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About Permanently Closed - SUMI Robata Ba
This restaurant is permanently closed. "The Art of Grilling presented by Chef Gene Kato". Recipient of the 2017 Jean Banchet Award of Culinary Excellence as Chicago's Best Neighborhood Restaurant. In 2017 Chef Kato was recognized by James Beard as a semi finalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes.
Sumi Robata Bar, recognized as an authentic Japanese Robatayaki, Sumi, derives from the Japanese word for charcoal, which focuses on the tradition and skill of Robata grilling. Noted as the industry leader of this segment of cuisine, Chef Kato will mesmerize you as he grills the highest quality ingredients over Japanese charcoal. Take a seat along Chefs counter and see how he methodically seasons bits of skewered protein and vegetable to perfection.
Chicago, IL 60654
Japanese, Grill, Asian
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30am - 2:30pm
Dinner: Monday - Wednesday 5:00pm - 11:00pm, Thursday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00am
$31 to $50
AMEX, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
Street parking available on Huron and Wells
Brown line and Purple Line stops three blocks from the restaurant.
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
SUMI Robata Bar- Permanently Closed Ratings and Reviews
This place is the best Robata (yakitori) in the city. The chef meticulously bastes and baby's each skewered morsel and cooks it to perfection. Everything is good here. Try the tofu, jidori karage, tskune slider, any of the grilled vegetables, the sea bream and the crab legs are knock outs, and the tontoro , beef tounge, + chicken thigh/parts are not to be missed
One of the few restaurants I never mind coming back to and whose food I crave. More than anything else, it's the delicious food that keeps us coming back. You may read the menu and think this looks too simple, but the flavors are insane, presumably thanks to their great quality ingredients and Japanese robata grilling technique.
The experience was a lot worse than before. Sukiyaki beef and sweet potato fries were too salty. The beef grill on a stone was not tasty. I liked chicken liver paste and grilled scallop. Overall the quality of food has gone down. The price seemed too much for what we got.
This is probably our favorite restaurant, I don't understand why it isnt more busy. From the fresh homemade tofu appetizer through the tsukune beef sliders, roasted romaine lettuce and robata grilled chicken thighs, all the food is so delicious! Try the Dragon's Milk cocktail, and don't forget the donatsu!
We had another great experience at Sumi! We made sure to stop by during our stay in Chicago. We ordered all of the appetizer specials and a good amount of regular appetizers and some robata. The beef tsukune slider is still my favorite and ending the meal with kakigori is a must. We had a great time there but noticed that they were a bit short handed when it came to the servers. We did have a little order mix up but it was cleared and Chef Gene Kato addressed it right away. We're coming back to Chicago in July and hoping that we can get a taste of the seasonal Pineapple kakigori! Thank you for another wonderful experience.
I have been to SUMI Robata Bar several times and have recommended it to friends. Their service is always slow, but the tapas like format mitigates this issue usually. However, my most recent visit was very disappointing. The meal took almost 3 hours, the product of very poor service. The final insult was that it took 20 minutes plus to get the bill paid. Unless, the owners can solve this issue, SUMI Robata is not long for this world. I will not be recommending this restaurant in the near future.
My girlfriend used to live in the area and spoke very highly of SUMI. Finally, we found a good night for her to take me for dinner this past Friday. We were both very disappointed. I am hoping it was just an off-night because she has such fond memories of the place, but it was a major letdown. It took 10 minutes just for someone to even greet us at our table. It is also a very small restaurant, so you expect relatively fast service. After we ordered, the appetizers came right out and they were excellent. The robata, however, took an incredibly long time, we would eat a piece and then 15-25 minutes later, our next one would come. We really only enjoyed the salmon, everything else was overcooked. It was not at all worth the wait. For a few small bites, the total meal took hours. I am hoping this was just an off night as they seemed to be maybe understaffed? Either way, here's to hoping it turns around.
We had been to Sumi on several occasions, and had good memories of the food. Unfortunately, our most recent meal missed the mark. We knew something was off when after being seated it took 10 minutes before we were greeted by our server. We kept looking around wondering if we should flag someone down.
As for the food, we started with a salad that was over dressed, very vinegary. Then a piece of white fish our server recommended came to the table terribly dry. On the brighter side, the grilled vegetables were good.
We're hoping it was an off night. Would hate to scratch Sumi , with its warm woodsy ambiance, off the go-to list.
The food was stellar, and acceptionally seasoned. It reminds me of being in Japan all over again. The prices where so good I almost got an extra of each dish. The chef, who actually cooked our food was great, he was able to talk to every table throughout our entire meal. It was nice to have that personal touch
We live close by and cannot imagine why it has taken us 5 years to get here. We sat at the bar and watched the chef work on his wood-fired grill while we sampled 3 or 4 appetizers and then 4 main course skewers.
We tried a bluefin tuna sashimi- style dish finished with a white soya; a very light chicken -filled dumpling; an incredibly light chicken karaage...a cousin of tempura.
We then had salmon, octopus, Waygu steak, scallops and shiitake mushrooms. All delicious and beautifully cooked and presented.
They have an extensive sake list, but I opted for a couple of rarely seen Japanese "craft beers".
What a great evening and what a wonderful change from run of the mill sushi or teppanyaki shops!
We were there for dinner, but for lunch they serve a $15 bento box.
I've been here many times, and never had less than an excellent experience. The grilled items are the high point of course, but the appetizers and desserts are excellent, as are the Japanese whiskeys. The place is comfortable and not too loud, perfect if you want to have a conversation.
Food was surprisingly bland across the board. Most dishes were not even seasoned (at all in some cases such as the shishito peppers) and they charge extra for a tiny bit of soy sauce to do what should have been done when prepared.
For a robata grill I could not tell if any item got remotely close to that grill (e.g. the mushrooms were dripping wet and slimy). The chicken tails seemed deep fried, not grilled.
I took my son for a special occasion. Little did we know how unique and delicious the experience would end up being! I looked on OPEN Table for a place such as Sumi Robata during our trip to Chicago. Small plates are usually a Spanish thing in my experience but Japanese grilling was an amazing find. The Chef was engaging and willing to explain the smallest detail. The server was as informed of the menu, both sake, food and Japanese whiskey(new to us!) as any I have come across. She was willing to endure the many questions we had in learning about Robata, a simple but "WOW" invoking method of cooking. The Chef informed us that he imports a special hard-wood charcoal from Japan that burns at a high temperature. He personally cooked everything, prepared all sauces and marinades and served them in a simple and clean presentation. "WOW" a definite must try!
This restaurant blew my mind!! The food was phenomenal (definitely order the Gyutan!!). Every plate had our tastebuds dancing. The warm atmosphere and friendly customer service made the whole experience truly exceptional. I would recommend this restaurant in a heartbeat!
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