4:39 PM sians 0 Comments

it's been a busy week with work and catching up with my japanese class that i missed. hence the lack of updates.

ryan was here for the weekend and me being me, i already planned out our food itinerary for the three days. and japanese food at arami was on the menu :) i've heard a ton of great things about this restaurant since its opening. i've been wanting to try this place for a while now and when we managed to fit arami in our schedule, i was uber ecstatic.

located in ukranian village, if you aren't specifically pay attention while finding the restaurant, you might miss it. well, okay i admit that we did. even though we parked right across the street from it, we walked a block AWAY from it. -.- best thing to do is to know the the address so that you can find the location easier (which we forgot to check). thank goodness ryan had the phone number to the restaurant so he called them..

the hiragana reads 'arami'! the japanese classes are paying off :p
there were some high tables and a bar as we entered the restaurant.

as we were led towards the back dining room, we walked past the sushi bar on the left where i could see the sushi chefs hard at work and on the right was a mural of mountains.

i loved the feel/ambience of the back dining area where there were roof windows (mad love) and glass doors that framed some of the bamboo plants outside. it felt cozy and home-y. <3  although, due to the petite small space, the tables were a tad too close for my liking.

i wanted to try the different things they had to offer but we ordered a few nigiri, a few maki mono, and two appetizers.

they also had different types of tea which i think is a must with japanese cuisine and i asked our waitress what her favorite was. she suggested the tangerine ginger tea which i wasn't quite a big fan of. i traded with ryan for his jasmine tea which was more my style. (poor ryan!) the teas were brewed by the cup :)

ryan also ordered a glass of sake ($10) where 70% of its proceeds go to the japan relief fund. i liked the crispness and the fruity flavor of the sake. ryan doesn't really like fruity alcohol so it was just alright for him. unfortunately, i can't remember the name of the drink :(

appetizer | madai kama . japanese red snapper collar ($6)

chef morimoto has always said on iron chef that he thinks that the fish collar is the one of most flavorful parts of the fish.  i wanted to taste how true this is. the collar was served with sweet soy sauce and topped with scallions. the soy sauce wasn't sweet but the fish was fresh and yummy. a tad difficult to eat with chopsticks and despite all the struggle with chopsticks, ryan said it's been a while since he had snapper that good. it is was on the special menu so it might not always be available.

appetizer | seared hotate . pan seared scallops . unagi . mushroom . shiro miso . ($12)

one for each of us. :) except ryan ate that one piece of unagi without knowing that was the only one and he said it was really delicious. i can't tell cos i didn't have any (sad face). the scallop itself had a decent sear but was seasoned and cooked beautifully. and goes so well with the shiro miso (white miso) which had a light savory flavor with the umami of the mushroom. mm mm..delicious.

nigiri sushi | maguro otoro . fatty tuna ($8 a piece)

okay, it's a tad pricey but... they were offering fatty tuna! otoro is the fattiest portion of tuna, found on the very underside of the fish. i've heard great things about fatty tuna about how they melt in your mouth and stuff and i wanted to taste how it differs from regular tuna. the way it was served at arami: generous amount of tuna atop good sushi rice (where u can taste each grain instead of a mess of mushed rice). the way the sushi chef sliced it made it easier to take bites without embarassing yourself in front of your date with tuna/rice/food falling all over the place. the tuna had an amazing flavor and it felt like it melted in my mouth. yummy! not so much for ryan though.

special maki mono | double sake . salmon . scallion . zuke salmon . lemon mayo ($13)

all i can say is: OMG so delicioushuge huge favorite of the night. it took me a while to find out what zuke is but it really means marinated. so true to its namesake, there are salmon wrapped around the fish and inside the roll itself which had contributed to textural difference and flavor. it was delicate but with a burst of flavor and the citrus from the light drizzle of lemon mayo brought out the freshness of the salmon while still letting the fish shine. what i also love was that it wasn't a huge amount of rice so the main highlight was the salmon itself. no soy sauce or wasabi needed for me and that's a first. huge nom nom vote from me.

special maki mono | hirame spicy tako . spicy octopus . fluke . ginger apple dressing . ($13)

another favorite of ours.  hirame is fluke and tako is octopus in japanese. so it's a spicy tako roll wrapped with hirame and topped with a small slice of apple. lovely combination of spicy, sweetness and tartness. what was awesome about this roll was that you can still savor the flavor of the delicate fluke then have that slight spicy bite at the back of the throat from the octopus which is then cooled by the apple slice. and what made it even better was the spiciness didn't linger in the mouth so i could still taste the other light and delicate flavors after one of these. once again, wasabi and soy sauce not needed. i am also grateful that it was sushi roll with a light amount of dressing and not sauce served with a side of sushi like a few places i've been. thumbs up! :)

dessert | mochi ice cream ($4)

three mochi with flavors of our choice to end our meal: green tea, mango and red bean. they were good but i could probably get these from mitsuwa. the dessert was served with a side of preserved kumquats with pink peppercorn which i enjoyed.

arami has climbed its way up to my most favorite japanese restaurant. it tops even my favorite cherry sushi in san jose but just barely. ryan agreed that it's probably one of his top chicago restaurants. a petite sushi restaurant serving dishes with bursts of flavor done with finesse called arami.

as they say it in japanese: おいしい (oishii which means delicious!)

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others
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