Gimmicky Sushi Rolls are Alive and Well in Chicago

Kyu's salmon-caramel roll
Kyu’s salmon-caramel roll Photo: Kyu Sushi

Our New York siblings may be concerned about a downturn in sushi dining, but here in Chicago gourmet rolls appear to be doing just fine, thanks — and the weirder, the better. Two recent openings embody the sushi-as-performance-art trend: Kyu Sushi opened last month in Ukranian Village, offering unexpected items like a caramel-salmon roll brightened with tobiko and orange, and a BLT roll that’s exactly what it sounds like. Downtown, the old Farmerie 58 space has been reborn as Sushi Tayo, a sleek space that just screams “pre-clubbing dinner,” and the crazy-wild-anything-goes vibe extends into seasonal rolls like the autumnal Kobe Harvest, which features the unholy combination of salmon, tempura pumpkin, and Kobe beef.