Wagyu Flat Iron (credit: Roka Akor)

5 incredible omakase menus on a sane budget

By Anthony Todd

Omakase means you can expect that master sushi chefs will put together a dining experience that will blow your mind. It can also mean blowing your paycheck, with the bill reaching easily into the triple digits—per person. But it doesn’t have to. Here are five places in Chicago where you can treat yourself to omakase for well under $100.

Arami—still one of the best sushi restaurants in town
This Chicago Avenue spot has been turning out great sushi for years, and while it's not super trendy anymore, the quality hasn't dipped one bit. Plus, the soaring, skylighted back dining room is one of the prettiest places to eat on the West Side. Go for the chef's choice sashimi, which will include the freshest fish in the house, and usually runs between $60 and $70 depending on the market price of what’s included—ask if you want to be double sure of the deal. Either way, expect to leave feeling refreshed and zen.

At Juno, a lucky few can be served by a master
Chef B.K. Park is one of Chicago’s sushi masters, and his omakase table is available to only a small number of groups per night. You have to reserve it in advance, but if you’re lucky enough to snag this rare pleasure, you’ll see some seriously awesome feats of sushi plating. If the chef doesn't already give it to you, make sure to request the special smoked sashimi, served under a glass dome and smelling of coastal woods - you won't be disappointed.

The secret may be out, but Kai Zan is still an incredible find
Kai Zan used to be one of Chicago’s best-kept sushi secrets. Lately, this former BYOB hole in the wall has expanded and gone slightly upscale, but the quality is still there. The most famous (and still best) option is the omakase, which only will run you about $60 for 10 or more courses. Best of all, you can add on course by course; the chefs at the sushi bar will ask you if you’re full, and are happy to throw on another dish (or five) at a reasonable price.

Momotaro—indulge in the good life without overeating
Chicago’s newest splashy Japanese spot, Momotaro boasts a combination of breathtaking design and equally breathtaking prices. The omakase (whether it’s sushi or sashimi) a pretty decent deal, though it isn’t quite as filling as other places in town. But considering the beautiful ambiance, innovative new takes on modern nigiri, and Japanese whiskey, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.

Leave it to the chefs at Roka Akor to bring omakase to exciting new places
Roka Akor is an unusual combination of sushi, seafood, and robata (Japanese grilled meats) and its “omakase” is probably technically just a tasting menu. But who cares! It’s a great opportunity to try more of the awesome items on this menu, from fresh sea urchin to lightly grilled Wagyu beef. While you can keep things in budget here, Roka Akor caters to ballers, too—if you want to do some serious luxury spending, this is a good place to take your date.

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