Inari Sushi and Sake Lounge, 7428 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park, is on the cusp of celebrating a milestone anniversary. For nearly 10 years the sushi-first establishment has been crafting noteworthy Japanese fare with focus on quality and attention to detail.
Affiliation with trailblazers Tank Sushi and Sushi Wabi in Chicago helped owner, Sara Kate, hone her skills in the restaurant industry. Her deep knowledge, industry connections and respect for top-quality ingredients helped her Elmwood Park eatery distinguish itself from others in the area.
And now, facing new challenges, Kate has transitioned Inari to offer first rate carry out and delivery fare.
All sushi and maki travel well, making them ideal carryout cuisine. Traditional maki rolls, like well-loved salmon avocado and Philadelphia rolls, can be ordered as part of Inari’s affordable lunch specials, but their array of specialty rolls are creative and colorful at any time of day.
Since we are all supposed to stay at home for the time being, it seemed fitting to order Inari’s S.T.A.Y Rolling specialty roll. The spicy and indulgent offering features salmon, tuna, avocado, and yellow tail with tempura crunch, sweet soy sauce and spicy mayonnaise.
Tis the season to try the X’mas roll, too. The rich and festive specialty roll is filled with spicy tuna, spicy snow crab and cucumber with a garnished of lobster, avocado, cherry red masago and sweet soy sauce.
In addition to stand out maki and sushi, Inari also offers bento boxes, poke bowls and ramen as well as wine, sake and martinis to-go. Kate was also quick to remind that Inari’s fried items travel better than most thanks to including a little egg yolk in the batter.
The yolk trick prevents Inari’s fried offerings from becoming soggy by creating a protective barrier that prevents excess oil absorption. The yolk also helps the coating fry to a pleasing golden brown while maintaining a crisp and delicate texture.
See the technique star in Inari’s crab ravioli. Packed with fresh crab and cream cheese, the appetizer is akin to crab rangoon frequently offered at Chinese and Thai restaurants, but Inari’s tempura style coating remains crunchy for an extended period. Garnishes of sweet soy sauce and masago elevate the dish.
The global pandemic has taken its toll on the diminutive sushi bar, but Kate remains optimistic. She notes that words of encouragement from community members have made a big difference during these dark days.
“Through this difficult time the Village of Elmwood Park and our customers from Oak Park and River Forest have been generous and supportive,” said Kate. “This year has shown us we are among good people.”
*All food items were ordered via carry out and plated at home.