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David Lissner
for restaurants

Thinking Outside the Box for Novel Bento Boxes

Remember when you were a kid and your boxed lunch was your lifeblood? Well boxed lunches are hot again, and it’s thanks to a roster of restaurants serving up bento box lunches that go far beyond the Japanese standard. These precious contraptions are a great, affordable way to sample an array of flavors and preparations […]

Japanese food and film nights in River North

Beer, ramen and a side of Godzilla? Slurping Turtle in River North has launched latenight Monday “Beer and Bincho Movie Nights,” with screenings of a variety of classic films accompanied by snack specials starting at $3.50 (as well as togarashi-seasoned popcorn, $2). The films are free. Screenings take place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. […]

6 spots for noodling around Chicago in March

March is National Noodle Month! Think chow fun, chow mein, lo mein, pad Thai, pad kee mao, pho, ramen … yum! Try these spots for slurp-worthy versions of the slippery stuff. 1. Joy Yee’s Noodles, Chinatown, University Village, Evanston and Naperville. 2. Koi, Evanston. 3. Le Colonial, Near North Side. 4. Pho Xe Tang / […]

Free class teaches how to make ramen from scratch

Americans are apt to think of ramen as an instant noodle dish, but in Japan, it goes far beyond the packaged products. Every region of Japan has its own version of the soup, featuring wheat noodles served in richly flavored broth with toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, green onions and more. At 6 […]

29 last-minute Chicago ideas for Valentine’s Day 2013

Uh oh, you forgot to make Valentine’s Day reservations! We’ve got you covered. As of today, these restaurants were reporting they still had openings. You can make reservations right from within Dining Chicago, too. But hurry, we don’t guarantee they’ll still have openings. Aquitaine, French bistro, Lincoln Park. Bin 36 global, River North. Branch 27, […]

Japanophiles: Sign up now

Sushisamba rio in River North shows off the talents of its Japanese chefs, Shigeru Kitano and Koji Kagawa, in an exquisite series of omekase (oh-MEH-ka-say) dinners. Beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, four weekly, eight-course dinners will each focus on a different region of Japan: Hiroshima, Akita, Nagano and Nigata. The menus include such […]

Do you fugu?

Chef Toyoji Hemmi does. The only licensed specialist preparing the delicately flavored but potentially poisonous Japanese blowfish between New York and Colorado, Hemmi is currently preparing a variety of seasonal fugu dishes at Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge in River North. A six-course whole fugu feast for two, $338, offers hirezake, fugu fin in hot […]

15 top Chicago Easter brunches

Hop on out for brunch this Easter (Sunday, April 8). Here are a dozen of Chicago’s best. C-House, Streeterville. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Chef Nicole Pederson offers a seasonal menu including such dishes as farro and poached eggs with speck, fiddlehead ferns, lemon and watercress, with toast ($12); house-made pork sausage eggs benedict […]

Friday food porn: Ay, ay, ayu!

Ayu, a Japanese river fish also known as sweetfish, is skewered, lightly battered and deep-fried tempura-style at Lure Izakaya Pub in Chinatown, $7.

Seafood to die for: Fugu in Chicago

If you’ve been checking off the “100 Foods to Eat Before You Die,” here’s a chance to get one more … though you might want to save it for last.* Through the end of March, Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge in River North currently offers fugu, a potentially deadly Japanese delicacy. This mild-tasting blowfish carries […]