Hailed as one of the most authentic Japanese dining and drinking experiences in Chicago, this lively West Loop hotspot offers sushi and robata fare artfully prepared and presented by renowned Tokyo-trained chefs Mark Hellyar (overseeing the robata program) and Michelin-starred sushi chef Jeff Ramsey.
“Momotaro serves up some of the best Japanese-grilled robata in town. I especially loved the firm briny diver scallop ($12) coated in a bright citrus ponzu butter tossed with fat, salty orange bubbles of salmon roe, micro-slivers of seabean and custard-like hunks of uni (sea urchin) that tasted a bit like foie gras. There was actual foie gras rolled inside the washugyu, tiny caramelized roulades of skirt steak skewered alongside crispy shishito peppers.” – RedEye
“…try the aji yakusugi, which is jack mackerel smoked with ignited shavings from a 1,000-year-old cypress tree; the two-piece serving arrives under a lid, locking in the fragrance until the moment it's placed in front of you. It's a real treat. Also worthy are overlapping curls of shimaaji (horse mackerel) in a tiny puddle of dashi, and barely seared bonito alongside wakame sunomono, a tangy cucumber-seaweed salad.,, Hibachi dishes arrive at the table on a ceramic hibachi of still-glowing coals; King crab legs, split open for easy access, are very good, as is the duck breast, lightly cured and even more lightly smoked." – Chicago Tribune
“The Japanese obsession with itameshi, or Italian food, results in two superb mashups. One, a spool of spaghetti enriched with the egg of the free-range Jidori chicken, is tossed with tiny, spicy pollock roe that act as a delicate abrasive on the tongue. The other, a risotto-like pool of creamy, vividly orange-colored uni rice, is topped with a generous application of black truffle slices that perfumes the table's orbit with a fungal ambrosia. Uni appears on the menu seven times in similarly luxurious capacities. But such richness isn't limited to blatant cross-cultural experiments. The silky egg custardchawanmushu gets drenched in a murky truffled sauce with a dollop of sweet crabmeat in the middle. Extravagant accents like that pop up all over the menu." – Chicago Reader
Designed by James Beard award-winning AvroKO, the 3-story space mixes western design and traditional Japanese forms to create a setting evocative of a postwar Tokyo office space. The main floor, with seating for 130, has at its center a buzzy, teak-paneled sushi bar and an open kitchen with robata grills on view. Upstairs, there’s a dramatic private room, and on the lower level, an izakaya, a cocktail-focused space inspired by the back alleys that sprang up in Tokyo as post-war black markets.
820 W. Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60607