ELMHURST – The quest of a Chicago-area sushi fan often comes down to two things – quality and affordability.
Both can be tough to come by, particularly in the right balance. But those looking for fresh, quality sushi at a price that's hard to beat need look no further than Sushi Time in Elmhurst.
A friend and I went to the location along York Street for a late lunch, and the small eatery was completely full. A waiter immediately offered to take my name and number to call me when a table was free in a couple minutes. I rarely have a problem with a short wait for seating, and this was the case where it was worthwhile.
The restaurant had an interesting array of dishes, including a variety of noodles and hibachi selections and a lot of excellent lunch specials, but we were there for the fish. Still, we led off with an order of crab rangoon, which ended up being a delicious decision. Each was fried very well, holding a good deal of filling without becoming too soggy or oily. The crab and cream cheese mixture inside was a fun, sweet combination that had us both reaching for more.
In what can only be described as eager greed, we decided to split a sushi lunch special, with any two "regular" rolls for $10.95, then a pair of special rolls. A few minutes later, when we saw gigantic piles of fish and rice being delivered to our table, we knew our eyes may have been bigger than our stomachs.
Still, the sushi itself was some of the best for its price in the area. Our two basic rolls – salmon mango and shrimp tempura – were both simple yet well balanced and very tasty. The mango in particular seemed like it could have been a sweet gimmick, but it paired very well with the large hunk of salmon contained in each individual bite.
Though we were impressed by the quality of those basic rolls, the more complex ones won us over. We opted for the caterpillar and sweet heart rolls. The caterpillar was a veggie roll, with sweet potato, fried onion, asparagus, cucumber, radish sprout and a mound of avocado on top. I'm not usually one for veggie rolls, but this one really hit the spot. The Sweet Heart may have been my personal favorite, with shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber and topped with spicy tuna, eel sauce and spicy mayo.
What was particularly interesting and appreciated was the lack of sauce. So many places really smother their rolls with them – I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy them, but the fact that they generally took a back seat to the taste of the fillings really accentuated how good the actual sushi was.
To top off the very fine meal, we had very attentive service aside from a misunderstanding about what to do with the check. Service was attentive but not overly so, and it seemed like it would be a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner.
The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Suburban Life Media. The diner's identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. Only positive dining experiences will result in published reviews.
If you go
WHAT: Sushi Time
WHERE: 113 N. York St., Elmhurst
HOURS: Lunch: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner: 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday
DRESS CODE: Casual