If you haven’t guessed, I like Japanese food. If I’m lucky, I’m hoping to get to Tokyo this year. Cross your fingers for me, please.
For dinner one night in Chicago in early December, I ended up on Randolph Street (restaurant row in Chicago) hoping to get into Avec, which is a casual fine dining place. I thought it would be the type of place I could eat at by myself, but Avec was pretty packed for early in the evening and I wasn’t up for the challenge. Meiji looked a bit more spacious and open and I didn’t think I’d look overly odd with a book and a newspaper and my Blackberry, so I gave it a try. Plus, it was another Chowhound Chicago Board recommendation.
Meiji, unfortunately, was a little pricier than I anticipated. And this was just with a starter, a main, and pot of green tea. But the presentation (lovely and artistic) and the service (informative and passionate) balanced out the expense, so I will cut them some slack.
One thing I miss about sushi rolls in America is that we get pretty creative with them. Rainbow colored. Animal shaped. (Dragons are particular favorites.) You name it. You don’t see that so much in Japanese restaurants in London. (If you do know where I can find some creative rolls, please tell me.)
The rolls at Meiji were definitely creative. In the 2nd photo, you maybe can’t see it so well, but the eel and salmon and rice were very sculptured…the pieces were very angular. Also, note how the eel and the salmon come together to almost form one piece.
The sushi chefs bid a cheerful adieu as I made to leave.
The next day, I couldn’t stomach another boxed lunch (I was at a conference so it was a sandwich, chips, an apple, and a drink every day) so I headed over to Osey, a newer Japanese place on South Michigan. Osey gets points for decor–it’s airy and modern and bright (almost Wagamama-esque)–but the food was pretty bad. (Although it does look nice there in its bento box, doesn’t it?) The eel was super slimey and I couldn’t really tell what was in the rolls…crab salad? The shimp tempura were covered in pink and yellow sprinkles and served with an overly sweet orange sauce. I didnt finish any of it, which is the ultimate bad sign from me.