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About 10 minutes away from O'hare Airport is this charming little restaurant. My dining companion and myself were the only two non Japanese people in this place. One the surface, the Chicago Suburbs appear to be a collection of Italian Beef, Pizza and Italian Restaurants. But, with some looking around, I have managed to find some really interesting places. There are Indian Enclaves, lots of little Mexican Taco Joints, Korean BBQ restaurants, some decent Thai and Vietnamese Spots.

 

Tonight, i tracked down this charming little spot. While they have sushi available, it appears the way to here is the cooked offerings..

 

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The menu here is adorable.. A book of drawn menu items.

 

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We started with tempura smelts over raw onions and julienned peppers soaked in a ponzu/soy sauce:

 

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Super tender little bits of chicken with garlic, miso on the side: I could have eaten 20 of these things and called it a night

 

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Tomago:

 

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Chowan mushi:

 

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Assortment of sushi: Octopus, clam, yellow tail, mackerel, raw shrimp, cooked shrimp and fluke. The clam and the yellow tail stood out as very good. the rest, was good but, not great.

 

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A really special little spot. It has taken me a few years and several mediocre to terrible places to find this spot.. Very exciting, I look forward to eating my way through the menu.

 

 

 

 

 

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Went back with a couple more folks tonight:

 

We started with the clams in a ginger broth..

 

Delicious.

 

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Takoyaki:

 

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Grilled garlic chicken and grilled chicken grizzle:

 

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grilled tuna:

 

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A few chowan mushi, spicy tuna roll and a couple of pieces of yellow tail:

 

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tonight, my one guest was the only woman eating in the restaurant and we were the only non Japanese.

 

fun night.. anyone know how to read the specials?

 

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They have buta kakuni made using kurobuta. You'd like it. Who doesn't like braised pork belly?

 

They also have nanohana (rapeseed) tempura. I don't think I've seen that much outside Japan. Might be worth ordering just to try it (I'm not a huge fan of nanohana, but I'll eat it).

 

I'd also get the katsuo tataki, and any of the kaki dishes (I love kaki-fry--just fried oysters with panko breading). And the anago tempura.

 

There are lots of fish specials (especially hamachi which is at its best around now), some stuff with goya, different tempura dishes, etc. Maybe I'll do a list tomorrow (though I can't read all of the specials). Some of it's not very clear, but I'll do my best!

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Too bad! I was going through the menu a little more thoroughly, and they have a lot of interesting stuff that is very typically found in Japanese restaurants in Japan, but not typically in average North American Japanese restaurants. And they really seem to focus on what's available seasonally, again, very typical for restaurants in Japan, but less frequent in Japanese restaurants in North America.

 

Was it very expensive? In Japan a place like that would probably have average prices (or a little more expensive), but I'm guessing for Chicago, it was probably a little expensive (although it still looks like a very homely place, so who knows?).

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they really seem to focus on what's available seasonally, again, very typical for restaurants in Japan, but less frequent in Japanese restaurants in North America.

 

I agree. Lots of items that would be familiar at a homey izakaya in Japan. Braised daikon is a classic cold-weather dish.  Chikuzenni (second dish on the last column) -- stewed chicken and root vegetables -- is like a country cousin to the braised pork belly. Homemade fish cakes could be good as well.

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It's so funny, as I spotted the board and asked our waitress if there were any specials.. She said, no, there are no specials. I don't understand when places with non english special menus don't take the time to either translate them for you verbally or on paper. The amount of effort seems so minimal to me. Especially when the staff speaks perfectly good English.

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Too bad! I was going through the menu a little more thoroughly, and they have a lot of interesting stuff that is very typically found in Japanese restaurants in Japan, but not typically in average North American Japanese restaurants. And they really seem to focus on what's available seasonally, again, very typical for restaurants in Japan, but less frequent in Japanese restaurants in North America.

 

Was it very expensive? In Japan a place like that would probably have average prices (or a little more expensive), but I'm guessing for Chicago, it was probably a little expensive (although it still looks like a very homely place, so who knows?).

 

It was not expensive. Average dish was 7 dollars. Dinner was 50 bucks a head w/ drinking but, without it was a 27 a head.

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