Anytime you see people taking photos of the food before they dig in, you know you have a great visual experience coming your way. And, at Japonais, that translates into a true tasting experience as well. This Chicago happy hour hotspot is just the ticket for a hot summer day when all you want to do is loll on the back deck, watch the water, and sip something light and refreshing.
But, once you are relaxed, it’s time to try the food. We started with the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, thinly sliced Kobe beef with tuzu and dark soy ginger sauce. It’s enough to just tantalize the tongue and wake up a few unused taste buds.
From there, our growing crowd moved to the Lobster Spring Rolls, with plenty of lobster meat, served piping hot with mango relish and blood orange vinaigrette. It was quite possibly the best thing on the menu.
We had to try the Satsumaimo Pommes Frites, otherwise known as Japanese Sweet Potato Fries, simply because sweet potatoes are on everybody’s mind right now. They had a nice dusting of spice, beautifully served in a bamboo bowl, and gone quickly enough that we ordered a second.
Of course we had to try a variety of sushi, starting with the Soft Shell Crab—complete with huge hunks of crab meat piled on top. The Crispy Shrimp and Salmon was another winner with its panko breading and fresh marinated salmon. Then, we tried the Tempura, a nice selection of shrimp and vegetables, such as Japanese pumpkin (our favorite), sweet potato, and eggplant with a Brie Fondue Sauce available for dipping.
The pièce de résistance was the Japanese Ribs. Plenty of meat, great flavor, and loads to share.
Plan on chop sticks, and on pure enjoyment of the outdoor setting, although you can eat in (upstairs in the formal dining room, or downstairs in the lounge).
And be sure to smile and wave as the boats go by carrying tourists on the city’s Architecture Tour. You know they are looking in, wishing they, too, were enjoying a cool drink and delicious food.
It’s worth a picture.
See our full listing with address and hours in iRaves.com.