Katsu | Rogers Park/West Rogers Park | Asian, Japanese | Restaurant
Gracious, untrendy north-side sushi place beloved for its superbly fresh fish and creative cooked dishes.

Our Review

Long before the tsunami of overpriced, overdesigned sushi bars struck West Town, Katsu Imamura was quietly and unpretentiously elevating sea creatures to their edible ideal in less fashionable West Rogers Park. No Prada-toting poseurs cram this pair of narrow dining rooms, but Imamura and his wife, Haruko, have earned the loyalty of traveling Japanese businessmen and discerning locals with their friendly attention and superb high-quality fish. The best approach is to place your fate in Imamura’s artist’s hands and allow him to craft a sashimi combination of his choice. Long slabs of that day’s most beautiful fish drape over each end of the rice, accented with fresh minty shiso leaf, tiny mounds of caviar, and flecks of gold leaf. Nigiri is generously portioned; Imamura says that while most sushi chefs use their four fingers as a measurement, he sizes it against his four fingers splayed. That’s just one way in which Katsu, despite prices that can be steep (special sushi combos range from $38 to $48, and a multicourse special chef's menu is $100 and up with advance reservations), surpasses the still more exorbitant see-and-be-seen scenes. Don’t overlook the cooked dishes and specials, which make the most out of the rare and seasonal: a grilled yellowtail jaw, amazingly moist and tender, is armored with crispy caramelized bits. Nuggets of lightly fried flounder fillet crown the fish’s equally delicious, delicate, extra-crispy skeleton. A saucer of raw quail’s egg atop a pile of shredded daikon, green onion, and wasabi is meant to be mixed into a cup of cold tea and used as a dip for green-tea buckwheat noodles. Even simple dishes like thin grilled slices of steaky beef tongue or a tender sectioned squid come off like they were born, raised, and sacrificed just for you.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
Payment Type: American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, Other


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