Monday, January 19, 2015 –Monday, January 19, 6:30 pm (Takashi)
1952 N Damen Avenue
Takashi: Black Tie with Decorations for Members
Part of our Dining Around the World Series
Gourmands around the country were saddened when Chef Takashi Yagihashi shuttered his eponymous Michelin-starred eatery on January 3, 2015, after seven years of serving his acclaimed contemporary fusion of Asian, French and American cuisine. Takashi Restaurant’s doors opened one last time on January 19, 2015, exclusively for Chaîne Chicago members and guests, offering a final opportunity to experience Chef Takashi’s personal vision of haute Japanese cuisine just one night after visiting his casual izakaya, Slurping Turtle.
Upon entering the two-story Bucktown brownstone, formally attired attendees were seated and greeted with an amuse bouche—a “shooter” that incorporated Santa Barbara sea urchin, quail egg and paddle fish caviar with a touch of ponzu and sake. 1998 Jacquart Blanc de Blancs Millésimé was poured; the well-aged 100% Chardonnay Champagne provided excellent acidity and minerality that balanced the rich quail egg. Hamachi (a seasonal favorite in Japan’s colder months when the young yellowtail has its highest fat content) and prosciutto was served next; this fish course, which had been lightly cold smoked with hickory, was also accompanied by preserved Meyer lemon and tart apple that provided acidic and textural balance, and the dish was finished with extra virgin olive oil, Maldon sea salt and a dash of soy-dashi vinaigrette that added umami flavor. The briny minerality and racy acidity of Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Le Clos 2005 cut through the fattiness of the fish, and the wine developed nicely in the glass over time.
The second course was Alaskan spot prawn chawanmushi accompanied by a fried shrimp head that provided a crunchy counterpoint to the silky egg custard. Domaine Joseph Scharsch Altenberg de Wolxheim 2004 paired nicely with this course, the crispness of the dry French Riesling contrasting beautifully with the slightly sweet custard. Next, Chef Takashi prepared Japanese gumbo with shrimp, chicken, kurobuta sausage and garaeddeok—cylindrical rice cakes that served as chewy dumplings. (Takashi’s mother made gumbo using dashi in place of traditional roux after hot-house okra was introduced to their prefecture in his childhood.) This course was paired with chilled Kirinzan sake, a bright junmai daiginjo with citrus notes that is crafted in the Niigata prefecture.
The fourth course was seared pork cheek and belly with spicy napa cabbage and tofu fried two ways that paired nicely with a French Pinot Noir—Clos de Vougeot, Jacques Arnoul Grand Cru 1995. Miso-marinated Indiana duck breast glazed with orange-moromiso sauce (yuzu juice, orange, and honey) was presented on gokoku, a blend of five different spent grains and rice. The delectable dish matched beautifully with a mature Bordeaux from Pomerol, Château Le Bon Pasteur 1990, which was soft and elegant with red berry notes in perfect harmony with the duck. The meal concluded with Japanese whisky “cappuccino” and “Amasake,” a sweet sake soup. Château Coutet 1995, a Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend from Barsac, showed Asian spice notes that harmonized nicely the desserts.
During its tenure, Takashi was a fine-dining restaurant acclaimed for serving beautiful dishes using the highest quality ingredients in a warm and relaxed atmosphere, and that unique environment was on display throughout this special reopening. Chef Takashi was an exceptionally gracious host for two successive nights, sharing stories about his food and how growing up in Japan impacted his culinary vision. Listening to him, it was impossible not to recognize that all of Chef Takashi’s food, informal or formal, showcases his heart and soul. Attendees at this farewell event were honored to reminisce and savor one last meal at an unforgettable restaurant.
Dear Confrères and Consœurs,
As we open the second chapter in our 2014-2015 Chicago Chaine season, a James Beard award-winning Chef closes a chapter in his culinary journey. Please join us for what we believe will be two extraordinary evenings, executed Chaine style by a dear friend, Chef Takashi Yagihashi.
Our foray into the New Year begins with a visit to Chef Takashi’s casual eatery, Slurping Turtle, to introduce us to the essence of Japanese comfort food. Chef will offer us recreations of his culinary experiences while growing up in Japan, including a hot bowl of ramen, sure to warm our souls on a cold winter night. Slurping Turtle is no ordinary ramen-house, however, this is a Bib Gourmand winning restaurant. This will be the more casual of the two evenings but in no way any less creative or delicious.
The second evening of this incredible culinary journey takes us back to Chef’s eponymous and soon-to-be-shuttered Michelin-starred Bucktown restaurant. He will reopen Takashi for one night for our exclusive dining pleasure. For one last time, we will enjoy his brand of Japanese haute cuisine, a fusion of French and Asian flavors and techniques. Takashi, the restaurant, opened in December of 2007 and has garnered a Michelin star every year since the Michelin Guide came to Chicago. We feel honored to be invited one last time and have the chance to savor and reminisce many pleasant dining experiences in this restaurant.
We hope you can join us for both evenings! We’re very excited about this opportunity!
Capacity is limited. Please sign up early.