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in East Village or in Wicker Park or Damen or Division on the Blue line

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Bob San

View Map1805-1807 W. Division St., Chicago
Tel: (773) 235-8888
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Editorial Review of Bob San

Owned by the folks behind Naniwa, Sai Cafe and Hachi's Kitchen, Bob San (meaning "Mr. Bob") makes sushi look awful pretty. Push past the NYC-chic, mysterious black entrance and land in a world of calming sage hues, metallic sushi bars, plush green settees, waterfalls, stones and hanging sharks (the latter is more funky art gallery than Jaws at Universal Studios). Open since 2000, Bob San feels like a cross between an upscale lounge and a Division Street eatery, but for all its hipness, it's the light-on-frills sushi that keeps diners coming back.

The menu boats an extensive array of beyond-California-roll fare: Everything from soups and salads to mochi ice cream and all the seafood in between, makes an appearance. Start with a la carte tempura ($1.25-$3 per piece) that includes some unusual selections like baby eggplant and Japanese pumpkin. "Chef's Special" selections ($11-$17) include tuna sashimi with jalapeno and citrus soy dressing; baked green mussels with mayo, smelt egg and avocado; and salmon caviar with minced radish and cucumber.

Entrees ($15-$22) are divided into "From the kitchen" and "From the sushi bar": The former category leans toward teriyaki while the sushi bar whips up fresh salmon, broiled fresh water eel and albacore tuna. Maki manages to escape the ridiculous and stick with the simple: Rainbow and Dragon versions are about as gourmet as it gets. But stave off too many rolls and save room for plum wine sherbet and red bean ice cream.

Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg

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4:30-11:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 3:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday

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chicago, metromix