Happy 2nd Valentine's Birthday to Kai Sushi in East Village


Think about sitting outdoors in warmer weather.

The unlikely pairing of Mongolian brothers and a Japanese sushi restaurant has turned out to be a successful match. Kai Sushi, 1406 W. Grand Ave., celebrates it's second birthday on Valentine's Day.

Coming from a land-locked country, brothers Unurbayar (John) and Ayush (Billy) Tsendsuren were not exposed to fish during their early years.  In 2000, they came to the U.S. looking for greater opportunities, they settled in Florida. Fish and seafood not only became part of John's diet but he began working in a sushi restaurant.


Chef John Tsendsuren's hands fly as he creates one of his famous rolls

The job gave him more than the opportunity to perfect English as his second language and earn money, it forged a pathway for his future.  He realized that being in the sushi bar business was something he enjoyed. Brother Billy also went into the food business.

They decided to move to Chicago in 2005. "I came to Chicago because it was bigger and more diverse with greater opportunities," John explains. And the opportunities did come. He became the opening managing partner of the Sit Down, a café and sushi bar in Hyde Park and went on from there. As Chef Tsendsuren, John perfected his

craft in Nomi at Park Hyatt, Sunda, Kamehachi and Ra Sushi. Billy too honed his skills as a chef.

The concept of having a friendly neighborhood establishment tugged at both of them and Kai Sushi was born on Feb. 14, 2011. Now this family oriented establishment is catering sushi lunch in the cafeterias of large downtown office buildings daily. They deliver and do private catering as well.

With daily fish deliveries, their various menu items are always fresh, whether  sushi, sashimi or makimono, Kai Sushi or vegetable rolls. There menu is on line.


These tables can be overflowing with dining guest from all over the world

They are open daily and BYOB. It is advisable to call for reservations 312.733.9083 at Weekdays: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Weekends: open at 2 p.m., closing at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday.

This writer has enjoyed absolutely everything that I have tried on the menu.  My favorite is Green Turtle. The soy paper wrapped avocado, salmon, mango and masago dipped in soy sauce with a piece of ginger and a dab of wasabi dances on your tongue!

They often serve a complimentary dish of the crispest raw cucumbers you have ever enjoyed with sesame seeds and a splash of sauce. While I tend to prefer Pinot Grigo wine over Chardonnay, I find that Sauvignon Blanc is a better pairing with all my Kai Sushi choices. 

Share your dining experiences at Kai Sushi!


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