Answers from Our Experts (1)
Thanks to a growing number of Japanese restaurants that span both fine-dining and casual experiences, quality sake is increasingly available in Chicago. One of the best places to sample a bottle or two is alongside Japanese-inspired street fare is at Yusho, the critically lauded restaurant starring Matthias Merges, a former Charlie Trotter’s chef. Yusho is a full-service restaurant with a casual vibe, and numerous bottles of sake are offered alongside innovative cocktails.
Though I’ve never been, Murasake has been on my to-visit list so long, it’s embarrassing. Located in Streeterville, this is Chicago’s premiere sake (and karaoke!) lounge and also offers a wide variety of otsumami—traditional Japanese small-plates often served at bars.
Arguably the best Japanese restaurant in Chicago is Takashi (named for James Beard–awarded chef Takashi Yagihashi), which is home to a small bar with one of the best sake selections in town. Takashi is a fine dining experience with both tasting menus and traditional kaiseki (multi-course) dinners, but a handful of seats at the bar await those who’d rather slip in for a few rounds of sake.