Sushi out of Water: South Coast Sushi

By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 5, 2008 4:00PM

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Chicagoland sushi is always a touchy subject with food aficionados. Some argue that Midwestern cities will never have even halfway decent sushi, and that those of us who crave sushi should either give up and eat beef or spend our entire incomes on overnight shuttles to Los Angeles. While it is certainly true that Chicago abounds with mediocre sushi restaurants, there are a few that rise to the top.

South Coast Sushi, the South Loop sister restaurant to Bucktown's Coast Sushi, seems to have figured out the trick to running a Japanese restaurant 1000 miles from the nearest body of salt water. The staff will suggest which of the fish selections are freshest that night, so those who like their fish unadorned will know what to pick. Their menu is also filled with other innovative dishes that require slightly less-than-pristine seafood. The “corny tuna” is our favorite appetizer, with lime-marinated tuna mixed with roasted corn, jalapeño, cilantro and avocado.

For those who want to stick to sushi, try the spicy scallop maki – the soft, creamy raw scallops compliments the spicy mayo perfectly. The restaurants signature maki are definitely for the American audience, as only one of them doesn’t involve some kind of mayonnaise. Even so, if you can take off your sushi-snob hat they’re extremely tasty – we especially liked the Coast Crab, which mixes king crab, scallions, masago and red tobiko, all topped with tempura crumble. They also have some cheap, intriguing side munchies to try – the seaweed tempura and the crispy carrot noodles were especially good.

South Coast Sushi is located at 1700 South Michigan. OPen 4:30-11 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 4:30-10 p.m. Sunday. Phone is 312-662-1700. There is a limited amount of free, reserved parking for guests.