Rise is a decent sushi spot on Southport, just steps from the Brown Line stop. Its convenience drew me and a group of friends there on a slow weekday night — we were able to hop in early and grab a seat without making reservations.
Even though the place was nearly empty, the service wasn’t weird or overly pushy the way it can be when you’re the only customer in sight. Our waitress let us take time to read the massive menu, made recommendations when asked, and kept the green tea coming.
We started with an order of edamame because I think you can tell a lot by how well a sushi bar deals with this simple dish. The edamame was served hot, which I like, but had been boiled in overly salted water. The resulting pods were mushy and missing the sprinkle of sea salt on top. Average.
We ordered a combination of specialty and traditional rolls to get a good mix of the menu. Of the former, the eponymous Rise Roll — a combination of salmon, avocado, cilantro, tomato, and spicy mayo rolled with seaweed on the outside — was the clear favorite. Both the salmon and avocados were very fresh. However, the hamachi in our crazy roll was a bit soft and mushy, not good. The rainbow roll was filled with a toasted salmon that was mentioned on the menu, but not typically found in rainbow rolls. The odd taste kept me off kilter until I grabbed a menu to look up the ingredients. I didn’t like the combination.
Of the traditional rolls, we enjoyed the bagel roll the most. A bagel roll here is what other places call a Philadelphia roll, but with a bit of scallion to the mix. That put it over the top. Everyone at the table also enjoyed the sweet potato roll, a fine combination of sweet and starch. The yellowtail and spicy tuna rolls, however, were soft and mushy. They tasted fine, but the texture was distracting.
If I were in the area and craved sushi, I would probably consider Rise again. It’s a decent neighborhood spot and the price is reasonable for the quality they serve — about $25-$30 per person. However, I can’t recommend it to anyone who’s traveling to Southport for a special evening out. There are better restaurants along the street.
Rise Sushi and Sake Lounge
3401 North Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657-1419