I’d never really thought of sushi as a to-go option like I do with Chinese, Thai or Italian. But when you’re craving an uncluttered, fresh and filling meal, sushi – bite-sized creations based on flavored rice and other ingredients, often raw fish – makes a delicious change of pace from a burger and fries.
My first experience at Sushi Wabi was during a sit-down lunch with some friends at the beautifully stark Japanese restaurant. We shared some maki rolls (rice with delicate fish and/or vegetables wrapped in special seaweed sheets), ate some sherbet out of a frozen peach for dessert and left thinking that we had to return soon and do it again.
But with everyone’s work schedules so complicated, it became too difficult to plan for another sit-down meal. So I decided to get some carryout food and try it at home. Aside from the fact that something is lost in the presentation when you eat sushi out of a disposable container, the meal was delicious.
I generally like to start off any Japanese meal with a hot bowl of miso soup ($3). Garnished with tender tofu and green onions, the soup didn’t have the pungent flavor that can overpower some miso soups. I’m also a sucker for the aemono salad ($4), which is a plain green salad served with a deliciously tart ginger dressing.
But if you’re looking for a more substantial appetizer, you may want to opt for the crispy pan-seared gyoza ($7), dumplings stuffed with pork and vegetables and served with a seasoned dipping sauce of soy sauce and vinegar.
A friend also enjoyed the tempura ($12) of delicately battered seafood and veggies, though this is a dish best eaten at the restaurant. It loses some of its crispiness when you have to nuke it in a microwave.
Now, on to the main course. The smoked salmon sushi ($5 for two pieces) melts in your mouth. More adventurous diners may try the tako sushi ($3 for two pieces); tako is Japanese for octopus.
But for a meal in itself, give either – or both – the dragon and spider maki rolls a try. At $11 and $9, respectively, the price seems a little steep. But they are truly delicious, despite their unsavory names. The dragon maki roll includes tempura shrimp, cooked eel and avocado wrapped in tender seaweed. And my favorite, the spider roll, includes succulent soft-shell crab and a tangy pepper vinegar sauce.
And finicky eaters take note: If you don’t see anything on the menu that you like, the chefs will create rolls with only the ingredients you want included.
842 W. Randolph (312) 563-1224
Prices: Appetizers: $5 to $9. Entrees: $9 to $16.
Sushi and maki rolls: $3 to $12. Side dishes: $2 to $4.
Hours: Monday-Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight.
Saturday: 5 p.m. to midnight. Sunday: 5 to 11 p.m.
Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover. To-go charge: None.