I’ve been to Yusho both as a Vegan and when I was eating Pecetarian. My husband, who eats in both worlds, always chooses to be an omnivore for his meals at Yusho. He usually leaves the restaurant saying that his “favorite dish he’s ever had” came from Yusho. On this particular visit to Yusho I let the staff know ahead of time that I was Vegan so the kitchen was prepared, however their menu already includes many vegetarian dishes that can be made Vegan if you just ask.
In short I describe Yusho as a Japanese street food restaurant. All serving sizes are small/medium, so it’ s a great place to go with a group and share many dishes between friends. Here is Yusho, in their own words: “Street food is the great equalizer—no glamour required. Yakitori, when well-executed, is about the simple flavors of authentic street food. A hot grill provides intense flavors from seasonal proteins and vegetables, grilled to order over a chattering, hissing fire. Beer, wine and sake selections compliment the fresh-grilled flavors. Craft cocktails, wines and spirits are chosen for customized meal pairings. Experiment and discover!”
The Drinks. I always recommend trying their Draught Cocktail, it is the daily cocktail and it has never let me down. This time it was gin, house tonic and lime. Very bubbly and a wonderful way to start your evening.
We then ventured out into a couple other seasonal cocktails. I tried the Soothed Wounds – osocalis brandy, adr caroni 1997, combier, tamarind, citrus (left). I’m not a big brandy drinker, but the mixologists at Yusho really know what they are doing and allow just enough brandy flavor to come through and not scare off a rookie like me. Todd went for the Dogs of Okinawa – woodinville white dog, lime, palm sugar, quina bianco, vieux pontarlier absinthe (right). I think he selected this one because of the potential to hallucinate from the absinthe. He didn’t, but he sure enjoyed this crisp drink with a hint of licorice.
The Food. Again, there are many vegetarian items on the menu, so if you are Vegan all you need to do is ask for what can be made Vegan and they will accommodate you. My Vegan dinner menu consisted of Pickles, Grilled Tofu, Gobo Root, Maitake Mushroom and Cosmo.
The pickles were a combination of cucumber, lotus root, carrot. Pickle anything and I will eat it. This dish was awesome.
The Maitake Mushroom dish was cooked to perfection. The mushrooms were crispy, yet soft and accompanied by some frisee. The dressing was a dashi gelée with an egg vinaigrette (minus the egg of course).
The Gobo Root was so fragrant and flavorful combined with sesame, asian pear, plum. The chewiness of the gobo root was contrasted with the softness of the pear and plum, it was excellent.
The Grilled Tofu was flavored with chrysanthemum, pineapple and walnut. Firm on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside.
And my final item was the Cosmo. This was a steamed bun filled with fried tofu, cucumber, a peanut sauce and topped with cilantro. This was the “heaviest” item I had and filled me up right at the end with no room for dessert.
The Ambiance. The decor in Yusho is just amazing. It is always a topic of our dinner conversations – from the jar lights, to the retro booths, to the massive dripped candle wax on the bar…I want Rachel Crowl and Julie Fisher of fcSTUDIO to decorate my house.
The Service. Spectacular is the best way to describe it. The attention to detail that Chef Matthias Merges puts on every dish that leaves the kitchen is just the start. All staff members are filling my water, asking if I need another drink, asking how the food was. Everyone is very professional and it really makes the overall experience that much more enjoyable when you receive that top-notch level of service and attention (not to mention they catered to my dietary restrictions).
Located in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago, just North of Logan Square, we were thrilled to see this restaurant pop up. We’ve tried their dinner numerous times, next up is the Sunday Noodles which I heard is fabulous.