I stopped in at Takashi, a month-old spot in the former Scylla space in Bucktown, last Friday night. The restaurant's namesake, chef Takashi Yagihashi is a 2003 James Beard Best Chef Midwest award winner. He's slinging an Asian-French fusion that includes crisp sweetbreads in arimasansho (Asian green peppercorns) and sake, soy, and lemongrass marinated chicken fried in duck fat.
I'm still on the fence about the spot, mostly as a function of value--this place offers a lot of $14 small plates that are barely satisfying for one person. Portions fall somewhere between amuse bouche and appetizer quantity and would make more sense at $7 or $8 a pop. That said, the flavors and execution are spot on. People have been making comparisons between foie gras and sweetbreads for years, but other than both being offal meat, that's where the similarities ended for me.
Takashi's sweetbreads, coated in Dijon mustard and soy sauce and pan sautéed, have a molten quality that apes the best foie gras. Likewise his duck fat fried chicken is succulent and spicy, with a floral citrusy kick from the lemongrass.
If you have money to burn, Takashi is probably a no-brainer. If you don't, it's worth at least one visit to savor Takashi's culinary aplomb.
Address: 1952 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago IL, 60647 (map)
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