After closing in December for renovations, Japonais reopened this month with the name Japonais by Morimoto. The new name is nod to the Iron Chef star Masaharu Morimoto.
Morimoto designed and developed the new menu to combine his signature Asian fusion style with Japonais’ contemporary Japanese cuisine. The new menu includes creative starters like tuna “pizza” (above), foie gras oysters and pork gyoza dumplings to entrées such as five-spiced roasted duck and 16oz dry aged prime ribeye.
We haven’t seen pictures of the new interior, but the space is features an elevated sushi bar, an open kitchen, a canopied shochu bar and new private tasting rooms. The restaurant plans to open the downstairs Lounge and Riverwalk this spring.
In terms of drinks, the shochu bar will host Chef Morimoto’s own line of shochu, plus sake, craft beers and a large selection of Japanese whiskey.
After opening restaurants in New York, Philadelphia, Napa, Honolulu, Mexico City and India, this is Morimoto’s first restaurant off the coasts. I think we can consider this another hat tip to Chicago’s growing culinary scene and another reason New York and LA should be nervous.