Chef Sangtae Park has been cooking all his life. At a young age, he devoted himself to Japanese cuisine in his native coastal hometown of Busan, South Korea. Moving to the US Chicago area 17 years ago, Chef Sangtae worked and help open Mirai and Japonais restaurants as sous chef before finally opening up neighborhood restaurant Badaya in Highland Park for 6 years and then Izakaya Yume in Niles for 7 years, which focused on serving casual, approachable Japanese cuisine.
The subtleties behind Yume’s entrance—marked by a basic black awning—along with its particularly skillful preparations allow it to stand tall and loom large over its more extravagant competitors.Equally spartan in décor, this small and clean dining enclave (brought to you by Chef/owner Sangtae Park) is lined with planks of pale blonde wood and offers two nightly seatings at its pristine eight-seat bar, attended to by a few graceful servers.
Light beats in the background keep the mood from being too sterile.Dishes tend to headline top ingredients that are both smartly paired and well executed. Savor the chef’s unfaltering focus on Japanese cuisine by way of deep-fried nasu hirame; Edo-style sushi featuring madai, akami, and chutoro; as well as slices of Wagyu beef poised atop sushi rice, brushed with soy, and finished with grated wasabi. Other delicacies like torigai (heart clam), ultra-seasonal and correctly aged sayori, or even grilled misoyaki over rice flaunt a thorough study in product sourcing, fresh flavors, and delectable textures. Sweet and custardy tamago, followed by matcha panna cotta—deeply colorful, full-bodied and tart with creamy buttermilk—bring the meal to a close.
Omakase changes daily based on the chef. This is an example of the sushi courses offered: Appetizer Hirame . Madai Rankodai Kisu Suzuki . Akami . Chutoro . Otoro . Kinmedai Kurodai Ishidai . Shima-Aji Aji Saba Bonito . Kanpachi Hiramasa . King Salmon . Botan-Ebi Kuruma-Ebi . Awabi Hotategai Torigai . Uni Ikura Ika . Tara no misoyaki . Tamago