River Norths Union, where the robata grill periodically bursts into cinematically hellish flames

Every so often Bob Roth, one of the Reader‘s founders, drops me a line, usually with a correction, but sometimes with a lament. December brought one of the latter.

Dear Kate,

Earlier this week I discovered that Mizu Yakitori, 315 W. North Ave., is shuttered.

This is a most regrettable development—it was the best restaurant in my neighborhood. Why don’t some of the mediocre ones go out of business instead?


Good question. Particularly, perhaps, when it comes to izakaya-ish restaurants—or at least some of the ones Mike Sula favors.* Chinatown’s kooky Lure Izakaya Pub: gone. River North’s Union Sushi & Barbeque Grill, described by Sula as “a David Chang-style confluence of carnicentric excess and pan-Asiatica”: alive, well, and still periodically lit by the “cinematically hellish flames” of its robata grill. (“Wanna hit Union?” I overheard a dude on the Brown Line at rush hour ask a buddy not long ago.)