Torajiro Sushi is an unassuming little restaurant around the corner from where I live in Lakeview. The tiny, garden level spot barely has any street sign announcing it’s location – but what it lacks in signage and space, it more than makes up for with quality sushi at great (cheap) prices. I’ve been looking for a good sushi restaurant in the neighborhood. Sushi Toro is a bit further down in our neighborhood and is supposed one of the top local favorite sushi spots in the city. But every time we walk past, it’s packed out with something like an hour-plus wait. Every. Single. Time. And there’s also Ponzu Sushi across the street from Toro, which is excellent and I highly recommend it. Someday I’ll make it to Sushi Toro . . . right? Right??
But this past week’s heat wave pretty much zapped any energy I had for cooking and we wanted something really close by – most restaurants within 1-2 blocks were deemed either too heavy or rowdy (maybe next time, Duffy’s!).
And there IS another sushi restaurant totally within walking distance – Sushi Para, but that place is a dump. So we decided to give Torajiro a try – and we were glad we did!
The restaurant is very intimate (and by intimate, I mean small), with very limited seating – only 6 or 7 tables on the left as you walk in, with a small sushi bar on the right. We were the only ones there on an early Thursday evening – so the place was quiet, but the staff was extra friendly and didn’t make it seem stilted or awkward . . . you know, like in some places where the slightest whisper is magnified and you feel weird for making any little noise. This place was very laid back and casual.
We ordered a variety of items, including a special: steamed seafood shumai to start, followed by California rolls and several maki and sushi rolls. The special was the ‘White Dragon’ – tempura shrimp with cucumber and avocado roll, topped with white tuna and dipping sauce. Delicious. My favorites are always spider rolls, volcano rolls and the negi hamachi with some hot saki. Yummers.
The menu featured all the usual sushi standards and there was a good selection of fried items and other Japanese selections as well. Service was great (and should’ve been, considering we were the only customers) and our server was very friendly and informed us his dad is the sushi chef, his mom helps run the place and he and his sister fill in as servers.
So of course I felt extra good about supporting a family business – but that’s not the only reason I’ll be back. The fish on our items was extremely fresh and rolled with great care and presentation. This quality, combined with the prices for everything we ordered, makes this place pretty solid. And makes me feel pretty lucky to live around the corner from this tucked away, Lakeview gem.
- Name – Torajiro Sushi
- Neighborhood – Lakeview
- Where – 432 W Diversey Ave
- Phone – (773) 477-5000
- Meals – Dinner during the week, Lunch and Dinner on weekends
- Attire – Super-Casual