Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kai Zan

Want to know the next hot sushi spot in Chicago that you won't be able to get into? Kai Zan - out in Humbolt Park on Chicago ave. Simply put, it has all the right ingredients (pun intended) to go viral and cultish. It's small (like 20 seats), awesome decor, BYO, off the beaten path, and happens to serve delicious food that's not your typical maki roll from Dominicks. And it's crazy affordable. Not much else you need to score big.

The meal started off with a bang by ordering the Escolar Pearls  (rice spheres topped with scallions and super white tuna soaked in soy sauce, truffle oil, spicy mayo, and chili oil, then lightly seared), and sides of edamame and gomae. The pearls of little rice with amazing flavors on top were so good and had four pieces for the three of us that we need another order. Easy call. Delicious. We all said we could come back for a meal entirely of Pearls (there's Maguro too, for variety).

We followed the pearls with some sushi/sashimi. I believe we ordered some hamachi sashimi (not 100% on that), the flaming tuna roll and the orange rush sushi. The sashimi was nice but a little fatty/tough for my preference. Light sauce was very nice. Loved the flaming tuna, had a lot of fun items and nice texture variety. Really nice. Finally, the orange rush gives the pearls a run for their money for favorite of the meal. It's served on a single shell, and is a one bite show. There's scallop on some rice entirely wrapped in salmon with a nice citrus glaze. Big fan, would order again and multiple. We also tried some of the yakatori to get a little variety and try the menu. We had the chicken, shrimp and beef. Everything was nice and flavorful (though I'd stick with the amazing fish), and the shrimp was the best and most interesting option (and really cool presentation). We weren't hungry for more but also wasn't completely full and wanted to extend our experience. We asked for a chef's surprise and they brought us three huge pieces of fatty salmon belly (something only offered on the tasting menu). It was really nice, definitely fatty (in a good way) and super generous portion. A great way to end the meal.

I very much look forward to getting back to try more items and some of my favorites. The BYO is just icing on the cake (liquor store across the street) and the bill was remarkable ($35/person). The space is cool, intimate and fun with great food and value. It's the next hot spot.

Kai Zan on Urbanspoon


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  2. Like the presentation of each meal/dish

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