I’d heard some good buzz about this little BYOB, so I rounded up my sushi-loving friends and we headed to the Ukrainian Village to try the works at Arami. Arami is outside of what I think of as the restaurant corridor on Chicago Avenue in a typical elongated storefront. The bar and bathrooms are up front, the dining area and sushi bar are tucked in the back. Greenhouse windows and bamboo give it an airy atmosphere, though the acoustics were kinda horrible. Also, the lights flickered every few minutes and was extremely distracting. They probably need to hire a good electrician.
We started with hot and cold appetizers including a delicious toro tuna bite, some over-cooked edamame and mussels steamed in sake. The mussels were nice, though we missed something to dip in the sauce.
Our waitress wasn’t clued in to our table all evening. We had to ask repeatedly for drink refills, she didn’t understand that we wanted to pay extra to make the Chef’s special sashimi work for three people instead of two, and she forgot our maki order and then lied about it. There wasn’t a language barrier and they weren’t particularly busy, so maybe we just got “lucky” with service.
Having said that, the sashimi was quite excellent We put ourselves in the chef’s hands and were rewarded with a beautiful display of fish that was fresh and light. The special nigiri of Zuke Sake, a spicy scallop wrapped with marinated salmon, was an unusual combination I hadn’t seen at other sushi places and would try again.
However, the maki we tried was disappointing. The double sake roll of salmon scallions, spicy salmon, lemon, mayo combined flavors that didn’t need to be together. I had the same reaction to the hamachi maguro ebi with yellow tail, tuna, scallion, jalapeno, shrimp. The rice in our negi hamachi was crunchy.
Overall, our experience here was uneven and expensive. For $50 a person, I expected better service and consistent dishes. They haven’t been open long, so we may drop in again to give them another try.
1829 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622