Friday, September 26, 2014

Sushi from a Chain Restaurant

I don't know if it's food snobbery or if it's rooting for the independent, stand-alone specialty eatery, but when I found out that RA Sushi was a national chain, my expectations became quite low.  Finding out that it was owned by culinary corporate conglomerate Benihana increased my skepticism of the quality and taste.  Stan and I happened to be in the Gold Coast neighborhood and stopped in for dinner out of convenience.  We ordered the miso hot! soup, which had tofu, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy and shrimp simmered in a spicy miso broth.  It tasted like a milder version of Korean kimchi stew, which was fine by me. We also had the clam udon, sake steamed clams served over udon noodles in a sake cream broth.  Growing up, I only had udon in clear broth; RA's clam udon had a creamy richness comparable to fettuccine alfredo.  I would definitely order it again.  The waiter recommended the zonie roll, comprised of spicy salmon, cucumber, cilantro, avocado and sriracha.  It was okaaay, but I couldn't taste the cilantro and there was no special wow factor.  In sushi, when there are too many fillings that overpower and not complement each other, it usually does not work.  However, I am curious to try more of RA's non-sushi and non-sashimi dishes in the future.
RA Sushi Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pasta at Eataly

Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant, I normally don't order pasta dishes.  Perhaps it was because I cooked myself spaghetti all too often as a latchkey kid.  Recently, Stan and I went to Eataly for dinner and since he was craving carbs in the form of pasta, we ordered a couple pasta dishes.  They were absolutely amazing! We really liked the pasta al nero con sugo di mare -- tagliatelle noodles blackened with squid ink accompanied by shrimp, calamari and clams.  As you can see in the picture, perhaps we added a bit too much shredded parmesan!  We also ordered the tagliatelle al ragu di manzo, which had sinewy but tender meat chunks.  I will definitely be open to ordering pasta at Eataly again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bar Bites at Morton's

Morton's is one of the more reputable steak houses in Chicago.  From Sunday through Thursday, they offer a limited selection of bar bites at the bar for $7 and $8.  Over the years, I've seen certain fabulous bar bite options get smaller or removed entirely from the menu.  Perhaps it was the Landry's take-over that presented the most drastic menu changes.  At my most recent visit, Stan and I ordered the tuna tacos, which were essentially tiny folded potato chips filled with some sushi-grade tuna, and the filet mignon trio, which were similar to the size of a medium scallops.  These two bites didn't satisfy our munchies, so we ordered the four petite filet mignon sandwiches, which we should have ordered initially.  These steak sliders have remained a mainstay on the bar bites menu and is the best deal and most substantive offering.
Morton's The Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Korean Taco Joint

Tonight, my buddy and I checked out the new Korean taco joint Takos Koreanos, which just opened up five weeks ago!  I expected it to be like the other Korean taco joints in the city with the pay-first and self-busing model, but it's actually a full service restaurant.  We ordered the kimchi fries, which, with its shoestring fries, set it apart from the kimchi fries of bopNgrill and Taco Chino.  We also ordered a taco plate including kalbi, kalbi barba"Korea" and honey chili tilapia tacos.  I'm not a huge fan of corn tortilla tacos, but I actually enjoyed the kalbi barba"Korea".  The owner personally recommended The 2 Little Pigs Quesadillas, which contains samgyupsahl -- plenty of pork.
This is Phil Yoon's third restaurant and he did a LOT of research studying the various demographics in different areas, along with the preferences of his territory's clientele.  Since this joint caters mostly to non-Koreans in the Andersonville area, he had to water down the spicyness in some of the side items, such as kimchi fried rice.  The location is a bit of a hike up north, but is nevertheless a great addition to the city's Korean-influenced eateries!
Takos Koreanos on Urbanspoon