Remember in elementary school when you heard from another kid that the sixth grade teacher was getting a divorce from her husband, and then a few weeks later you heard that the gym teacher was getting a divorce from his wife, and you hoped divorce wasn’t like some kind of germ that could infect your parents and then you’d have to go to the zoo like every three weeks with your dad on his weekends, and then the shocking news came that the sixth grade teacher and the gym teacher were actually getting married to each other, which absolutely shook your sixth grade mind with the power of adults to just completely upend your world and remake it anew? Well, something like that feeling comes with the news in Dish yesterday that the Jason Chan split from Urban Union and the B.K. Park split from Arami aren’t two stories, they’re the same story. And Chan and Park are working together on a new Japanese sushi and seafood restaurant.
Details are sketchy, because as Dish points out, the location they’re looking at has an existing restaurant (so watch closings in the next month or two), and the name is going through trademark searches and so on, and all they’ll say is, it isn’t in the West Loop. But Dish does fill out some of the details of how it came to be, at least. Chan apparently left Urban Union way back in April, but successfully kept it quiet, and supposedly he didn’t approach Park until about two weeks after he left Arami— which would give the two of them only about the last week or so to have conceived a 100-seat seafood and sushi restaurant and to have signed on its space. Chan does stress the seafood focus, telling Dish, “I want to do more seafood. King crab, lobster, all varieties of seafood.”
Meanwhile Arami reopened on July 10 after about two weeks of retooling the menu and adding two robata grill stations. “We lost five [menu] items, but we gained about 15,” says owner Ty Fujimura about Arami’s new focus on cooked foods. What he doesn’t say it has gained is a replacement sushi chef, so it remains to be seen whether Arami is still trying to offer the level of cut-to-order sushi service that it did at the bar when Park was there. Anybody been? UPDATE: Reader Mike Fishman tweeted us, “Went to Arami last weekend. Robata was delicious. Sat at the bar and sushi seemed to still be cut to order.” In response to that Scott Malloy, a chef at Arami, tweeted in reply: “We have changed nothing about the way we execute our sushi. Quality in quality out. Specials to return this week… if anything we are now more particular. we taste sauces to make sure they are the same as previous batch.” [Dish]