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A Critic Tackles Two Omakase Sushi Restaurants

Plus a close look at a local jibaritos mini-chain

A sushi bar and restaurant in a hotel suite.
Sushi Suite is a new omakase experience inside a hotel room.
Sushi Suite/Barry Brecheisen

Phil Vettel reviews two quick-service omakase experiences. At Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’s Sushi-San, the 45-minute meal is “definitely more approachable than the hours-long versions at other Chicago spots, but it’s hardly rudimentary.” Highlights include a “delicious nori-bound combo of king crab and sea urchin”; and lean tuna filet, which is topped with shiitake butter for a “steak-and-mushrooms effect.” Priced at $45, it’s an “unbeatable bargain.”

In comparison, New York import Sushi Suite 202 is more “in line with several full-length omakase dinners in town” but at a “savings of about 30 percent.” The restaurant, located inside a room in Hotel Lincoln, delivers 17 bites over the span of an hour for $125, inclusive of tax and tip. There are delights like sweet Canadian spot prawn topped with torched white-truffle hollandaise; Japanese seabass with shiso pepper and yuzu; and striped jack with chives and ginger. And though the pacing is a “bit too fast,” the Tribune critic doesn’t feel rushed. [Tribune]

Mike Sula checks in on growing sandwich empire Jibaritos y Mas. Venezuelan native Yelitza Rivera has mastered the Puerto Rican specialty and will soon open a fourth location of her popular shop in Lincoln Park. The jibaritos — filled with roast pork, chicken, octopus, blood sausage, and more — are best experienced by attacking them with two hands while they’re still piping hot. The cuchifrito game is also “extraordinary,” featuring items like “shatteringly crispy” pollo frito and mofongo, garlicky mashed plantain that reveals its “true textural dimensions when eaten on the spot.” [Reader]

Avli River North offers “good food” and an “opa!-free atmosphere” according to Graham Meyer. This is the third Avli restaurants, follows to a suburban location and one in Lincoln Parl. Chicken souvlaki boasts a “tender, juicy interior, enhanced further by a squeeze of charred lemon,” while gyros exceed expectations with “full-flavored, ungreasy Berkshire pork shoulder.” A village salad “plumped with could-it-really-be-winter tomatoes and biting olives” is similarly impressive, and eggplant dip does an “appetizing job with cool, textured lumps of soft eggplant.” For those who want Greek fare without heading to Greektown, “Avli’s your spot.” [Crain’s]

Sushi-san

63 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654 Visit Website

Avli River North

702 North Wells Street, , IL 60654 (312) 643-5656 Visit Website

Jibaritos y Mas

3400 West Fullerton Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 799-8601 Visit Website

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