The Aurora/Naperville area, no stranger to sushi bars, recently welcomed Sushi +, a chic newcomer that quickly has become a popular favorite among fans of the cuisine.
Jason Chooi's new rotary sushi bar, on the perimeter of the Westfield Fox Valley mall, definitely merits attention.
Sushi +4430 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora, (630) 820-1666, rotarysushi.com
Cuisine: Rotary sushi bar
Entrees: $1.50 to $6.50
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday
The restaurant showcases an ample selection of salads, specialty rolls, sashimi, nigiri and other dishes by placing them in a refrigerated, covered conveyor belt that slowly passes seated diners. See something that catches your fancy? Simply pop open a lid and claim it.
The automated process, common in Japan, is well-executed at Sushi + where placards briefly describe every tapas-size item in the passing parade. And there's no mystery about the cost, since each serving plate is color-coded (from $1.50 to $6.50).
Two disciplined eaters can feast here for less than $40, excluding alcohol.
Upon arrival, diners are greeted with warm, moist paper towels. Chopsticks, soy sauce, pickled ginger and dipping vessels are all at hand, though I'd encourage management to consider supplying fresh wasabi rather than the cumbersome institutional plastic packages of the condiment.
Every time the moving belt completes its circuit, it seems, the number of dishes it carries is either replenished or replaced by entirely different examples of the edible artistry of chef A.J. Mei and his team. Two especially whimsical creations appeared late during my recent visit, so I was able to consume them only vicariously: a striking Volcano Roll that erupted with a fiery red fish roe and the Tokyo Sandwich, in which rice was formed into a perfect stand-in as the "bread."
However, I can recommend as a satisfying starter the spicy squid salad. It featured tender, gently seasoned baby squid accompanied by unidentified but agreeable Japanese vegetables.
Diners can expand their options by also picking made-to-order items from a printed menu. Deep-fried soft-shell crab, served on a bed of lettuce, was delicious and came with a ponzu (citrus-seasoned soy) dipping sauce.
An order of a roll named Incredible lived up to its name -- each of its four pieces combining eel, avocado and spicy mayonnaise, topped with wasabi mayonnaise and green tobiko (fish roe). Tuna Tataki, a dish recommended by our server, was nicely executed, too, bringing together slices of seasoned, thinly sliced, seared fish layered with mango and tomato.
Spicy tuna also played a starring role in a well-made four-piece Red Dragon roll, while a shared order of vegetable tempura that included broccoli, zucchini, onions, sweet potatoes and green beans added balance to the meal while a bowl of firm coconut pudding provided a sweet note.
Sushi + gets high marks for its striking contemporary decor: subdued black and cream color scheme complemented by vivid orange accents and dark mirrors. High backs to the booths add a touch of privacy.
• Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.