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Have you been to Mitsuwa Marketplace?

s
Sally Aug 26, 2001 12:40 AM

We live in Mount Prospect and occasionally drive past a place in Arlington Heights called Mitsuwa Marketplace that looks very intriguing but we've never checked it out. There was a post on an east coast board that referred to it as a Japanese grocery store with a food court that has some really good food. I found their website but there is only information about the locations and hours. I was wondering if anyone has been to the store in Arlington Heights and if it's worthwhile stopping there at lunch time. Thanks for your help!

Link: http://mitsuwa.com

  1. v
    Vital Information Aug 26, 2001 07:24 AM

    Go to Mitsuwa if you are looking to be blasted into another dimension, straight to asia. Mitsuwa (f/k/a Yohan) is a genuine chowhound experience. And if you have ever been to asia, and visited a supermarket or the food departments at the department stores there, well you will feel rather at home.

    You will find vegetables with no english names, sushi quality tuna and every conceivable pickle you can imagine. there is a seperate liquor store with floral bottles of sake, suntory whiskey and korean sweet potato vodka. of course, there is the food court and the bakery. as in asia, food stores/department stores are prime places to eat.

    the variety of the food court is not what it used to be, but there is still plenty to choose. noodle options abound. since we only make infrequent trips, i cannot resist the japanese curry with fried shrimp (or fried pork cutlet). last time we were there, my daughter had a fried potato disc she called a latke. it came in a bento box with pickles, miso soup, rice cubes dotted with black sesame seeds, potato salad, and other odds and ends including a japanese version of spaghetti with tomato sauce (something out of iron chef!).

    do not pass up the bakery. it is not in the food court anymore. when my wife and i landed in hong kong (approximately 8 years ago this week for our honeymoon), we were amazed with the bakeries. who knew, we said. these bakeries have much more in common with paris than the chinese backeries we visited in chinatown, save a few only in asia combinations like the mysterious hot dog bun. the mitsuawa marketplace bakery is a close replication to these asian bakeries, complete with the trays and tongs for self service (just like mexican bakeries).

    you can easily kill an afternoon at mitsuwa. you will be transported to a different land, have a great lunch and snack, and maybe picked up a few products for dinner.

    VI

    3 Replies
    1. re: Vital Information
      s
      Sally Aug 26, 2001 11:15 AM

      Wow, thanks for the great review! Now I can't wait to give it a try! I've never travelled to Asia so it sounds like going to Mitsuwa Marketplace is the next best thing. I love Asian food but have always been too nervous to try making some at home. Maybe this will encourage me. I have always wanted to try making my own sushi and it sounds like I could get all my supplies there. I'll play the home version of "Iron Chef". Thanks also for telling me about the bakery. It sounds too good to pass up.
      ps. Happy anniversary!

      1. re: Sally
        s
        Sweet Willie Aug 30, 2001 11:28 AM

        Don't be afraid of trying to make Japanese food from Mitsuwa. I was when it was Yaohan's. When it changed to Mitsuwa I have been making sukiyaki, yaki-soba and other dishes as good as we had in Japan. The fresh meat section at Mitsuwa has the VERY thin sliced Kobe beef as well as pork for making tremendous sukiyaki.

        Just dive into it!!! I sent a letter to the mgr at Mitsuwa explaining that if they offered classes on cooking, I believe business would boom for him. As soon as I receive a reply I will post it.

      2. re: Vital Information
        t
        TJR Aug 31, 2001 12:46 AM

        Second that emotion, including the bakery. Try the apricot sticks.

        And while you're in the neighborhood, drive south on Arlington Heights road about a half mile past the tollway to the shopping center on the SE corner of ... damn! I forget the street. Anyway, there's another Japanese store there named True World.

        I suspect from the name that it's a Moonie operation, but they have good stuff, some that you can't find at Mitsuwa (which, btw, I believe is also Korean-owned), and some lower prices.

        Also, for a better meal than you can get at that sadly depleted Mitsuwa food court, drive east through the parking lot across the access road into the strip mall. Past the first building, there's a great little restaurant named Edoya with a small but excellent menu and a hakujin waitress who's the wife of the owner and fluent in Japanes.

      3. c
        Cliff Aug 28, 2001 12:27 PM

        Ditto everything on Yaohan/Mitsuwa. An incredible experience. (What-the-heck is it doing in Arlington Heights?)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cliff
          v
          Vital Information Aug 28, 2001 12:44 PM

          I believe that Mitsuwa is in Arlington Heights because the majority of japanese expats reside in the northwest suburbs, think o'hare.

          it kinda reminds that many of the best chowhound experiences are NOT within in the chicago city limits. Can you find donuts as good as Dunk Donuts in the city?

          VI

          1. re: Vital Information
            t
            TJR Aug 31, 2001 12:39 AM

            They aren't exactly expats - most of them are salarymen here on a temporary stint. They keep their distance from the older Japanese-American community.

        2. b
          bob Aug 9, 2002 10:20 PM

          I have been to mitsuwa market and it has a grocery store with japanesse items such as drinks toys books food candy that is in japan markets there. it is just like a grocery store but with all jappanesse items . I have been to japan and seen the same items as the mitsuwa marketplace has . hope this helps
          you should go in sometimes. by the way pockys are really good

          7 Replies
          1. re: bob
            l
            libgirl2 Jan 2, 2008 02:36 PM

            We were just there this past weekend and I adore the place! The sushi is fresh and the food court selections are plentiful. The bakery is heavenly! And yes the pockys are wonderful!

            1. re: libgirl2
              c
              CorinneM1 Jan 3, 2008 07:25 AM

              If you like this, then I also recommend heading over to Super H Mart in Niles. This is a Korean superfood store. The sushi here is great, the seafood department is nothing like you have ever seen before and the produce here is great.

              1. re: CorinneM1
                m
                mea_duff Jan 26, 2008 07:41 PM

                I lived in Mount Prospect and LOVED shopping/eating at Mitsuwa. We recently moved closer to the lake and I was so sad to no longer be near Mitsuwa. That is until I discovered Super H. The produce section is huge and amazing. Way better and more reasonable than Mitsuwa. Like someone else mentioned above the seafood section is fabulous. I also love that they have samples out by the "kimchi counter". Even if you don't live super close to this place it is worth the trip for a wonderful mini-adventure.

                1. re: mea_duff
                  l
                  libgirl2 Jan 28, 2008 01:03 PM

                  Does Super H have a food court? I think they are (or have) opened one in Naperville.

                  1. re: libgirl2
                    g
                    gordeaux Jan 28, 2008 08:33 PM

                    I haven't been to the one in Naperthrill, but I would absolutely be aghast if they didn't have a food court simply because the food court at the one in Niles is such a big part of the excitement about this place. I would almost guarantee that the one in Nprville has a food court.

                    1. re: gordeaux
                      f
                      fern Jan 30, 2008 05:43 AM

                      Sadly, no food court at the Naperville H-Mart location. There is, however, a Korean restaurant in the same strip that I learned about here at Chowhound called Tofu Garden or something like that. A delicious lunch there and then an H-mart visit makes for a nice afternoon!\. Here's the link:

                      http://www.chodangtofu.com/

                    2. re: libgirl2
                      m
                      mea_duff Feb 10, 2008 08:05 AM

                      Yes, the Niles Super H has a food court, but that is one thing Mitsuwa wins on because theirs is bigger with more variety. I think Super H has just a few food court type stands. I actually have never eaten there, but my neighbor who shops there too said it was very good. I think the best thing about Super H is the produce and seafood departments. Plus, in general the selection in all departments is fabulous.

            2. e
              EvanstonE Jan 2, 2008 07:07 PM

              There's a local outpost of Santoku (?), a ramen noodle chain with other locatiosn in the L.A. area. It's reputed to have very good ramen. To get an idea of what the L.A. Santoku is like, check out www.rameniac.com.

              1. n
                naperwino Jan 3, 2008 10:30 AM

                I work about a mile from here, and have had many a delicious lunch at Mitsuwa. I've yet to try the hot dishes because I can't get over how great of a deal the sushi is, (AND great quality). $4.50 for negi hamachi or a rainbow roll?? It's like a dream come true!!!

                4 Replies
                1. re: naperwino
                  g
                  gordeaux Jan 3, 2008 11:10 AM

                  I'm sure the OP is truly enjoying all these replies 7 yrs later.

                  Sorry, couldn't resist!

                  :-p

                  1. re: gordeaux
                    n
                    naperwino Jan 4, 2008 07:00 AM

                    That's funny! I didn't even look at the dates! I've worked up here for four of those years, so I can stand by my comments at least that long! ;)

                    1. re: naperwino
                      g
                      gordeaux Jan 4, 2008 07:39 AM

                      I just moved my office from Mt Prospect to Deerfield. I miss Mitsuwa sushi lunches so much it's sad. I used to pig out on a few of the negiri / maki combos, or chirashi (when they put them out fresh) and then get some mochi for dessert. Rumor has it that the day's leftover sushi is sold at 1/2 price before closing. I've never timed it right, but I think you could do pretty well if you know what to get. I still get there for my at home sushi making sessions. Also, the Japanese mkt that is just south of there past the bridge in the strip mall on the E side of Arlington hgts rd is VERY good as well for fish, and they also have a sushi bar. You might wanna look into it. Not as big, but the fish is JUST as good, and some even better prices.

                      1. re: gordeaux
                        l
                        libgirl2 Jan 4, 2008 08:21 AM

                        I had the salmon sushi and it was so fresh and yummy. There was one kind there with the tuna, but I was not sure what kind of seafood it was. Next time I might just give it a go.

                2. d
                  donnacrocker Feb 1, 2008 06:42 PM

                  This place is definitely an experience. You will enjoy every minute of it. The lack of understanding what things are is a little frightening. But just dive in and go for it.

                  1. s
                    swsidejim Feb 8, 2008 06:43 AM

                    I actually went to Mitsuwa 2 weekends ago, and enjoyed the visit. The produce section is nice with many hard to find items, and the dry goods section is good as well for finding unique items. I thought the seafood wasnt that impressive, I was hoping for some live crabs, and other items. THe meat section was ok for not having a butcher, I purchased some Waygu beef that was excellent.

                    The biggest draw for me, and the reason I will return is for the food court. Alot of options, and a good lunch for little $$.

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