Friday, July 2, 2010


Takashi Yagihashi

Takashi was born in Mito, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, a small town about an hour northwest of Tokyo and just a few minutes from the sea, where he developed a taste for fresh seafood at a very young age. He started cooking at age sixteen and continued to work in restaurants while he earned his Interior Design degree from the Tokyo Design School. After a stint helping out with the opening of a Japanese restaurant in Chicago, the young chef embarked on a serious culinary education. He cooked for Yoshi Katsumura at the highly touted French-Japanese Yoshi's Café and Gabino Sotelino's Amria where he worked his way up the line to chef de cuisine and eventually partner.
In 1996, Takashi opened Tribute to rave reviews. The Detroit Free Press gave the restaurant four stars; The New York Times called it "maybe the best restaurant between New York and Chicago and certainly the finest in Detroit." In 2003, he was named the 13th Annual James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest. In 2005, he opened Okada for Steve Wynn in the luxurious Wynn Las Vegas, where he created a contemporary Japanese menu influenced by his French Training. He has since become a member of the Macy's culinary council and he opened Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi at Macy's in Chicago before opening his namesake restaurant in December 2007.

I've been wanting to check out Chef Takashi's cuisine for quite a while now. We recently purchased a groupon, and decided to check it out. The space is clean, nice, elegant. Staff was all very friendly, and the food was clean, fresh, delicious.

Chilled Fresh Homemade Tofu
Oba Leaves, Green Onion, Bonito Flakes, Wakame, Umami-Ginger Soy

We absolutely adore tofu, so when I saw that it's homemade, I had to try it. Tofu had a good structure & nice flavor. We liked the assortment of toppings.

Sashimi of hokkaido scallops and squid with soba & yuzu dressing

I forgot what this dish was actually called, but it's something along the lines of what i listed above. I wasn't super impressed by the soba, but the overall flavor was good.

Chicken in Clay Pot
Amish Chicken, Shimeji Mushrooms, Eggplant, Haricot Vert, Yuzu Juice

Some of the chicken was tender, some of it was a bit too firm. Overall, this dish had a perfectly rich & intense flavor, I especially enjoyed the eggplants. Green beans were perfectly crisp yet slightly braised. Very enjoyable dish.

Seared Main Skate Wing
Medley of Japanese Mushrooms, Risotto of Cauliflower, parmesan foam

As much as I love watching Top Chef & the idea of creating foam from actual ingredients... I am not a fan of foam. It's a very light flavor, no texture whatsoever. I guess it makes it pretty. The cauliflower risotto tasted good, it's pretty close to traditional risotto (rice). Hubby especially LOVED the skatefish... great flavors, crisp yet slightly chewy & tender, matched well with the greens. delicious!

crisp bananas, sticky chocolate cake, raisins confit, graham cracker ice cream

We don't usually try dessert, but we were curious. The hubby quit eating bananas (the only fruit he likes) because it's supposedly bad for asthma patients. Thus, instead of going with a blueberry dessert item I chose, he wanted to try this. I didn't really taste the graham cracker in the ice cream, but the banana had a beautiful caramel crisp on top, which made the bananas extra delicious. The chocolate cake didn't stand out to me. It was overall a decent dessert ending to our early meal.

I love cute utensils:

As a side note, I ordered yuzu wine because I was curious about how it'd taste. I asked the waitress for her opinion and she told me it's not that great. Another waiter actually chimed in and agreed. She gave me a tasting instead... I thought it entered the palate well, but it did have a strange aftertaste. I went with sake instead.

1962 N Damen (b/w Homer & Armitage)
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 772-6170


肯尼 said...

it looks really nice. I wish I could read your blog prior to my trip to Chicago two years ago. I didn't know there are so many delicious Japanese foods in Chicago!

starrytears said...

you'll have to visit again! we don't have that many great Japanese places in comparison to LA or NYC, but there are definitely a few gems.