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Permanently Closed - SUMI Robata Ba

4.4
265 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Japanese
Perfect For:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Special Occasion

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About

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.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Japanese, Grill, Asian
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30am - 2:30pm

Dinner: Monday - Wednesday 5:00pm - 11:00pm, Thursday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00am
Sunday: Closed
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Phone number
(312) 988-7864
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Gene Kato
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Cross street
Huron/Wells
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Parking details
Street parking available on Huron and Wells
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Public transit
Brown line and Purple Line stops three blocks from the restaurant.
Additional
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
What 265 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.4based on all time ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on August 19, 2017

Wow, an extraordinary meal! All aspects from appetizers, sake, entree, dessert and tea excellent! Would return in a heartbeat

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5.0Dined on August 15, 2017

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

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5.0Dined on August 7, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on August 3, 2017

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.

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4.0Dined on July 27, 2017

Exquisite food. Waiter was very good in describing the dishes. Chef was conservative at the Robata grill as well. Some amazing Japanese whiskies as well.

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2017

We were amazed by the flavors, an informal place with sophisticated dishes. Very well attended, small and quiet. We had a wonderful time!

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5.0Dined on July 3, 2017

It was awesome! Victoria was gracious and very helpful with the menu. Our waiter couldn't have been better with great suggestions. A must go to restaurant!

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5.0Dined on June 17, 2017

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!

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5.0Dined on June 17, 2017

love it. i went there at around 6pm. Not many people. The waiters are very friendly. I had a great time there. The food is really good and looks delicate.

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1.0Dined on June 14, 2017

Left after being seated at the counter and ignored for over 5 minutes. I have never seen such a lack of hospitality or lack of awareness. This place seemed to be on a death spiral.

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5.0Dined on June 12, 2017

Was visiting Chicago for a few days on work and came across this place on Eater. I have to say it was fantastic. The chicken hearts were sublime and the lamb chop made me want to get my BBQ out and work on my technique. I will return.

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3.0Dined on June 9, 2017

Sedate, pleasant experience. Engaged server with good knowledge of the menu. Lots of suggestions and the food was well prepared. Liked the sea bass and strip steak. Soft shell crab on season. Nice experience.

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5.0Dined on June 5, 2017

This place is amazing. It's simple food prepared perfectly, and is well worth a visit.

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4.0Dined on June 1, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2017

Flawless - the sea bass dish was one of the best things I have ever had, and the duck was amazing!!!

the cold soba noodles was amazing as well

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5.0Dined on May 20, 2017

Spectacular from start to finish. Have had robata in several other cities in the US and this one is top notch.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2017

Amazing, wow
Wow
Terrific
Great service
Great food

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5.0Dined on May 8, 2017

Excellent menu, service, outstanding presentation...our absolute favorite every trip

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2017

Always fabulous.

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5.0Dined on May 4, 2017

Awesome as always. This is our go to and sets a pretty high bar when thinking about trying someplace else. Don't miss an opportunity to enjoy Sumi.

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5.0Dined on April 28, 2017

Finally checked out the restaurant and was truly impressed with the entire experience. The ambience and food surpassed all expectations. Can't wait to return.

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5.0Dined on April 24, 2017

One of the few authentic Japanese restaurants in Chicago. Chef Kato's attention to everything is very evident in each appetizer, each yakitori that was served to us. Was pleasantly impressed.

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5.0Dined on April 21, 2017

Fantastic food and great service. We will come back here again!

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2.0Dined on April 21, 2017

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.

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2.0Dined on April 21, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on April 17, 2017

Great food. Wonderful small japanese restaurant. Small portions great for exploring or sharing. Everything fresh and incredibly tasty. Be bold, try something new!

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3.0Dined on March 31, 2017

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.

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5.0Dined on March 29, 2017

Always superb. Finest quality. To master simplicity is perfection.

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5.0Dined on March 25, 2017

Excellent service and outstanding food. Todd is a perfect server; cheerful and attentive but not hovering. Genuinely great experience all-around.

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5.0Dined on March 21, 2017

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

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5.0Dined on March 20, 2017

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.

Back soon

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3.0Dined on March 6, 2017

good for two friends out, but this place was sooo good. But no longer has the charm.

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5.0Dined on March 2, 2017

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.

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3.0Dined on March 2, 2017

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.

Huge disappointment.

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4.0Dined on March 1, 2017

They should find a sushi chef and bring it back on the menu. Everything else was very, very good

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4.0Dined on February 24, 2017

Food came out very slowly, server would disappear for long periods of time. Food served was delicious and that is most Important

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5.0Dined on February 18, 2017

In a city that continues to be one of the very best for dining in the world, Sumi Robata remains one of my favorites.

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5.0Dined on February 13, 2017

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!

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5.0Dined on February 3, 2017

My husband , daughter and I loved this place. Bottled cocktails, a flight of sake, delicious apps and the bento box hit the spot for delicious. Our sever was wonderful. Would definitely go again.

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5.0Dined on January 27, 2017

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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