153 Akira

The Butt’ry sign still hangs above 1137 Greenleaf, but upon entering 153 Akiza, Wilmette’s new Japanese restaurant, there is no hint of the former’s heavy Eastern European standards.

The lunch menu still has the homemade soups and sandwiches the Butt’ry was famous for, but Japanese bento boxes have now been added to the mix.

Redecorated to reflect the new menu, the sushi bar sits front and center, dominating the small space. Tables with starched white tablecloths and red napkins add an elegant touch to the atmosphere, while soft, Asian-inspired music plays in the background.

The name, 153 Akiza, has been taken from the Bible story in which a fisherman who put his faith in God caught 153 fish. The new owner brings tasty and unique recipes from his native town of Osaka to Wilmette.

The dinner menu now is devoted to a large selection of innovative Japanese favorites, and offers a large selection of fresh fish as well as wonderful Japanese standards such as teriyaki, tempura, and noodle dishes, all featuring impressive, artistic presentations.

In addition to the standard sushi fare they also offer many interesting and unique sushi rolls–even the most experienced sushi-lover will not be disappointed. I ordered one called “Forest Ocean”, which consisted of a combination of fish and vegetables with a “kick”; instead of being wrapped in seaweed it came wrapped in a delicate yellow bean paper.

For the non-sushi lover, the delicious Tonkatsu, a pork cutlet lightly breaded and fried, is standout. For a wonderful light appetizer, try Kaniso, a crab-wrapped cucumber salad or their delicious gonzo dumplings. The portions were extremely large and the prices incredibly reasonable.

Additionally, there is a fine beer and wine selection and the wait staff is extremely friendly and efficient. Akiza seems a little hidden on the quiet Greenleaf Street and during our visit there last Saturday night, it seemed that many people were not yet aware of the arrival of this new neighbor. Akiza is a new neighbor well worth having. Stop by–you won’t be sorry.