Hours: Lunch, Dinner: seven days
Open Late: Friday & Saturday till 11:30
River North sushi restaurant next to the AMC River East.
Living up to the pun, Niu Japanese Fusion Lounge rolls out a new wave of innovative preparations that blend traditions and build on not typically Asian ingredients such as cilantro, avocado, and spicy mayo. Niu also serves up very fresh-tasting raw stuff in generous bowls of chirashi and nigiri available by the piece. Salmon is flown in daily from Norway, and every piece of sashimi we sampled carried the pristine kiss of the sea. Still, fusion dishes, though reasonably flavorful, seem to lack lively seafood snap: popular jalapenos stuffed with crab and cream cheese tasted mostly of cream cheese, and fresh oysters on crunchy garlic toast tasted mostly of crunchy garlic toast. There are some exceptional sake options: a flight of three, ranging in intensity from cloudy and heavy to light and fruity, is an eye-opening introduction to the range achievable in rice wine; sake with Chambord successfully harmonized sharp and sweet notes and would work as either an aperitif or dessert beverage. Service is bright, friendly, and informative, and chef Jackson Mou (Nobu, Sai Cafe) has assembled an imaginative team in the kitchen. The lounge stays open till 2.
Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa