Japonais closed at the end of 2013 for some renovations, which is not completely out of order for a 10-year-old restaurant. But instead of just slapping up some new light fixtures, it decided to go big. That partly explains how Masaharu Morimoto became involved. Yes, that Iron Chef and leader of the Morimoto sushi empire.
To celebrate the reboot and to welcome chef Morimoto to town, the restaurant held a quiet little preview event... oh, who am I kidding. The event on Wednesday night was a madhouse, with a hundred or more people packed into the renovated space, and a fleet of white-coated chefs furiously sliced up raw fish to feed them all. Though perhaps not the best way to preview the restaurant's new dishes, that wasn't really the point. This was a party, and it had the guests to prove it. Along with previews of new dishes, you could also sample some Japanese-inspired creations from Chicago's most popular chefs, including Paul Kahan, Stephanie Izard, and Mindy Segal.
The result was a ridiculous evening with more raw fish than you could ever imagine. Check out the slideshow to take a look at what was on offer.