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U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Sampling Sushi

Quality of Japanese dish varies at different locations
Sampling+Sushi
Eliza Dearing

Whether walking through aisles of a neighborhood grocery store or down the sidewalks of Hyde Park, sushi can be found in every neighborhood, despite its upscale perception. From high-end restaurants to grocery stores, the Japanese dish can be enjoyed as a cultural experience or simply as a quick snack. 

Sushi first arrived in the United States in the early 1900s, following an influx of Japanese immigration, and reached widespread popularity by the 1960s. The dish debuted in American grocery stores in 1986. 

We reviewed three places of different grades of sushi: a chain grocery store, a takeout-only location and an upscale downtown restaurant. From each, we tried one salmon maki and one specialty maki.

 

Grocery store: Jewel-Osco

Dish sampled: chef’s platter: salmon roll and rainbow roll ($13.99)

Rating 3/5:

 

 

Photograph provided by Sahana Unni

With 37 Chicago Jewel-Osco locations, the Chicagoland supermarket chain has an impressive variety of sushi roll types ranging from the traditional salmon roll to the “Mango Con Chile Roll,” with prices comparable to many restaurants despite being a grocery store.

Since the sushi is refrigerated, the rice was cold and hard to the touch. This also caused the fish to be overly firm. The salmon roll had too much rice in proportion to the salmon, making it difficult to taste the fish. The rainbow roll had this same problem but to a lesser extent because there was more cucumber, avocado and imitation crab fillings to balance out the rice. There was also a good-size raw piece of fish on the top. 

However, we found that there was not enough soy sauce for the amount of sushi given, and the wasabi was not spicy enough. Visually, the rolls were displayed nicely, but we did notice the fish color — particularly the tuna — was duller in comparison to the other sushi we tried, most likely due to the freshness of the fish. 

Overall, Jewel-Osco is undoubtedly a convenient way to eat the Japanese delicacy but falls short in taste and price. 

Takeout-only restaurant: Kikuya

Dish sampled: Alaskan maki ($7.50), spider maki ($8.75)

Rating 4/5:

 

 

Photograph provided by Audrey Park

Kikuya is located at 1601 E. 55th St. in Hyde Park and is a takeout-only restaurant. With a quick phone call, ordering the sushi was a simple process. That being said, we would recommend using their delivery service instead of food delivery apps such as Grubhub and UberEats, as it was much cheaper with only a $5 delivery fee. However, it did take around 75 minutes for us to get our food. While eating from a  takeout-only restaurant is easy, you lose the restaurant ambiance and an immediate meal. 

The sushi itself was satisfying. The fish tasted fresh, and the rice had a good flavor. We particularly enjoyed the spider maki, which was composed of fried soft shell crab, cucumber and spicy mayonnaise. The crab combined with the flavorful sauce and freshness of the cucumber was delicious. It was also a break from the typical raw fish sushi rolls. The Alaskan maki was also sufficient but was not outstanding in any regard. 

Given Kikuya’s reasonable prices, they provided a generous amount of fish in each roll, and each piece of sushi in the six-piece rolls were quite large. Although we missed the restaurant environment, Kikuya provides a great option for a night in.

Upscale restaurant: Kamehachi

Dish sampled: Spicy salmon deluxe ($10), summer roll ($15)

Rating 4.5/5:

 

 

Photograph provided by Audrey Park

Kamehachi has locations in Old Town and Northbrook, with the former being the first sushi bar in Chicago when it opened in 1967. Having visited the Old Town location at 1531 N. Wells St., the ambiance and incredible sushi made for a unique and delightful experience. While many menu items are expensive, with some rolls costing up to $19, the quality of the fish was unmatched. 

The spicy salmon deluxe, in particular, was astonishing in how buttery and smooth the salmon was. With each bite, it melted in our mouths. We also tried a Kamehachi specialty, the summer roll, which had a remarkably fresh taste due to the cilantro and jalapeno. However, the tuna and yellowtail featured in this roll were not comparable to the salmon despite being far more expensive. Additionally, the rice-to-fish ratio was impressive in both makis, although at times we wished there was less rice. 

Along with the food, one of the best aspects of Kamehachi is its environment. The fairy lights strung on the ceiling and the comfortable booths created a sense of coziness. 

While eating at Kamehachi may put a dent in your wallet, the evident quality of the menu items makes it worth the price.

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About the Contributors
Audrey Park
Audrey Park, Editor-in-Chief
Audrey Park is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief. She began writing for the Midway in the 2020-21 school year when she was in ninth grade. Her favorite story she has written is about University of Chicago nurses seeking solutions for the uninsured. She loves journalism because of its ability to represent and reflect multiple perspectives. Audrey also enjoys reading, traveling and playing card games. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Clare McRoberts and Sahana Unni) superior 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, general feature Story: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Affirmative Apprehension — Expert input: Law professor explains case” 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, online package 2023 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, news story: excellent 2022 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, St. Louis convention: Honorable mention, editorial writing 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Misinformation solutions rely on regulation, media literacy”
Sahana Unni
Sahana Unni, Editor-in-Chief
Sahana Unni is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief. She began journalism as a ninth grader in the 2020-21 school year and has since appreciated the exposure to different ideas and perspectives. Her favorite story she has written is about the Jane Collective, a group of women who provided safe abortions before the procedure was legalized in the early 1970s. Outside of journalism, Sahana enjoys creative writing and reading, while also serving as an editor-in-chief of the Renaissance literary magazine and a captain of the Mock Trial team.
Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Audrey Park and Clare McRoberts) superior 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, personal opinion: on-campus issues, "New auditorium name at odds with values" 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Second place (with Zara Siddique), photo layout: full page (Page 3) 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Certificate of merit, news feature, “Dazzling drag city” 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, online package 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Cultural feature, certificate of merit, "‘Bridgerton’ effectively represents Indian culture" 2022 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, St. Louis convention: Honorable mention, feature writing 2020 National Scholastic Press Association Fall Best of Show: Sixth Place, Election Reporting (contributor), “As trailblazer for multiple identities, Harris inspires students”
Eliza Dearing
Eliza Dearing, Artist
Eliza Dearing is a member of the Class of 2024 and is an artist for the U-High Midway. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, original editorial cartoon, drawing or comic: superior 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Second place, art/illustration: hand-drawn, “Affirmative Apprehension”

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