Mike Sula reviews Lure Izakaya Pub, the new Chinatown restaurant and lounge from Kee Chan (Mulan, Heat, Mirai Sushi) and the peripatetic Eric Aubriot, who together are turning out wonderfully simple and authentic small plates, from madai himono, air-dried wood-grilled Japanese small fishes, to mussels in miso-butter-coconut broth to creme brulee infused with tart yuzu citrus. Dress in keeping with the nightly theme-vampire, geisha, Lolita girl, Green Hornet, etc-and you get a 10 percent discount.
In What’s New Sula reviews Ing, Homaro Cantu’s futuristic Asian-inspired venture in the former Otom space sandwiched between Moto and Grant Achatz’s Next (which, incidentally, opened yesterday). There’s a noodle station in the front, a chef’s table serving a “miracle berry”-based tasting menu, house-brewed “nanobeers” that may or may not be available, and several other Motodelic touches—the pork-stuffed bao are painted to look like sesame-studded hamburger buns, and the “inverted” waffles consist of waffle mousse frozen in a waffle iron and served with a malty syrup and a “butter pat” of mango sorbet.
In Key Ingredient Randy Zweiban of Province, handed tamarind by Stephanie Izard, accented its “jowl-grabbing acidity” with other acidic ingredients like sherry vinaigrette and lemon juice, putting them to use in a marinade and sauce for tamarind- and spice-glazed chicken. Next up is Michael McDonald of One SixtyBlue, cooking with miso.
In the listings are 13 Japanese restaurants, among them Lakeview’s Chizakaya, River North’s grill-it-yourself Japanese barbecue Gyu-Kaku, and Bucktown’s Takashi, where a star-studded chefs’ dinner to benefit relief efforts in Japan will be held Monday, April 18, from 5 to 10 PM; it’s $200-$250 per person