Monday, April 18, 2011

Mizu Yakitori

The Bobcat randomly decided to search through Yelp for Japanese restaurants several weeks ago, and Mizu Yakitori was one of the few he found & wanted to check out. I actually preferred trying Wasabi first (the other place he found), but this was closer to the bar we were supposed to stop by afterwards.

The space was pretty big -- the entrance leads to a room with sushi bar on one side, and tables on the left (completely empty on a Saturday night). The hostess/waitress lead us to another room where 5-6 out of 12 or so tables were filled. When she lead us to the 2-top tables by the windows, I asked if we can be seated in the half-booths (away from the windows) instead. She said they needed to save those tables for groups of 4. It was 8:30pm, I really doubt all of these empty tables would suddently get filled. Plus, I saw groups of 2 guests seated at those tables (which is why I even asked in the first place). But I didn't want to throw a fit.

Our waiter came around (nice guy) to take our orders. Their main dishes are a list of grilled skewers & sushi rolls, but they also had apps & a "specials" menu. In opposite order:

chicken soft bones skewers -- chewy, crunchy, delicious
grilled whole squid - probably a little too much for us by this time, but it was good.

from "specials" - toro (fatty tuna belly) and fatty salmon belly. $6/piece and $10/piece. Kinda pricy, but we really wanted to try the fatty salmon, since I don't think we've ever had it. Both were soft, fatty, creamy, delicious. It was a big slice of fish on top of a small ball of rice (just the way we liked it).
We always get gyutongue (beef tongue) if we see it on the menu. This was a bit more tender, less chewy. Reminds me more of a lean slice of steak than tongue. A little on the saltier side but good.
We ordered duck & japanese negi (green onions/leeks), dark chicken, chicken skin, chicken gizzard. They serve the skewers with 3 dipping sauces (if you want to use it) -- ponzu, tare, mustard. They also offer homemade soy sauce.

As much as I wanted to use the sauce, I was quite satisfied with eating these skewers as is. They've already been seasoned with salt & we like the squeeze of lemon.
"specials" - giant sea scallops in a buttery lemon sauce. We actually liked the little chewier muscles of the clam on the side, rather than the actual scallop, but it was good.
Thought we'd try the alcohol-free Kirin beer (I believe this is the first time I saw it offered at a restaurant in states). It actually tasted pretty good. I like having beer (or in this case, "pretend-beer") with yakitori. For some weird reason, I started to feel like I'm slightly buzzed after I finished this beer, even though I obviously shouldn't...
hirame (flounder) carpaccio was pretty good. Thick slices of sashimi.

Ankimo (monkfish liver) was like a leaner version of foie gras. We liked it served with ponzu soy & radish. I had this several times at different restaurants. I feel like they're either excellent or very meh. This turned out to be on the 'excellent' side of the spectrum.Our waiter was really nice, attentive, informative, diligent. The only thing I was annoyed with was not being able to be seated where we wanted to be... I was FREEZING my ass off. And of course, BARELY any more additional guests walked through those doors after us, so there were plenty of half-booth seats available. I'm not sure why she had to be stingy about it.

We're excited that the Bobcat found this place, and will definitely be back!

Mizu Yakitori Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge
315 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614

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