The best experiences are those that transport you to a different place and time, like a '20s style speakeasy that makes you feel like a devil-may-care gangster, or Jurassic Park (II). Tastily taking you below sea level, Blue Ocean.
Opening Thursday, BO is a 120-seat contemporary Japanese resto and sushi bar that takes you tropical with bright blues, yellows, and magentas that combine with lighting and murals reminiscent of a coral reef for a distinct under the sea feel, sans the talking crabs and litter-obsessed mermaid just itching to drop shell. Along with the obligatory selection of classic sushi faves, they're putting their own spin on signature rolls like the Spicy Tataki (seared spicy salmon, chili oil, unagi sauce, pico de gallo, shrimp tempura), the Citrus Rainbow, a selection of fish over spicy tuna, marinated shitake mushrooms and ponzu sauce, and the only-in-Chicago Crunchy Melt, a shrimp tempura roll with cream cheese baked with melted mozzarella over the top, man enough to arm wrestle a truck driver, but only once it turns its hat backwards. Non-sushi but nonetheless enticing fare includes filet mignon spring rolls with sweet pepper sauce, Hamachi Kama (grilled yellowtail collar with citrus soy, asparagus, and Japanese mint salad), and a scallop cake that's wrapped up in bacon, like Kirstie Alley's 50th bday cake, but without the mayo.
As far as your thirst goes, they're opening BYOB pending their liquor license, but when it arrives they plan to use the front of the resto as a retail shop for sakes and wines, also good for transporting you to another place (karaoke bar) and time (2am).