Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Gaijin, Chicago's first okonomiyaki restaurant, is on fire. The compact 60-seat space pulses with laughter, music and sizzling grill tops cooking Hiroshima and Osaka styles of savory Japanese... Read More
Gaijin, Chicago's first okonomiyaki restaurant, is on fire. The compact 60-seat space pulses with laughter, music and sizzling grill tops cooking Hiroshima and Osaka styles of savory Japanese pancakes. Award-winning chef Paul Virant clearly envisioned the appeal of this traditional Japanese comfort food: Osaka style pancakes with a cabbage base, protein and additional flourishes, then capped with items Okonomiyaki sauce and Kewpie Mayo. Hiroshima style is a layered dish with the addition of yakisoba noodles in traditional and vegetarian versions. Winning starters and shared plates include Arctic char in a frame of hot mustard; various yakisoba (noodles); croquettes; and steamy bok choy enlivened with sesame, garlic, shoyu and fried shallots. Highballs are the house drink prepared with various spirits but there are other tasty cocktails, beer, wine, sake, teas and zero ABV beverages to cool the pipes. Kakigori, a shaved ice dessert, and mochi donuts wrap it up very nicely.
- New and Popular Restaurants: "Gaijin serves lunch, dinner and drinks seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., so you can dodge a long wait by visiting mid-afternoon to early evening."
- Best for New and Popular Restaurants Because: Chicago's first okonomiyaki restaurant offers a taste of traditional Japanese comfort food in a dynamic atmosphere.