Archive for the 'Japanese' Category

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Sunday Noodles at Yusho – Chicago

Yusho - Chicago

I love how Chicago’s restaurants embrace excess, highlighting meat and fat in every form at all meals and price points. Sure it’s indulgent, reckless even, but under a thoughtful chef’s care, this kind of cooking can be exhilarating. See: Avec, Little Goat, and Au Cheval.

Sometimes though, especially after a few days of glorious extravagance, all I desire is the comfort of a warm bowl of noodle soup. Hello, Yusho.

Yusho - Chicago

Owned and operated by Chef Mathias Merges, formerly the Executive Chef at Charlie Trotter’s for fourteen years, Yusho is a “a yakitori-inspired restaurant.” The space was designed by Merges’s wife, Rachel Crowl.

The menu here is usually focused on grilled meats on a stick, but Sundays are dedicated to noodles. The special Sunday Noodles menu is priced at $20 per guest and includes a bowl of noodles, dessert, and a beverage. It was just what The Astronomer and I were craving after going balls to wall for meals on end.

Yusho - Chicago

We both selected alcoholic drinks to pair with our noodles. For me, a frothy coconut, lime, and rum “kegged cocktail” that was available on draught. Every sip whisked my taste buds off to somewhere warm and tropical.

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{swoon} A5 Japanese Wagyu Tasting at Katana

Three-Way Wagyu Tasting: New York, Ribeye, Filet Mignon

Gastronomy’s fancy streak continues at Katana for Wagyu Week, going on now through March 9. In honor of the occasion, Chef Koji Matsuzaki has prepared a special menu featuring certified A5-grade Japanese Wagyu beef from Saga Prefecture. Of all the outrageously decadent preparations available, it was the “Three-Way Tasting” of New York, Ribeye, and Filet Mignon that was most swoon-worthy of all.

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Sushi Kanesaka – Tokyo

Sushi Kanesaka - Tokyo

After downing three bowls of ramen at Ikaruga & Tokyo Edoama on Ramen Street in Tokyo Station, The Astronomer and I made our way above ground and headed for dinner. We weren’t the slightest bit hungry, of course, but with only ten hours in Tokyo, it didn’t really matter. Two omakase, coming right up!

Sushi Kanesaka - Tokyo

Our destination this evening was Sushi Kanesaka, a two-star Michelin establishment owned and operated by Chef Kanesaka. The specialty here is Edomae sushi, a traditional style that emphasizes the purity of the ingredients; no bells or whistles, just meticulously prepared rice and the most pristine seafood.

Sushi Kanesaka - Tokyo

The restaurant, unceremoniously located in the basement of a building in Ginza, is quite small, with just sixteen counter seats. The cost for dinner is ¥20,000, approximately $200. We weren’t seated in Chef Kanesaka’s area this evening, but we were well taken care of by his associate.

Here’s a course-by-course rundown of the superb omakase we enjoyed this evening, along with a few notes. We were joined at Sushi Kanesaka by our friend and Tokyo resident Tomo.

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Ramen Street at Tokyo Station: Ikaruga & Menya Shichisai/Tokyo Edoama

Ramen Street - Tokyo Station

What would you do if you had ten hours in Tokyo? All I desired was to stuff my face—furiously and exceptionally.

Thanks to the advice and direction of my friends Tomo and Darin, The Astronomer and I not only ate extraordinarily well during our layover, but we managed to do so without getting lost and missing our flight back to the States! It was a delightful whirlwind of tastes, sights, and energy, whetting our appetites for more Japanese adventures in the future.

Ramen Street at Tokyo Station

The first stop on our ten hour tour (more like six hours after going through customs and commuting to and from the city), was at “Ramen Street” inside Tokyo Station:

Tokyo Ramen Street, a street exclusively for ramen at the Yaesu Underground Exit of Tokyo Station, features a range of Tokyo’s most famous ramen restaurants. Four shops were originally opened in June 2009: Rokurinsha Tokyo, Hirugao, Ramen Mutsumiya, and Keisuke Kitanosho. The grand opening of a second series of four shops took place in April 2011: Tokyo Station Ikaruga, Honda, Junk Garage, and Shichisai/Tokyo Edoama.

When The Astronomer and I arrived on the scene, we found that Ramen Street was undergoing major renovations and five of the eight shops were closed, including our intended destination Rokurinsha.

Ikaruga - Ramen Street - Tokyo Station

Since waiting in an hour-long line for Rokurinsha was no longer on the docket, we headed to Ikaruga and Menya Shichisai/Tokyo Edoama instead. Both shops served up superb bowls of deliciously different ramen.

We purchased tickets from each restaurant’s vending machine, whimsically choosing what to eat based on the pictures scattered on the surface.

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