Tasty Adventure at Yusho

Mafia Monday’s are back! This time Food Mafia Founder, Stacey Johnson, took a tasty and tantalizing trip to Yusho

“We had a great meal at Yusho, we ordered a number of plates and all of them were delicious.”

“The 2x fried chicken was great, I loved the oyster. The tuna poke was a very small dish but good. One of my favorite dishes was the tofu doughnuts. Even the people at our table that don’t like tofu really enjoyed them. It seemed like the tofu was pretty minimal.”
“For drinks – their gin and tonic is absolutely great.”

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

Roll With It

Time to roll with it at Jellyfish with The Food Mafia’s Godfella, CaviarCookies! She takes us through the sultry eatery one roll, and sake shot, at a time….

“Everyone can uncross their fingers now! There’s somewhere new and exciting to eat in Gold Coast. That’s right! There’s a hot, new, trendy restaurant that screams sexy. It’s time to welcome Jellyfish to the neighborhood.”

“Just off of Rush Street, an elevator leads you upstairs to the second floor where all the magic happens. The slick and sexy interior reminds me of Miami or maybe I feel like I’m underwater. Either way, I love it. Rocco Laudizio, Slick + Design, is the mastermind behind this masterpiece. White washed wood plays off the white leather booths while blue LED lights line the ceiling and create a mystical yet energetic ambiance. A rectangular blue stone is situated against a white textured wall and serves as the centerpiece for the bar. It immediately captures my attention as I make my way through the cocktail menu.”


“The cocktail menu is playful and inviting. The signature drinks use unique flavors like bbq bitters, lychee or coriander. Since this is a pan-Asian restaurant, I look for something with sake. To my liking, there’s a signature cocktail with sparkling sake. I already feel like I’m winning. The Tea-Chee Spritzer Zipang combines sparkling sake, lychee, fresh lemonade, organic tropical tea and lemon bitters. The drink itself is beautiful and refreshing.”

“Once finished with our cocktails, we make our way to a booth in the atrium. A soft breeze flows through the open windows. Our server greets us and is extremely attentive throughout our entire dining experience. He suggests a great bottle of sake for us to enjoy. Fortunately, we were able to snag the last bottle that evening. It’s light, crisp and exactly what I had wanted. His recommendation was superb for what we were asking. It’s always nice to have a knowledgable staff.”

“To start, we ordered the Rocco Taco. Three mini (and crunchy) wontons were filled with hamachi, radish, red onion, citrus and ponzu. What a great introduction to our meal! They were beautifully presented on a white plate with minimal garnishes. The tacos themselves had so much color and flavor.”

“Next came the sushi rolls. Between the two of us, we ordered four rolls. The rolls were big so lets start with the Big Chicago Roll: fresh mizuna, tuna, salmon, tamago, yellowtail, Japanese pickled cucumbers. Wow! This roll lived up to its name. The different fish were so fresh. It was my favorite roll of the night! Unless you want to embarrass yourself, I wouldn’t attempt to eat this in one bite.”


“If you like sushi rolls with a little bit of a kick I suggest the Kiss of Fire. It’s appropriately named and has spicy tuna, jalapeno, white tuna, salmon and wasabi sauce. This was a treat for me! It was the perfect amount of kick or should I say fire? The Black Diamond included shrimp tempura, Alaskan crab mix and black caviar. Lastly, we tried the Lobster Mango Roll. It was rolled with lobster and sea salted crab. On top were mangoes and flying fish roe. The mango was such a nice treat, and kept me reminiscing of summer. Again, the flavors were simple, clean and fresh. Too often, sushi restaurants try to do too much and lose the essence of sushi. Jellyfish captures the natural flavors of the fish and accents them with fresh ingredients. They’re creative and true. It’s sushi done right.”

“I cannot recommend this place enough! Whether you’re looking for a fun cocktail, quick bite or an exceptional dinner, this is the place. If you’re not a huge sushi fan, Jellyfish also offers main entrees. The service is exceptional. The drinks are carefully prepared, and the food is made with passion. I am so happy Jellyfish has found its way into my neighborhood.”

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

Mafia Mondays – Old Town Social

Food Mafia’s Goodfella Alex got to try out her neighbor Old Town Social – and we agree the pretzel bites look amazing!

“I recently moved to Old Town and live 2 blocks away from Old Town Social. Considering half of my friends used to work here and because I now live so close I ended up coming in a few weeks ago for dinner.”

“The restaurant is really pretty – the lighting is a bit on the dark side, but the set up is really cool and very spacious. They have a great beer list, literally goes on and on and on. I ended up getting a Corona because I was too lazy to read more of the menu but they had some great options. We ordered the pretzel bites and mac and cheese for an appetizer and omg the pretzel bites were AMAZING.  I am not usually a huge fan of pretzels, but these were so tasty.”

“Definitely recommend this place. They have a great outdoor section too!”

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

Mafia Mondays – The Trenchermen

One thing about Godfather caitgreenwood from Food Mafia – that girl knows how to eat. She popped into Trencherman recently in her hood – and this review makes me want to rush over there ASAP!  Congrats Mike and Pat!

What a fantastic night at Trenchermen, truly. I sincerely hope this place takes off and is around for a long long time, especially because I live so close and can see myself spending a lot of time at the fabulous bar! My boyfriend and I popped in on a Thursday night to check out the food and drinks; after reading who was behind this new spot (the Sheerin bros, Tona Palomino, et al), I was very excited to dive into the menu and the cocktails!

The space itself is great, it’s casual and warm with great antique details- the space was a bathhouse dating from the early 1900s where organized crime members and politicians used to hobnob and cut deals; pretty neat history! It still has the white subway tiles and now has an amazing bar in the main room, and a separate dining area with some really great light fixtures and a to-die-for wall of wine. While the space is warm and casual, the food and drinks are extremely refined.

The bar has a very cool barrel cocktail and tap program; and they serve some carbonated beverages, such as the refreshing Bridge and Tunnel, as well as some twists on classics, like the UH-MAZING Jewel-Up. We had several, several Jewel-Ups (beware, they are strong and will sneak up on you!).

The food, from the prolific Sheerin brothers, was really a joy. We couldn’t really decide on what to get, so we just ordered whatever caught our eye. We started with:

-Pickle Tots with chicken breast bresaola, red onion yogurt, scallions (the chicken breast with the red onion yogurt really made this dish, I was practically licking the yogurt off the plate!

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-Beet Bocconcini with baby lettuce, radish and orange
-Scotched Quail Egg with cauliflower, almond, caviar, maple (a favorite dish for the both of us, really different and really delish)
-Bacon Cured Sweetbreads with XO sauce, black garlic, limed carrots, nori (the black garlic and smoky bacon was great with the sweetbreads!)
-Scallop with avgolemono, rice, egg yolk bottarga, baby turnips, lovage (this was a great dish, but I’m a scallop fanatic!)

From there (what a way to get started) we decided to share a few mains:

-Smoked Kentucky Paddlefish with haricots verts, cherries, chicories, chocolate malt granola (my boyfriend isn’t a fan of smoked fish, but I loved this dish!)
-Aged Peking Duck Breast with rhubarb umeboshi, fried rice, kim chee mortadella, red bean paste, nasturtium (probably my favorite dish of the night, the duck was amazing and the rhubarb and kim chee mortadella were such an awesome combo with this dish).

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-Slow Smoked Texas Brisket with Trencheritos, mustard garganelli, snow peas, cornichons (my boyfriend’s favorite of the night, it was tender, hearty, and perfect)
-Braised Pork Belly with sugar snap peas, coconut, vanilla, plums (another close favorite; the belly is brined for 3 days and then sous-vide, which makes it unbelievably tender, The coconut with it was a pretty incredible flavor addition as well!)

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After this gluttony we had to still try desert:

-Coffee Cake with chai tofu ice cream, fried chocolate, smoked ‘merengue’ (yum, just yum, and perfect with coffee, surprisingly enough :) )

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-Candied Cumin Churros with apricot, white chocolate dulce de leche, coriander (these were tasty, we could have had a basket of them!)

We had such a fabulous night at Trenchermen. The service was superb (shout-out to Phil and the amazing Yvonne), the cocktails and wine were fabulous. The food was really incredible; there were such interesting and surprising flavor combinations, some subtle and some not so subtle, but all working perfectly. I can’t wait to go back and try the other items that were recommended (zucchini soup!) and get some of our favorites again!

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

 

 

Mafia Mondays – RPM

Love at first site!  That’s what Food Mafia’s Goodfella LindseyC was feeling on her visit to RPM.

“In case you were wondering, yes I took the time to translate “love at first sight” in Italian on my computer for the title of this post, I mean serious business. I brought my family here last weekend who happens to be Italian and with that have some serious standards for cookin’. They are STILL raving about their experience at RPM. We started off with the provolone-stuffed peppers and a plate of the spicy capicola, if you do not order these upon arrival I will be personally offended. They are unbelievably tasty with just the right amount of kick. For my main entree the server recommended several dishes, but my heart was set on the Spicy King Crab Squid Ink Spaghetti. I was very impressed with the amount of crab and surprisingly the portion size! They give you just the right amount and not too much which I feel like a lot of restaurants have lots sight of. My dad ordered the classic Spaghetti and Meatball and my step-mom decided on the Maine Lobster Ravioli…both of which were outstanding! Not to mention our service was some of the best I’ve had in Chicago…RPM was definitely a success!”

Spicy Capicola

Spicy King Crab Pasta

Provolone Stuffed Peppers

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

Mafia Mondays – Q-ing it up

Summer is a great time for BBQ – and Chicago Q is this week’s feature from our friends at Food Mafia!

Food Review by GoodFella ErinD.

“Champion Chef Lee Ann Whippen’s creations are absolutely mind blowing, even down to the “bread basket” of House-made Bread and Butter Pickles and BBQ Chips you receive at the start of your meal. Whippen’s uses her father’s original BBQ dust on the many of her dishes including the chips. For lunch there is a terrific deal with an individual half appetizer, a main dish and side, as well as a dessert. Chicago q is the perfect place to stop in on a lunch break or during a day out in the city!”

Bread and Butter Pickles and Chips

“We were able to sample a number of different dishes on the menu and every single one was amazing. The Bacon Cheddar Hushpuppies were a spicy version of a classic southern dish with a very creamy mayo dipping sauce. I was in love with the BBQ Shrimp appetizer. The shrimp are all huge, topped with Whippen’s family bbq dust, sitting on top of huge pile of delicious and citrusy lemon-infused grits.”

Bacon Cheddar Hushpuppies

“With your main course, you get four very different types of BBQ sauce to flavor your amazingly lean meat. While they were all great, I adored the Easter North Carolina Vinegar Based sauce. It was perfect if you want something with a nice kick but that isn’t too heavy. I would highly advise choosing the Poblano Cheese Cornbread as your side. It’s nice and creamy with a very subtle spicy aftertaste. Of the extra sides, I would say the Bruleed Macaroni and Cheese is a must have. The Braised Greens with bacon bits are also delicious especially if you’re more of a veggie lover.”

BBQ sauces

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich

Bruleed Macaroni and Cheese

Braised Greens

“Now, normally I pass on desserts but anyone in their right mind would be remiss to do that at Chicago q. While the Chocolate Mousse with Pretzel Crust was very light and the sweet and salty flavors complimented each other amazingly, I couldn’t stop talking about the Mixed Berry Crisp for days. At first I thought the warm mixed berries were somewhat unusual but it was phenomenal and it was topped by granola pieces. This was my favorite part of the meal and is a seasonal dessert so get in quick!”

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

Mafia Mondays – Taiyo One on!

This review is by  Ms. FoodMafia herself!  Stacy Johnson.  I have been eyeing Sushi Taiyo for months, since I am usually spotted at David Burke’s Primehouse and The James. What I did not know – was that it was owned by the same group as Rise up on Southport and Shine.  The creative sushi at Rise is crave worthy – and so are the dishes at Sushi Taiyo, as Stacy and we experienced before going to see Magic Mike. ;)

“I have always liked Rise sushi, especially their scallop tempura roll, so it is great to have a downtown option by the owners of both Rise and Shine.

The salmon sashimi was great and I have always enjoyed the tuna tartar. The tuna tartar reminds me of a tuna poke dish with a creamy sesame sauce. This was the first time I tried the ginzo roll and the great thing about it is that for a specialty roll, it is very light, and it is made with steamed lobster!!”

“They also do delivery!” (TheFoodarazzi is really interested in that!)

Mouth Watering Salmon Sashimi

Tuna Tartar - fresh ahi tuna tossed with a light sesame cream dressing served with rice crisps.

Ginza Roll – steamed lobster, spicy mayo, cucumber, jalapeno topped with tobiko and wasabi tobiko.

“Executive Chef Ming San, brings his extraordinary knowledge of Asian cuisine to Sushi Taiyo, with his expertly crafted dishes that have paired simple yet complex flavors, to provide its guests with classic while innovative Asian cuisine. Sushi Taiyo is owned by long-time Chicago restaurateurs, Jeff Zhang and Sandy Yu, who also brought Rise Sushi & Sake Lounge and Shine Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar to Chicago.”

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

Mafia Mondays – View from the Chef’s Table @ Urban Union

Urban Union is a delicious surprise, and in a chic location on Taylor Street.  This review is from Food Mafia’s Godfather caitgreenwood, where she had a bird’s eye view of the kitchen.

“What a great surprise Urban Union was! I wasn’t too sure what to expect upon arriving, but we were blown away. The space is warm and inviting, with great design details that provide a lot to look at and smile over, the huge inspirational quote on the back wall really made me love the space even more. We sat at the chef’s table and were able to watch everyone hard at work making our Italian shared plates, and they were working hard- we ordered half the menu! The wine list is impressive as well, you won’t be disappointed!”

“We started off with the marinated Spanish octopus with giant white beans, red onion, lemon, olive oil and oregano (this was so amazing we actually got another order at the end!), and the goat cheese-stuffed squash blossoms, also amazing. Probably two of my favorite things in the world, so I was happy!”

Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms

“From there we went with the spring dandelion salad, the oven roasted marrow bones, the wood oven roasted porchetta, and the grilled squid stuffed with mussels and clams (another favorite). Everything was fabulous, everything.”

Stuffed Squid

Tagliatelle

“Finally (yes, we were still going…) we decided to try the tagliatelle with asparagus, wild mushrooms, & pancetta, and the braised pork cheek ravioli, both house made pastas and pretty darn incredible. Also, we had the cider braised rabbit and the red wine braised oxtail. Just decadent.”

Braised Oxtail

Pork Cheek Ravioli

“After a lot of wine, a lot of food, and a fabulous evening all together, we left Urban Union thoroughly happy and planning our next trip back. The food was fantastic, the atmosphere really wonderful, and the service was great as well.” – caitgreenwood

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

 

Mafia Mondays – Get Your Goat

This is a great photo from Girl & The Goat by Goodfella FreddyLove on Food Mafia.  I couldn’t agree more about going in and waiting for a table early, or even just eating at the bar.

“Forget the two month wait, just go early 5/5:30 and put your name in for a table. Wait an hour and a half in the bar enjoying cocktails and the decor… then eat. A fabulous menu with great variety, but lots of salt. I loved it but the next day my eyes were just tiny slits. Still it was well worth it!”

Braised Short Ribs.  What a great shot!  And worth the wait!

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots from FoodMafia.

Mafia Mondays – Going Wild

TheFoodarazzi.com and @XAPR love the Food Mafia.  Each Monday we bring you our favorite review of the week from their site – with the mouthwatering photos to prove it.  This one is by Goodfella Erin D where she went wild at Frontier in West Town.

“One of the most exotic menus I’ve ever seen! There was a huge array of choices with things like llama meatballs, duck tacos, and a smoked reuben sandwich. Definitely the right restaurant to try if you’re feeling adventurous.

The Cheese Bites appetizer was one of the more traditional bar food options, but even those had an extra kick with prosciutto folded into the cheese and a pickled apricot dipping sauce. 

The Gator Ribs were another interesting find. While I hate to be typical, the gator tasted like chicken, but had a fishier texture and was covered in a Georgia peach BBQ sauce. 

The Pulled Boar sandwich was delicious! With a pretzel bread bun, Texas style BBQ sauce and coleslaw, the boar was similar to pulled pork, just a little thicker and tougher. 

Finally, you’ve got to end the meal with some of the Whiskey Gelato. It comes in either the Gelato Flight, alongside Mexican Dark Chocolate and Goat Cheese flavored gelato, as well as in the Banana Bread Pudding.”

Photos and review courtesy of Food Mafia and Goodfella Erin D.