chicago - japanese beef negimaki
- stuart thalblum
When I lived in New York, beef negimaki (beef wrapped
around scallion and grilled) was a staple at numerous
Japanese restaurants from Westchester to Manhattan to
Queens to Long Island. Since I've lived in Chicago,
I've been to a dozen Japanese restaurants and none
seem to serve it. Considering the average Chicagoan's
taste for steak, I find this confusing. Does anyone
know why beef negimaki is not on the menu, and more
importantly, someplace where it is?
For the historical record, beef negimayaki was invented by Nobuyoshi Kuraoka, proprietor of the Nippon Restaurant, 155 East 52nd St, NYC when the restaurant opened in 1963. It is not a traditional Japanese dish, but entirely Kuraoka's inspiration. It has been widely imitated among the 300-odd Japanese restaurants in greater NY.
In general, Japanese resterateurs are quite unimaginative and will not venture beyond the staples of their own home regions. It is likely that the Chicago Japanese restaurant won't offer beef negimayaki until their customers who have tasted it in New York prod them to do so.
Nippon is now the grand-daddy of NYC Japanese restaurants (36 years) and still the exclusive caterer to Japan Airlines first class passangers out of JFK.
BTW, Kuraoka is a fascinating character who will be pleased to discuss his other culinary inventions with you if you happen to catch him at Nippon or its sister, Hyotan Nippon on 59th St across from Bloomingdale's.
I have just recently (last year) discovered Japanese food. There is a restaurant in Westmont , I don't know the name of it but it is in a plaza on the northwest corner of Ogden and 83. You'l have to drive in there and look... there is a great Asian plaza behind it with a huge grocery store. Anyway this restuarant had the dish you inquired about. Was it good? I can't say, I had nothing to compare it to and I could say I would prbably not order it again. For great Japanese in Chicago? Matsuiya's on Clark in Wrigleyville - best I've had.