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Feb 1, 2007 04:39 PM

izakaya or authentic sushi in chitown?

just moved from tokyo, to <gulp> oklahoma city and i will be in chicago for a week coming up. I am in desperate need of some home cookin. if anyone knows new yorks "Riki" or Yakitori Taisho something like that would be, well, just plain beautiful. Japanese only staff or old-guy type sushi chefs would be a bonus. . .think Tampopo!


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    1. hrm, saw that one, the only thing even remotely attractive in that long list is Katsu. Frankly, i would rather have curry at the japanese mitsuwa grocery store than pay $60 for french/japanese fusion or get suckered into $20 dragon rolls and $12 gekkeikan sake. two things, japanese food NEVER has cilantro, and otokoyama and gekkeikan are cooking sakes. and fusion, well, is fusion. i like Mission Burritos with horchata in SF, Yebisu Sushi with Yebisu beer in tokyo, Phillies in Philly, jambalaya and hurricanes in looosiana, vodka and whitefish in helsinki, lager and fish and chips in london. . .and makhni and chai in karachi.

      come to think of it, the japanese would be great, but any of the above would be fantastic too. for gods sake im in oklahoma!

      1. yakitori taisho... we were just talkin about that joint last nite @ Le Lan. i've always eaten @ taisho first then hit sake bar decibel. apparently you're s'pose to get drunk FIRST then go to taisho. guess they teach you these things @ NYU?

        old guy sushi: Sakuma-san in Streamwood.
        Ginza in R. North.

        yakitori: uhm.. beats me, can p'bly be found somewhere in Arl Heights. closest (but not really) i think would be

        1584 S. Busse Rd.
        Mt. Prospect 60056-4902

        Torishin definitely fulfills the izakaya quest. Avoid Mizu on North Ave. at all cost.

        izakaya: above mentioned Torishin and at least 2 in the NW burbs + 1 in the city

        1201 E Higgins Rd
        Elk Grove Vlg, IL 60007
        ask for the board to be brought to you during dinner if it's not. prepare to ask for translation. look up above the sushi counter for all the small dish items. repeat translation request. finally, some of the drinkin food can be visualized with help of hand drawn pictures collected in extremely cute photo albums but they are nowhere near complete. before Xmas, I wrote down translation for the entire menu hung above sushi bar alas, lost the notepad...

        Izakaya Sankyu
        1176 S. Elmhurst Rd.
        Mt. Prospect, IL 60056
        pricier than kurumaya, further from the city (tucked in the same strip mall as Pusan Restaurant, a relative unknown KBBQ joint). daily specials on the whiteboard, house-reserved shochu for loyal customers, etc. i personally find kurumaya more comforting and you really absolutely can not beat kurumaya's $8 lunch special which always run out promptly at 12:35pm.

        668 N. Wells

        Chef passed away last month, family still running business, menu remains the same. Last week we had the house made gyoza (cuz the chickie was like: i've NEVER had gyoza at a Japanese restaurant. no kidding babe, cuz we eat 2x as much for half the price at Chinese restaurants), agadashi and tuna carpaccio. note the daiginjyo tofu dishes are no longer offered and the izak. menu is about 1/4 of the offerings at Kurumaya/Sankyu

        General discussion on Chitown izakaya

        1 Reply
        1. re: TonyC

          actually, if you go to nyu at some point you will serendipitously fall into Taisho drunk at some point and hence rediscover god. Not nearly as religious of an experience when sober i've found. And i think Riki has gone downhill since the chefs are pissed about it going non-smoking, not that i blame them. No sleep till, Chicago! Im gettin hungrier by the minute.

        2. I love Kuni's, it's not fancy, no fusion whatever. It is Osaka style, I'm told, so take that for what it's worth. But I think the fish is really good, it's perfectly prepared, and Kuni was one of the first guys to do sushi in the US and trained a lot of the other sushi guys in the US.

          It's right near the Main street stops on the Metra and the Purple line El.

          511 Main St.

          1. Not sure if you'll find what you want in Chicago. Sushi is so different here in comparison to Japan - just visited Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka and Kyoto in November. As far as I know you won't really find an izakaya in the city - and if there is my bad. And the sushi joints are predominantly Korean owned and has the Americanized affect with with the crazy rolls - not that i don't like it as well.

            There are some good places with good sushi and sashimi... but no yakitori...
            Sai Cafe

            The other postings mention the suburbs near Mitsuya... You might be better off going there and talking to someone there and getting a recommendation from them. I'm assuming there's a larger Japanese population in the Arlington Heights area.

            Good Luck! and for the record... I miss going to random izakayas in Japan... so good!

            1 Reply
            1. re: kykii

              A number of Japanese companies have offices in the I-90 corridor. Several are regional headquarters, where region may be anywhere from Midwest to North America. Therefore, there are a fair number of Japanese people in the area. These people range from ones here for a few months to expats, so demand for good Japanese food exists.