After a long sabbatical in Michigan and Las Vegas, Takashi Yagihashi returns to Chicagoland. His eponymous restaurant in Bucktown opens today! Full press release and bonus menus after the jump.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1952 N. Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-4565
THE PERSONALIZED STYLE OF TAKASHI
Chef Takashi Yagihashi’s Innovative Cuisine
To Dazzle Windy City Diners Once More
(Chicago) – Chicagoans are celebrating more than the New Year later this month, as Takashi restaurant prepares to open December 30. The restaurant is the latest and most personal project for chef/owner Takashi Yagihashi, who returns to his chosen hometown after several years away. Combining the cuisine and service of a fine dining establishment with the warmth and accessibility of a neighborhood tavern, Takashi is a welcome addition to the vibrant Bucktown neighborhood.
A cozy, intimate space, Takashi’s menu showcases contemporary French, American and Japanese cuisines and will be Chef Yagihashi’s most personal venture to date. The celebrated chef first made his mark in Chicago as Chef de Cuisine at the four-star Ambria, then as Executive Chef at Tribute restaurant (Michigan) which, under his guide, became one of the top restaurants in the country. Yagihashi then took on Las Vegas, operating Okada at the high-profile Wynn Hotel; again, a very successful venture. However, he missed the personal connection that is lost in a very large restaurant, and decided to return to Chicago to open his namesake eatery.
The self-taught Yagihashi is known for his delicate balance and respect for natural flavors, and this shines through on Takashi’s menu. Using contrasting tastes and textures, pairing simple with complex techniques, and utilizing all elements of the particular ingredient he is showcasing are hallmarks of his touch. The menu features high-quality seasonal ingredients from both around the globe and local farms, organic when possible and using no preservatives (including MSG). Both refined and defined, the menu is divided into Cold Small Plates, Hot Small Plates, Large Plates and Desserts. A sample menu follows.
The wine list at Takashi features primarily New World items, with a unique Sake program. All sakes, beers and green teas at the restaurant come from the Ibaraki Prefecture, Yagihashi’s hometown. Hand-selected by Yagihashi, he personally knows each of the sake makers – another example of the special care and intimate connection he has with all aspects of this restaurant.
Before deciding on a culinary career, Yagihashi received his Interior Design degree from the Tokyo Design School and worked with designer Francois Geneve to develop the intimate space. The design team took the vintage bones of the space and infused them with Asian and French sensitivities, combining Old World charm with contemporary urban flair. This one-time artist studio and more recently restaurant is in a cottage-like building and covers two floors, with original brick walls intact. Retaining the texture while adding color, the brick walls were painted in contrasting gray and beige colors, providing a more neutral backdrop for the furnishings and millwork. Cherry wood accents run throughout the space, providing a burst of warmth and natural texture.
The first floor houses banquette and table seating, a small bar and the glass-walled kitchen. Above the banquette on the south side wall, a custom-made hand-painted panoramic mural serves as the focal point. The twelve foot long mural of beige and white organic tree branches over silver linen paper infuses an Asian motif into the contemporary esthetic. Picking up on the silver are the fabrics used for the banquette, a subtle silver bamboo-like pattern, and the Silver Birch Corian (used on the bar top and service station) which is reminiscent of Japanese sand. The second floor dining area is a charming space with a sloping ceiling, enhancing the warm and cozy feel of Takashi. To add visual interest above, an installation was fitted to the ceiling comprised of alternating cherry wood and upholstered panels (the same fabric as the banquettes), arranged in a geometric pattern to resemble a Japanese Tatami mat.
Takashi serves dinner six nights a week, closed Mondays. Dinner is offered Tuesday – Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and Sunday 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Dress is upscale casual and smoking is not permitted in the restaurant. Private dining is available for up to 35, valet parking is available and reservations are recommended. For reservations or further information, please call 773.772.6170 or reference www.takashichicago.com.
Sample Menu December 2007
Cold Small Plates
Thin Sliced Young Japanese Yellowtail “Kampachi”
Monk Fish “Foie Gras”, Soy-Sesame Vinaigrette
Winter Roll of Proscuitto, Shrimp, and Mizuna
Hot and Sour Sauce
Tartare of Big Eye Tuna
Japanese Taro Root, Crispy Rice Chips
House Smoked Salmon
Garlic Chives, Jerusalem Artichoke Pancake
Trio of Home Made Tofu
Seaweed “Mekabu”, Sweet Maine Shrimp, Marinated Mushroom
Seared Tuna with Avocado
Hearts of Palm, Sweet Onion, Tosasu Dressing
Organic Butter Lettuce
Pickled Beets and Onions, Chive dressing
Hot Small Plates
Savoy Cabbage and Gobo Soup
Crispy Veal Sweetbreads
Braised Swiss Chard, Roasted Chestnuts, Arimasansho Sauce
Steamed Peeky-toe Crab Meat with Organic Egg Custard
Shimeji Mushroom, Sea Urchin, Caviar, Truffle-White Soy Glaze
Soy-Ginger Caramel Pork Belly
Braised Daikon, Steamed Buns
Crispy Organic Chicken Wings
Shi-Shito Peppers, Yuzu Aioli
Sautéed Maine Scallops and Soba Gnocchi
Trumpet Royale Mushroom, Celery Root-Parmesan Foam
Organic Chicken Meatloaf
Organic Onsen Tomago, Preserved Seaweed
“Bad Hair Day” of Shrimp
Oba Leaves, Spicy Sauce Chinois
Julienne of Winter Vegetables, Mizuna, Hot Sesame Oil
Braised Winter Melon
Roasted Atlantic Salmon
Organic Chicken in Clay Pot
Shimeji Mushrooms, Eggplant, Okra
Seared Local Loin of Pork “On the Bone”
Crispy Sweet Onion with Bacon, Organic Spinach and Enoki Mushrooms
Roasted New York Strip Steak
Fresh Wasabi, Miso Glazed Fingerling Potato, Fried Salsify
Sheep’s Milk Panacotta
Yuzu gelee, Green Tea Macaroons
Chilled Lemongrass-Guava Soup
Passion Fruit, Mango, Papaya Sorbet
Almond Malt Bombe
Oven Dried Banana and Banana Compote
Coconut and Macadamia Nut Tart
Coconut Ice Cream, Candied Ginger
Warm Pear Financiers
With Honey Milk Ice Cream
Selection of Sorbets and Ice Cream