Whether it's a can of your favorite domestic light beer or a bottle of your favorite wine, it won't seem out of place at Cafe Furaibo, a BYOB sushi hot spot located in West Lakeview. This place is nowhere near as high-end as the Loop's Sushi Samba, but it's no hole in the wall either; it's just a simple, clean neighborhood sushi cafe that's proud to be named favorite sushi spot by Chicagoan and Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard — and for good reason.
The main dining area is surrounded by blue, red, brown and white walls festooned with paintings of samurais while the soft lighting and barely audible, techno-like, Japanese rhythmic music gives this place a conversational, carefree atmosphere.
As for the food, it's all reasonably priced. Begin with standard Japanese starters ($1-$8) like the miso soup or seaweed salad. The menu also includes more elaborate appetizers like the white fish salad coated with ginger soy dressing for only $6.
Move on to the maki rolls ($4-$12) and choose from house specials like the Fire Drops, a roll all decked out with deep fried tuna, mayo, avocado, cream cheese and garnished with red and black roe and a spicy sauce. You can also challenge Chef Aki with your own customized sushi.
Every seat is filled on the weekends, so come for lunch during the week. It's not only easier to find a table, but the lunch specials of sushi combinations make dining much more pocket-friendly. Furaibo, aptly translated to "the wanderer," gives local regulars and wandering visitors a comforting place to satisfy their sushi cravings.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kimber Solana