Nothing makes you feel like a local more than having your go-to sushi spot. It’s one of the clear signs of being settled. You know your nearby Divvy station availability patterns, you’re on a first name basis with your favorite CVS cashier (what up Curtis), and you’ve got a reliable sushi spot. Sushi restaurants are notoriously difficult to judge by their covers, so settling on your go-to requires a decent amount of trial and error. And in Chicago, finding fish that actually tastes like it came from a body of water isn’t easy. But there she is, Kyoto, shining like a beacon on one of the frattiest, darkest strips in the depths of DePaul.
Kyoto looks and feels like your average local sushi spot. It’s set below street level on a block of salons, bars, and takeout counters, so if you walk by too quickly, you’d easily miss it. But inside, it’s pretty lively. On the weekdays, it’s a great place to casually feed your date a crunchy salmon roll, and on the weekends Kyoto is filled with groups taking full advantage of the BYOB privileges. They really cram the tables in there too, so hopefully you brought enough Sapporo Lite to share with the people next to you.
What really makes Kyoto stand above the rest, though, is that their sushi is really damn good. You can stick to your safe spicy tunas and edamame here, but we’d suggest branching out. After all, you’re probably going to be back.
This is some legitimately fresh fish. Large chunks of spicy tuna sashimi with shallots and sesame oil. Our only complaint is that the wonton chips are so light and so flaky, it prohibits the amount of tuna we can pile on.
Our favorite appetizer on the menu. Flat spheres of rice topped with scallions, soy sauce, truffle oil, and super white tuna. Step it up a notch and make it a Spicy Snowball with some added spicy mayo and chili oil.
Pork or vegetable, they’re pretty comparable. These pot stickers are your standard pot stickers. Good but not great. Don’t waste your time when the fish is quality.
One of the house favorites. It’s partly sweet, partly spicy, and completely filling. Salmon, cucumber, and spicy mayo topped with avocado, honey, masago, and crunchiness.
The roll for your friend who only likes their fish deep fried. It’s good, but I think it would make people in Japan cry. Shrimp, crab, cucumber, masago, cream cheese and spicy mayo, all deep fried.
The whole enchilada and then some: shrimp tempura, unagi, sweet crab, masago, and mayo rolled in avocado and topped with crunchies and unagi. It’s a lot, but somehow still good. The privilege of eating this much fish in one roll costs $17.