Union Sushi & Barbeque Bar

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This River North neighborhood spot blends Japanese cuisine with a distinctly American flair. A full sushi menu with maki and nigiri shares space with a barbecue bar serving kushiyaki, skewers of whole squid, garlic-soy lamp chop, prosciutto-wrapped scallop and other proteins, cooked on a 600-degree robata grill (check out the kushiyaki video on the owners' website, mikeandchaochow.com). Helmed by executive chef Worachai Thapthimkuna (simply known as "Chao"), formerly of Sushi Wabi, the menu is filled with inventive snacks and starters such as oxtail dumplings, crabcake sliders or buffalo duck wings. The drink list features affordable sake along with seasonal handcrafted cocktails designed by the boys behind Bittercube. The American-inspired space is walled with in-your-face colorful graffiti art.