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Kobe An showcases plant-based Japanese cuisine in the southwest suburbs

There are tatami rooms at

Kobe An

where you can have a traditional Japanese meal while seated on the floor around a low table -- all hidden away in an above-street-level storefront in that most American of landscapes, the strip mall. The inside of this restaurant belies its bland suburban exterior with understated, elegant decor to go along with its beautifully prepared sushi.

And there are several options for herbivores on Kobe An's menu.

Avocado and cucumber rolls (pictured above) are fairly standard at most sushi places these days, but Kobe An prepares them beautifully, with fresh ingredients and skilled assembly that keeps the tightly packaged little rolls together while you devour them.

The seaweed salad comes with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and some small shoots on top of the savory greens. A specially ordered tempura roll (not on the menu) features avocado and cucumber again, this time rolled and fried. The meat-free nigiri options include inari, egg (for non-vegan herbivores) and shiitake mushroom two-piece orders. The best plant-based item on the menu? The avocado nigiri, which features generous, creamy slices with a ginger sauce. The asparagus sushi rolls are also exemplary.

Kobe An is open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner every day of the week; for more information, call 303-988-3012 or visit www.kobean.com.

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