Dinner, River North

Japonais

Japonais
Dinner
Neighborhood: River North
Address: 600 W Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60654
Phone Number: (312) 822-9600
Website

Price Range: $30-55
Our Rating: 4 out of 5

What We Tried: Edamame, Tofu Miso, Calamari and Quinoa Salad, Sashimi Caesar Salad, Kanpyo Maki Roll (sweet gourd), Shrimp Tempura Maki Roll, Duck Confit Fried Rice with Organic Farm Egg, Salmon Sushi

Our Take: “Allez Cuisine!” Though I didn’t actually get to hear The Chairman say the words of his great uncle unto me, and we weren’t technically in Stadium Kitchen, our experience at Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s River North restaurant Japonais felt pretty authentic.

According to our very knowledgable waiter, Chef Morimoto spent the first three years of his training to become an itamae (sushi chef) just learning to make sushi rice so it’s safe to say the food at Japonais is pretty authentic.

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duck confit fried rice

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calamari quinoa salad

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shrimp tempura maki roll

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kanpyo maki roll

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salmon sushi

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sashimi caesar salad

 

One thing that is not traditional about the restaurant: the décor. While it definitely had Asian influences, the atmosphere in Japonais was very cool and contemporary, fitting for a dining spot with reportedly great nightlife. Several tasting rooms are available, as well as a raised sushi bar overlooking the open kitchen, making this space ideal for large parties and special functions, but just as fitting for a special date night.

We also learned that Maki Rolls are what Americans traditionally think of as sushi rolls, while actual sushi is just the piece of seafood over rice. Sashimi is the same as sushi but without the rice. Our favorite dishes of the night were the Calamari Quinoa Salad (perfectly crisp calamari and light tangy dressing) and The Duck Confit Fried Rice seemed promising, but lacked flavor other than just duck fat.

All in all, we found that only a true sushi or seafood enthusiast could appreciate the high quality and authenticity of this renowned restaurant. As for four twenty-somethings grabbing a bite before The Bachelor, we would’ve been just as satisfied (and $20 richer) if we’d gone to a commonplace seaweed salad/miso soup/two rolls for $15 type of place.

-Meredith

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Breakfast and Brunch, Coffee, Streeterville, The Loop

Do-Rite Donuts

Do-Rite Donuts
Breakfast, Coffee
Neighborhood: Streeterville, The Loop
Address: 50 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601
233 E. Erie St. Chicago, IL 60611
Phone Number: Randolph St. – (312) 488-2483
Erie St. – (312) 344-1374
Website

Price Range: $1.95-2.50/donut
Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5

What We Tried: Vanilla Bean Glazed, Pistachio-Meyer Lemon, Chocolate Old Fashioned, Buttermilk Old Fashioned

Our Take: If 16 years of Catholic schooling has taught me anything, it is this: Embrace Fat Tuesday with all of your being.

Despite my native Detroit’s affinity for Paczki on this particular day, I prefer my donuts sans filling. To be honest, because my previous donut experience was pretty much post-Church donuts in the social hall, I didn’t think I liked donuts that much at all. That was, of course, until I moved to Chicago. Chicago, I am convinced, is the donut capital of the world. And if Chicago is the donut capital of the world, Do-Rite is its ruler.

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why donut you just give me all of them

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spent fat tuesday with this donut.

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donut ask…

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this one’s a little do-nutty

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donut you just love old-fashioners?

I tried three different donuts from Do-Rite (we’re embracing, remember?), and I can honestly say with complete conviction that these three donuts were the best donuts I’ve ever tasted in my entire life (I’ve had more than my fair share since moving to Chicago). While Do-Rite may not serve up the variety of Stan’s, they do the classics, and they do them flawlessly.

To make sure my opinion was well-rounded, I tried a yeast donut, a cake donut, and an old-fashioned (If you don’t know what that means, click here). The Vanilla Bean Glazed (yeast) was pillowy soft and light as air, so much so that it required gentle holding to avoid getting squished. The glaze was perfect: light and sweet, but not too sweet, with the vanilla bean adding the perfect amount of flavor.

The Pistachio-Meyer Lemon and the Buttermilk Old Fashioned were both cake donuts, and OH MY LAWD were they ever perfect. Never in my life have I bitten into something with such a perfectly crisp exterior and then sunk my teeth into a dense, cakey, and moist bed of flavor immediately afterword. If the yeast donut was a goose down feather pillow, the cake donuts were Tempurpedics – all about personal preferences, but I would fall asleep on, err eat, either of those options any day. The best part about the actual flavor of the Pistachio-Meyer Lemon was actually its subtlety. The lemon was like the pretty girl at the party who stands by the wall – everyone knows she’s there and she’s gorgeous, so she doesn’t need to show it off too much. The addition of pistachio was more about the crunch on top than neon green hues or the almond flavoring that usually accompany pistachio-flavored things.

It is definitely a good thing that we didn’t discover Do-Rite until the day before Lent; that being said, you know where to find me on Easter Sunday.

-Meredith

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