Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge

February 21, 2010

358 W. Ontario Street Chicago IL 60610 (River North)

Lunch (Mon-Friday) & Dinner ($20/person)

For restaurant week we decided to try out Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge. As we said before, the dinner menu was only $32. And you do have to ask for the special menu, they did not just offer it to everyone. As opposed to other places, at Ai we actually got a five course meal, as opposed to three. We began with the Kabocha corn soup, it was a delicious combination of Japanese pumpkin and corn. Next was the Hamachi Carpaccio, it was thinly sliced yellowtail topped with ceviche and citrus ohba. The yellowtail was fantastic. We also got our choice of a signature maki. I chose the Chef Hemmi Spicy Tuna, which was spicy tuna combined with four different roll options. It was very nice to get to try all the different rolls. Chris got the Crazy Jalapeno roll. He was not pleased. Most of the rolls were not hot at all, and one roll seemed to have the entire jalapeno inside. It was extremely hot and it caught him off guard, to say the least. Then, we were served the Demi Pistachio Salmon Teriyaki. The salmon was great, and cooked to perfection, but it was soaked in teriyaki, which was unnecessary. Lastly, we had dessert. We got a Yume Choco, a demi chocolate mousse served with chocolate espresso mochi. The dessert was fantastic and the perfect portion size. By and large our experience at Ai was good. Besides the Jalapeno roll, our only other complaint was the service. Our server was not very friendly, and we would be waiting for our food and drinks for long periods of time while he would be standing around talking with the other servers. I’m not sure that we would go back, but it was fun to try it out during restaurant week.


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