Yes to Yakitori
In a city crammed with many of America’s top tables, it takes something special to gain recognition in the tome that is Chicago’s culinary yellow pages. Yusho is one such standout, having rocketed to the top of the food pyramid with a coveted spot on both Bon Appetit and Chicago Magazine’s best new restaurants lists. In the year since it opened, the colourful Avondale haven of reclaimed wood and industrial décor has swiftly become the first port of call for well-executed contemporary Japanese street food and an outstanding beverage program.
From executive chef Matthias Merges, who previously spent 14 years at the helm of Charlie Trotter’s fine diner, Yusho is all about elevating the humble yakitori. For fowl-lovers, cuts like skin, thigh, wing, liver, and the delectable double fried chicken with kanzuri dipping sauce await. From the sea comes street food staple okonomiyaki with blue prawn and chickpea, while the land brings sweetbreads with umeboshi barbecue sauce and pork jowl soba. It’s all paired to perfection with customised craft cocktails like the inventive Dogs of Okinawa with Vieux Pontarlier absinthe, Woodinville White Dog whiskey, lime and palm sugar, or the superbly concocted classic Gin & Tonic with Ransom Old Tom gin and home-grown, unfiltered house tonic. Note that on Sundays, Yusho opens daytime and serves five kinds of ramen (including the Logan Poser with crispy pig’s tail, hen egg, nori and cucumber). Needless to say, reservations are essential, so book well in advance!