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December 15, 2014
Japanese By Boka

When the Boka Restaurant Group – otherwise known as the dream team behind Windy City staples including Girl & the Goat and GT Fish & Oyster – adds another diner to its distinguished culinary cohort, Chicago’s gourmands know to sit up and take notice… Or rather, to rush and secure a seat before the waiting list stretches beyond the three month mark. And so arrives the latest Boka baby, the mod-Japanese hotspot Momotaro, in a bare-brick West Loop warehouse, combining a smartly industrial-tinged 60s-saloon setting with exemplary izakaya fare, top drops and faultless customer service.

The lengthy menu lists bite-sized items from two separate kitchen stations; a sushi counter overseen by chef Jeff Ramsey (who earned a Michelin star at Tokyo’s Tapas Molecular Bar) rolling out king crab stuffed makimono, paper thin bluefin sashimi and toro tartare topped with ginger blossom; and the larger robata where former Fat Duck chef Mark Hellyar mans the coals, serving shishito marinated steak skewers flavoured with foie gras and soy spiked quail eggs dabbed with smoked maple syrup. Sit counter-side and watch the action unfold before your eyes, or keep it cosy in a leather-lined booth and pair your pickings with craft drafts, excellent European wines and signature cocktails like the Merchant from Kyoto, with beefeater gin, green bar jasmine liqueur, hojicha and orange bitters. Kampai!

820 W Lake St / West Loop / +1 312 733 4818 / dinner daily / res essential /