In Japan, you can find some of the coolest dining hidden in plain sight, up or down a flight of stairs in an entertainment district. Of all Chicago’s growing number of high-end sushi counters, the jewel box Omakase Room best replicates that experience. To enter, you climb a flight of unmarked stairs from the boisterous restaurant below to a small vestibule; once all the guests have gathered, the doors fling open to a kind of sanctum sanctorum, where chefs Kaze Chan and Shigeru Kitano are high priests of raw fish. The tasting menu, one of the city’s more expensive ($250), coddles guests with repeat appearances of otoro and caviar, but it also succeeds in introducing Chicagoans to imported Japanese fish, such as mature halfbeak from Tokyo Bay. If the meal goes according to plan, the eight people gathered around the U-shaped bar will have become fast friends by the time the finale of uni ice cream arrives. 63 W. Grand Ave.
3 The Omakase Room at Sushi-San
Near North Side