Mystery Diner: JuRin offers quality sushi at affordable prices

GENEVA – Affordable is not an adjective normally associated with good sushi. At least, so I thought. That is, until I discovered JuRin Japanese Restaurant in Geneva.

JuRin means forest in Japanese, but it’s nestled in a strip mall behind Jersey Mike’s Subs along Randall Road, just north of Fabyan Parkway.

Recognized as one of the best restaurants for sushi in the 2013 Kane County Chronicle Readers’ Choice Awards, JuRin combines friendly, attentive service with great value and a casual, family-friendly atmosphere.

For $34.40, my dining companion and I ordered four sushi rolls, which came with two complementary orders of miso soup and salad. JuRin also has a Maki Combination lunch special for $8, which includes the diner’s selection of three rolls – including the California, Boston, Alaskan, Philadelphia, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Shrimp Tempura, Salmon Skin and Negihamachi – as well as soup and salad.

Around 12:30 p.m. on a Friday, the restaurant buzzed with activity. Though the restaurant interior is plain and slightly outdated, it was filled with families, smiling faces and happy people all around. The sushi chef kindly greeted each person who walked through the door and bid farewell to every satisfied diner.

Nicely-dressed, whirling waiters tended to tables of families and businessmen/women on their lunch breaks. The chef stationed at the restaurant’s teppan-yaki grill twirled, tossed and stirred a heap of rice splayed like a hand across the grill top. Seated next to my dining companion and me was a JuRin regular, who mentioned to the sushi chef that she was celebrating her birthday.

After dropping off our soup, salad and waters, our waiter handed us a slender strip of paper and menu held together with a pen. After checking the boxes next to the Crunchy California roll (eight pieces for $6), the Rainbow roll (eight pieces for $11), the Red Dragon roll (four pieces for $7) and the Godzilla roll (four pieces for $8), we handed the sheet of paper over the bar to the chef who got rolling right away.

Sitting at the sushi bar, various filets of fresh fish were delicately situated in a clear compartment so that we could see exactly what goes into each roll.

The salad’s chilled crunchy leaves with a layering of sweet ginger sauce served as a nice contrast to the hot cup of Miso soup. We were only a few minutes into the soup and salad course before – one-by-one – our sushi orders started pouring in.

Word to the wise, JuRin uses imitation crab in some of its rolls, which is probably what keeps prices more economical, but there are plenty of options without it.

The only roll we ordered with the imitation crab was the Godzilla – a deep-fried roll with cream cheese and imitation crab filling, green onions and a drizzle of two sauces – and it turned out to be my dining companion’s favorite. The chef also added an extra four pieces to what usually is a four-piece order (at no additional charge), so my dining companion was thrilled.

My favorite, the Red Dragon roll, was a four-piece roll made with spicy tuna and topped with fresh tuna and avocado, tempura crumbs and green onions with drizzled orange glaze. On my next visit, I plan on trying its two counterparts – the White Dragon roll (with spicy white tuna) and Orange Dragon roll (with spicy salmon).

Neither the Crunchy California – a California roll with deep-fried tempura crumbs – or Rainbow roll – a California roll with tuna, white tuna, salmon, yellow tail, shrimp and avocado on top – came with a drizzling of sauce. The rainbow roll was fresh and delicious, but I’d probably skip the Crunchy California roll next time.

With leftovers in tow, the sushi chef gave us a parting gift before we left, a calendar featuring Japan-scapes that I had admired earlier in the dining experience. Further proof that JuRin takes care of its diners. Kindness, generosity and fair-priced good food go a long way. I’m happy to say, that I have joined the ranks of JuRin regulars.

If you go

WHAT: JuRin Japanese Restaurant
WHERE: 17720 S. Randall Road, Suite 190, Geneva
PHONE: 630-262-9590
WHEN: Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday; dinner hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday
NOTE: If visiting during dinner, try to make a reservation.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Shaw Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits different restaurants and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.