’Tis the season of imminent returns (we’re looking at you, D-Rose).
Reserve one of the hottest seats in a different arena: the kitchen. Sumi Robata is now softly open in River North.
The painstakingly researched Japanese grill concept is a team effort. Gene Kato (Japonais) mans the 35-seat dining room; downstairs at Charcoal Bar, Matthew Lipsky (Untitled) slings drinks for eleven lucky swillers (first come, first served).
Food is a study in restraint: mirin-braised burdock, ahi with white soy and yuzu, dashi-bathed poached egg; minimal accompaniments allow high-quality proteins to shine on the robata.
Lipsky’s bottled cocktail program — four Asian-influenced potables packed in single-serving champagne bottles — is a game-changer. Pop the cap off Dragon’s Milk (vodka, cucumber, nigori sake, white pepper, lime) or The Sad Flute (bourbon, ginger, yuzu, grapefruit) to experience a flavor marriage made in heaven.
And that’s no bull.
Sumi Robata and Charcoal Bar, 702 North Wells Street, at Huron Street (312-988-7864 or sumirobatabar.com).
Photo: Courtesy of Sumi Robata and Charcoal Bar