I was excited to see the opening of Strings Ramen in Chinatown just a few doors down from The Phoenix Room. I got even more excited when I saw the menu only has four bowls of ramen on it, because I'd rather see a place with a few items it does well rather than a billion things it does a mediocre job with (I'm looking at you, Cheesecake Factory).
'japanese food' on Serious Eats
Asian gastropubs and brunch may not seem like the most seamless of bedfellows, but here they are jiving in tasteful tandem at Rodan.
While the onslaught of new ramen restaurants seems to have died down a bit lately, Ajida opened up quietly on Wells just over a month ago. I'm used to ramen stands being a little beat up and homey looking, but that's probably just the Asian romantic in me. Mostly because I am, in fact, Asian.
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.
One of the latest entrants to Chicago's brunch scene, Jellyfish makes waves by incorporating its sushi-focused repertoire into a brunch format, eschewing typical brunch gimmickry in favor of thoughtful dishes true to Jellyfish's integrity.
A bento box promises a seemingly contradictory experience: an array of wildly different options, all of which are meticulously and thoughtfully organized into compartments. Here are 8 great options in Chicago.
The Japan National Tourism Organization thinks it's silly that we act like sushi is what its country's food is all about. So check out Sunshine Café's offerings of steaming, home-style noodle bowls, donburi, crisp-skinned fish, tempura, pickled vegetables, fresh tofu, and goma da re-soaked greens.
Eating in The Willis Tower: My Three Day Chinese, Thanksgiving, and Half-Priced Sushi Bender at Market Creations
During orientation on my first day working in the Sears Tower, I learned about the largely building staff-focused Market Creations: "it's always Thanksgiving on one side and Chinese food on the other. They have sushi, too."
If you're looking for some of the most inventive, saucy, flagrantly fusion-style maki around, this hip North Side sushi spot has you covered.
In this day of ramenphilia and ramen expertise, I can't say this is the greatest bowl to be had in Chicago. Others have more artisanal depth in their stock or lusher ingredients, like Santouka's pork jowl. But it's a perfectly fine old school bowl that tasted like its makers knew what they were doing.
Each of these three spots has its own unique spin on what the Japanese dining experience can be. And their presence on the scene seems to mark an intangible shift toward the distinctive nuance, sensitivity, and craft that is so shot through the meals one finds in Japan.