Kuni's 

Dining Description:  This casual neighborhood Japanese restaurant offers carryout as well as sit-down dining. Edamame makes a pleasing starter, as do appetizers like gomae (spinach with sesame sauce) and gyoza (dumplings), and one Rater singles out the tempura for praise--"light as air, crispy enough to crunch just right, and not a drop of grease to be found." For the optimum experience another Rater recommends sitting at the sushi bar and accepting chef Kuni San's picks, one piece at a time. Service is cordial, accommodating, and especially considerate of families.

User Rating:  ★★★★★ ★★★★★ by 9 Users

Hours:  Lunch: Monday, Wednesday-Saturday
Dinner: Sunday-Monday, Wednesday-Saturday
Closed Tuesday

Price:  $$$

Features:  Menu

Dining Features:  Beer/Wine, Carryout, Wheelchair-Accessible, Dinner, Open Sunday, Open Monday, Reservations for Large Groups Only

Payment Type:  American Express, MasterCard, Visa

Neighborhood:  Evanston

Reviews / Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

★★★★★ ★★★★★

My husband and I have gone to more than a dozen sushi places in Chicago, including the popular Clark Street sushi places in Wrigleyville, and this is our favorite. The food is consistently excellent, whether it's the maki and sushi, sashimi, or life-giving soba noodle soup with tempura veggies. The service is quick and courteous. The atmosphere is quiet and comfortable.

report 1 like, 0 dislikes   
Posted by sarah bright on 10/19/2007 at 6:25 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Extraordinarily good Japanese restaurant. The gyoza were a picture of perfection, unlike any I've seen, and tasted great. The tempura, similarly, was perfect. It set a new standard in my experience - light as air, crispy enough to crunch just right, and not a drop of grease to be found. The dipping sauces, alas, were nothing special but it really didn't matter.

The sushi is way above average, the burdock rolls being particularly interesting for the crunch in the center of the creamy rice and a fresh vegetable taste.

I've tried at least a dozen Japanese restaurants around town and this is by far the best. No posing, glitz, or trendenistas in sight, just outstanding Japanese food.

report 1 like, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Paul Fehribach on 07/29/2003 at 2:14 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Here is the formula to a sushi-eating experience like no other you will ever have in Chicago:

1) SIT AT THE SUSHI BAR. This is an absolute must. The key to an incredible meal is to be best buds with the owner and chef Kuni San, and this simply is impossible to achieve if he only knows you as a green order slip.

2) SKIP THE MENU. Pass the menu to the chicken teriyaki lovers and simply ask Kuni San what he has today. In fact, during your first few visits, let Kuni San recommend fish for you to try. Often he has some exotic items like aji, fish pate, or yellowtail jaw. But even with the familiar items, like salmon or toro, he will offer you pieces that are super fresh and have incredible texture and flavor -- "the best part," as Kuni San always say.

3) SUSHI SHOULD BE PREPARED AND CONSUMED, ONE PIECE AT A TIME. Order one type of fish at a time, instead of a combination plate if at all possible. The fish tastes the best when consumed immediately after Kuni San places it on your plate.

4) GET ALL THE ATTENTION YOU CAN. Go during non-peak times, i.e. lunch time or weekday dinner time.

5) GET TO KNOW YOUR FISH. Watch Kuni San prepare the fish. Ask questions: he is extremely nice and knowledgeable and is always happy to talk about the different fish and where he gets them from.

Note: If your passion is rolls, go elsewhere. Not that the rolls are not good (nothing finishes off a meal better than "Mix-n-Match" roll with avocado), but the specialty here is fish, in its pure, fresh nakedness.

report 1 like, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Anne chen on 11/13/2002 at 6:15 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

We eat at Kuni's about every week. Having eaten at a number of other sushi places in Chicago and Evanston, our hands down favorite is Kuni's. Even my dad, who doesn't usually like Japanese food, likes it! The sushi is excellent, the cooked food is very good, and the staff are friendly. Service can suffer when they are busy - you sometimes have to ask for more water or tea - and this keeps me from giving it an overall 5. Sitting at the sushi bar watching Kuni-san and his two assistants is great fun - they are skilled and happy to answer any questions about what they are making, where the fish comes from, and so on. I particularly like that an order is ONE piece of sushi, not two. This way I am more likely to try different things. A Japanese friend says this restaurant is "Osaka style" and that many other area Japanese places are "Tokyo style."

report 1 like, 0 dislikes   
Posted by lee katman on 05/30/2002 at 11:40 AM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Better than average sushi joint, with slightly higher prices too.

(P.S. They also do a fine job with their orchids.)

report 0 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Bob Roth on 02/14/2000 at 2:29 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Kuni is a standard sushi restaurant. Nice enough inside with a pleasant staff. Food does not have the amazingly fresh flavor of some sushi places. A good place to eat when wanting to fulfill a sushi craving before a movie or party but not the place to go if the meal itself is your evening's main event.

report 0 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Bob Stroup on 12/02/2003 at 4:06 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

this is a sushi restaurant, and i didn't get sushi. they have some good non-sushi choices, but i think that the sushi-eaters in our party were more impressed. i got a dinner box which was a nice idea--a mix of a lot of different items: california roll, tempura, gomae, chicken teriyaki, a fried oyster, plus various garnishes. it was something of a mixed bag--the tempura seemed pretty oily to me, although tasty. i'm no judge of california rolls--this one seemed fine. the oyster was good but a little cold. the teriyaki was really good--next time i go, i'll order that. they aren't used to big groups but did a nice job with ours--handling lots of different orders and getting the right sushi pieces to the right people. but they don't give you the prices of the sushi if you don't order a specific assortment which made figuring out the bill a little tricky--i had to guess at what the final bill was because we all paid such different amounts based on guesses as to what we ordered cost--lucky we all get along well.

report 0 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by lc on 08/23/2000 at 2:23 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

After seeing Kuni's in the top 30% of rated restaurants, I expected a much more impressive experience. Instead, it was average to slightly-below-average. We waited an extremely long time to be served -- I know that maki are hand-made and so take time, but it seemed extreme. The ambience was fairly typical for straight-ahead sushi places, but we still felt the lights were too bright. Of the three maki we ordered, only one (the Sake Meat roll) was really quite good. The tekka maki and the albacore maki were both kind of mealy and not strikingly fresh. The menu was very typical for sushi places, which I guess isn't a negative mark, but after becoming accustomed to at least a few "signature" or innovative types of maki at other places we go, I was disappointed at the "boring" menu.

report 0 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Joe Germuska on 10/03/2004 at 12:06 PM
★★★★★ ★★★★★

Service: The waitress must have been having a really bad day b/c her unfriendly, somewhat impatient attitude made it quite clear that she would rather be elsewhere. We felt rushed in the beginning to chose our meals...and then our waitress was nowhere to be found!

Food: The sushi was very disappointing. The wonderful things about REAL Japanese sushi houses (which Kuni's is touted as being) are: 1. the solid quality and precision in the standard sushi/sashimi (e.g. tuna, salmon); and 2. the inventive creations that tickle the sushi chef's whim.

We decided to try a bit of both, but were sadly disappointed in both respects. The nori (seaweed) tasted as though it had been sitting in a steam room for the day; it was devoid of any toasty crispness. The sake (salmon) was fresh, but surrounded by very poorly prepared sushi rice. The unagi maki was drenched in an OVERLY salted sauce that was so watery that the rolls, themselves, were falling apart. Towards the middle of the meal the unagi maki became an inedible watery mess.

Perhaps Kuni-san was preoccupied with the conversation he was having with the couple sitting at the sushi bar b/c everything was overly salted. The Spider maki was nothing spectacular; which is sad b/c soft shell crab is such a delicacy!

Overall: There are PLENTY of other better sushi (quality, taste, service, price) places in the suburbs and Chicago - don't waste your money!

report 0 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Neko on 08/26/2002 at 1:10 PM

We are not Japanese food experts....once a year is good enough for us, and we didn't do the picking, but for whatever it's worth, this place seemed good enough. There were several entrees for the non-sushi people and you got enough teriyaki salmon for your money. The selection seemed wide enough for those who wanted to upgrade, and the place was certainly jumping for an Evanston place away from campus. The salad was 90 percent iceberg lettuse and one of the smallest tomatoes I ever saw in a small bowl... I don't know why they bothered!

report   
Posted by Judith Simon on 04/12/2008 at 12:53 PM
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a review