neighborhood has been hungering for more standout sushi, and with the addition of Sushi Taiyo, that hunger may finally be sated. From the family team behind Lakeview's Rise
and Lincoln Park's Shine
comes another entree-and-sushi eatery. Keeping with the family's preferred naming scheme, this one's called taiyo, or sunlight.
It's perhaps ironic, then, that the space is dark. As such, however, it's perfectly suited to a date. The black brick wall at the bar evokes a waterfall, and the swirl of dark, spiraling hanging sculptures over the main seating and dining area are like wispy, minimalist clouds. Both features contrast perfectly with the bright orange chairs at each table, creating an overall playful clash of sensation.
The same could be said of the menu, with excellent offerings both hot and cold. These run the gamut from the eminently affordable, such as the tasty gomae, a dish of chilled spinach with a sesame ponzu sauce ($4), to the oyster with a Japanese-inspired salsa made from soy ginger, onion-chili and jalapeno citrus ($12). Among the sushi dishes, one can find "big plate" entrees as well that live up to their name. Most are interesting, surprising takes on dishes one wouldn't normally find in a Japanese restaurant, such as the roasted lamb rack, doused in a pine nut miso and served over roasted eggplant, tomato and broad beans ($22).
Sushi Taiyo is an excellent example of the results of mixing the unexpected. Whether those seeming contrasts are found in the kinomi roll (tuna, avocado and raspberry) or in the decor itself, Taiyo is an interesting ray of light in Chicago's sushi spectrum.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman