica

Yamashiro Hollywood

Samurai roll

Truffle hamachi

Scallop ceviche

Yellowtail and Serrano pepper sashimi

Courtyard

View

Entry

*** (3 stars)

Yamashiro is one of the neatest, most magical spaces in LA. I’ve been coming here for decades for the spectacular view, and the tranquil Japanese courtyard in the center of the building. On each visit, I am amazed at what a great spot it is, and equally amazed that the food never lives up to the promise of the location.

On this visit they were out of: sparkling water, 9 out of ten types of sparkling wine on their wine list, one type of chicken, and Kirin beer. I was beginning to suspect we’d wandered into Monty Python’s cheese shop.

But they did have (nearly) all of the fish on their sashimi menu, and we tried most of them. They were all fine–okay fish quality, and good sauces. Maybe it’s just that we’d been to Sugarfish for lunch the day before, but this sushi was not remarkable, just serviceable.

Our waitress was nice, although totally unfamiliar with the wine list, and seemed a bit shaky on the food, too. Maybe the focus of the business is on selling the fishbowl-sized fruit drinks; they were certainly doing a lot of that.

Still, I’ll no doubt go back. I always do. There’s no place quite like it.

Yamashiro Hollywood
1999 N Sycamore Ave
Hollywood, CA 90068
(323) 466-5125
https://www.yelp.com/biz/yamashiro-hollywood-hollywood

SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa

Toro hand roll

Yellowtail, scallop, snapper, sea bass

Albacore and salmon

Tuna sashimi

Exterior

Interior

***** (5 stars)

I was afraid this might be all celebrity chef smoke and mirrors, but it was just really great fish quality, really great rice quality, and some subtle sauces coming together to create a fantastic experience.

We went at lunchtime and were lucky to walk in and get a table, as we soon realized the tiny 40-seat space almost always has a line.

We had the Nozawa omakase, which took us from edamame and sashimi through ten pieces of wonderful nigiri, and ended with two superb hand rolls. The standouts were the amazing scallop nigiri (which was the day’s special) and the two hand rolls. Normally handrolls aren’t a favorite of mine because of the high ratio of nori to stuffing, but these were wonderful. The nori was paper thin and had been crisped somehow, and the warm rice and cool stuffing made an amazing combination.

This was just absolutely great sushi. And at $37, the lunch Nozawa omakase is well worth it.

SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa
212 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276-6900
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sugarfish-by-sushi-nozawa-beverly-hills

Hamasaku

Green tea pudding

Sashimi (second round of omakase)

Sashimi

Corn custard

Oysters

Interior

Exterior

***** (5 stars)

There are so many sushi places to choose from on the west side of town, but some are over-priced without delivering a truly high-end experience, and others deliver the experience but only if you let the chef boss you around (eat this like this, don’t put soy sauce on that, etc.)

Hamasaku avoids these pitfalls. The atmosphere is laid back, and the price is great.

I was very impressed with the omakase. There are two basic options, a mostly cooked version, and a sushi option. We opted for the latter, and it was a great choice.

Your meal includes an oyster appetizer, corn custard, two separate plates of seven assorted nigiri (14 total), a complex miso seafood soup and dessert. The nigiri was really excellent, with a great variety of interesting fish, and deftly prepared. At $65 for the complete meal, it was a great deal.

We also opted for the $20 optional sashimi course. It was good, too, but frankly it was superfluous, given all the other excellent fish on the nigiri courses.

Note that the wine list is much more extensive than the version on their website.

The place is a bit tough to find, tucked into the inside corner of a strip mall. It’s simply but nicely decorated. It seats more people than you would guess, but even when full the noise level is fine.

Hamasaku
11043 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-7636
https://www.yelp.com/biz/hamasaku-los-angeles

Yojisan Sushi

Complimentary dessert

Salmon skin roll

Chirashi

Exterior

Salad and soup

**** (4 stars)

This is a good sushi restaurant offering fairly standard fare in the heart of Beverly Hills. If the prices seem a bit higher than other places it might be due more to the rent than anything extraordinary about it, but the fish is all fresh, and the service is friendly and efficient. There is also a small outdoor seating area that is quite pleasant, an unusual feature in this area.

Yojisan Sushi
260 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(424) 245-3799
https://www.yelp.com/biz/yojisan-sushi-beverly-hills

Tetsuya’s

Chocolate cakr

Wagyu beef

Chicken

Bass grouper

Confit of trout

Kingfish

Scampi

Interior

***** (5 stars)

This is my favorite restaurant in Sydney. It’s far better than the other Michelin starred places, and is beautiful and sophisticated without being stuffy.

The tasting menu focuses on fish, but only one course is typically raw, so it’s not to be confused with a traditional Japanese omakase. They are doing their own thing here.

The signature dish, trout, is probably the best course, but everything I’ve had has been excellent.

The wine list is extensive, although there are no bargains.

Tetsuya’s
529 Kent St
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
+61 2 9267 2900
https://www.yelp.com/biz/tetsuyas-sydney

Saké

Dragon egg

Dragon egg

Short rib

House salad

Bass grouper

Dining area

Beef tataki and popcorn shrimp

Kingfish

Sashimi appetizer

Sake wall

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This very stylish restaurant in the Rocks is surprisingly large, yet intimate, with romantic lighting levels, and a modern club type soundtrack.

We had the “Chef’s New Classics” tasting menu, a mixture of raw and cooked dishes that included fish and meat. They were all good, but I actually preferred the sashimi appetizer we also ordered, as the fish was of excellent quality, and my preference runs to sashimi.

The Dragon egg is an interesting dessert option. It is presented at the table with an interesting flourish, as warm sauce breaks open the candy egg to reveal the inner Dessert.

Saké
12 Argyle St
The Rocks
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
+61 2 9259 5656
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sak%C3%A9-sydney