March 29, 2011
- Wine / Cocktails:
So, I've been hearing about Takashi for a while now, really since I moved to Chicago about 5 months ago. It's been high on my ever-growing list of restaurants to try, so I was very happy to finally get a chance to experience the Sunday noodle brunch yesterday. Yes, can I just say... yum-o?
First were the small plates that I wish we would have had more of. Not because we didn't have enough to eat, of course, but because those that we had were so tasty and fun. The pork belly steamed buns were so delish... glazed and tender and fatty and crispy and flavorful. The bun itself was done in a way that I haven't seen before, that is, sliced from a larger piece. Normally it's one complete bun unto itself but that was not the case here. It didn't make it any less pillowy though, so for me, it was a non-issue. The duck fat fried chicken was pretty fab too. Piping hot and juicy inside with a thick, crispy crust. Yeah... fab. I can't say that I was a huge fan of the mini-mushroom app. I guess I was expecting something else, maybe for the mushrooms to have been roasted or something, but they weren't. And there was some strange sliminess happening on the plate as well which was less than appealing to me. I believe it was part of the taro root but I don't know. I hate to knock it because I'm just not that familiar with all of the ingredients in this type of cuisine and maybe it was supposed to be that way, but I wouldn't order it again. Does anyone have any insight into this dish that they'd care to share?
And then we all ordered noodles. Mmmm... noodles. I love a gigantic bowl of steaming hot noodles in broth. Normally, I would have been drawn to the ramen... maybe because it's something familiar and I'm on a constant search for rich, sticky, delicious ramen in this city. But this time the man ordered it so I was forced to try something else. I mean, we couldn't order the same thing. That would be absurd. So I opted for the udon with sliced ribeye. And, I totally won. Lucky me! The broth was flavorful, as was the beef, the noodles had a wonderful springiness to them, and the egg and tofu lent an interesting, spongy (in a good way) texture. It was wonderful.
The ramen, surprisingly, was my least favorite at the table. Not that it was bad, it just seemed a bit one dimensional. I guess I wanted more depth out of it. You know, Ippudo or Setagaya style. Does that exist in Chicago? Real, hand-pulled noodles with intensely flavored, sticky broth and a runny but set egg? If you have the answer, help a girl out! Do tell!
I also managed to steal a taste of the vegetarian ramen from my kind friend sitting to my left. It was excellent. The broth, as expected, was light and delicate but still had a very rounded flavor.
Another delightful component to our brunch were the very well composed cocktails. Real, fresh ingredients, mixed with care, made for very happy sipping to accompany our happy slurping.
We dined in the first floor dining room which was very nice and little and comfortable. Almost homey but in a non-kitchy kind of way. I didn't get a chance to check out the upstairs section of the restaurant. All the more reason to go back!
And our service was lovely. Casual and lovely. Our server was very helpful in describing and directing but then gave us space to enjoy ourselves. All components together became a very comfortable and delicious experience.
The short version (out of 10)...
Overall impression: 8
Would I go back?
In a heart beat. I can't wait to try dinner!