Without a mixing truck, the sand, limestone, water, and crushed eggs that compose concrete would never whirl together enough for sidewalks and cement shoes. Today's Groupon amalgamates a more marvelous mixture: for $25, you'll get $50 worth of French-American cuisine with Japanese influences at Takashi. Helmed by a James Beard–awarded chef, the Bucktown fine-dining establishment culls ingredients from around the globe for its contemporary cuisine.
After cutting his teeth at acclaimed eateries including Tribute in Detroit and Okada in the Wynn Las Vegas, Chef Takashi Yagihashi opened his namesake restaurant in 2007. The restaurant's menu changes with the seasons; dishes vary weekly and even daily. Start a spring meal on a cool note with a cold small plate such as the salad of asparagus ($9) with marinated golden beets and pickled rhubarb. Main courses currently include Amish chicken cooked in a clay pot with shimeji mushrooms, eggplant, haricot vert, and yuzu juice ($23); gnocchi with scallops and celery root–parmesan foam ($13); and wasabi-crusted New York strip steak ($28). For dessert, roasted rhubarb ($8) plated with vanilla rice pudding, candied ginger, and strawberry sorbet or the chocolate macadamia nut cake ($8) leave taste buds humming a sweet note. This Groupon can also be applied to the chef's tasting menu (all members of your party must participate in the tasting).
Toast special occasions with selections from the well-curated wine list, or pause from pancakes with the special Sunday noodle lunch (featuring ramen, soba, and udon dishes) from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Takashi's smoky steel walls, soft candlelight, and elegantly minimalistic tables make the dining room an intimate alcove for marriage proposals, divorce proposals, or admissions of twinning. Call ahead to schedule a reservation.
- Takashi Yagihashi, an immensely focused chef who returned to Chicago after triumphant stands in Detroit and Las Vegas, has gotten pretty much everything right in this Bucktown brownstone. – J.R., Chicago
- Vetted chef Takashi Yagihashi has transformed the former Scylla space into a Zen den showcasing food that deftly combines his Japanese heritage with French training and American ingredients. Flavors are subtle and balanced; presentations are delicate and often beautiful. – Time Out Chicago
- There’s a well-thought-out international wine list as well as a selection of sakés from Yagihashi’s hometown. Desserts feel the love, too, with sheep’s milk panna cotta and tropical fruit brunoise. – Gayot
With a star-studded résumé that includes stints in such media-acclaimed restaurants as Yoshi's, Ambria, and Tribute—a Detroit-based eatery of his own that earned him a James Beard Award—it shouldn't be surprising that Takashi Yagihashi's latest culinary venture was a success. At his eponymous establishment, the chef crafts gourmet dishes inspired by his French culinary training and accented with the traditional flavors of his native Japan, creating a menu that has earned the restaurant a Michelin star and that Chicago magazine called "the finest Asian fusion cuisine in the city." Beyond acclaimed culinary skills, Yagihashi's vivacious personality earned him the title of Top Chef Masters Fan Favorite.
In a spartan dining room adorned with subtle art and slate-colored brick, diners savor entrees such as chicken in a clay pot simmering with shimeji mushrooms, eggplant, and yuzu juice, or soy-ginger caramel pork belly served with steamed buns. Yagihashi also highlights his versatility in a number of prix-fixe menus, such as the weekly 7- or 11-course Kaiseki dinner and a tasting menu that pairs each morsel with a complementary wine. While mulling over the menu, savvy wait staff offer their recommendations for the best wine, beer, or sake from the restaurant's lengthy drink lists, along with sweet post-meal choices such as Yagihashi's signature brown-egg dessert, which Chicago magazine says "elevates crème brûlée to Zen-like perfection."