I’ve got a crush on Momotaro and I’ve got it bad.
Sushi and I have a love affair that dates back to my days in So Cal as a wee babe picking at her tuna handrolls with cheater chopsticks. There is no sashimi off limits and no dish too adventurous for this fishy fan. I love trying new things, especially when it expands my horizons to other continents and cultures. The latest dining locale from Chicago-centric Boka Restaurant Group, is doing just that.
Momotaro brings a cohesion of ultra-traditional Japanese cuisine with a progressively contemporary flare to sushi aficionados and newbies, alike.
The menu alone is a journey. From sashimi and soups, to ultra-high end dishes like Santa Barbara Uni Rice with burgundy black truffles, to Izakaya “snacks” and small bites, there are tons of flavors and notes to explore.
A few of the standout favorites on the menu for me were the Chawanmushi – a very traditional warm Japanese custard dish – that Momotaro ups the ante on by adding luxurious alaskan king crab and (yes, more!) truffles to the mix; the Diver Scallop “hot coal” dish with uni, ponzu butter, seabeans and ikura also slayed with its amazing balance and delicacy.
The only dish that didn’t get me singing the high notes was the racy and insanely pricey ($45) FU Roll. FU meaning “F*@K You.” Yes, the maki that flips you the bird. For the price point, I wasn’t bowled over. The outside of the maki features gorgeous cuts of top notch ingredients (think: uni, wagyu, king crab, toro) while the inside is filled with a starchy, tasteless Asian root vegetable. Or fruit. Um, yeah. Something not memorable. I would skip this next time.
The unique offerings will certainly keep me coming back, in fact, I’m already plotting my triumphant return… as soon as I can afford it. While the bites are small and intended for a more casual-style shared vibe, the pricing is straight up luxury. Luckily, Momotaro features a subterranean Izakaya lounge – serving drinks with more casual plates – with its own menu that may more successfully pander to a less indulgent experience.
Overall, Momotaro is pretty flawless. Both in service and decor. It’s stunning, trendy and vibrant. The type of place you go for a fabulous evening out or to celebrate something special.
Momotaro | 820 W Lake Street | Chicago | IL | 60607