Where & Wear: The Izakaya at Momotaro
The Izakaya at Momotaro is easily one of my favorite places to grab dinner and drinks with friends, and it certainly has a distinctive aesthetic. Located directly below Momotaro itself, the Izakaya transports you to an entirely different place. While Momotaro has high ceilings, regular seats, and fairly bright lights, the Izakaya is dimly lit, with low seats arranged in rows, and hanging red lanterns that evoke images of ramen shop alleys in Japan.
The bar takes center stage in the Izakaya, and for good reason. Whenever I'm there, I start the night off with a Monk's Journey - a refreshing cocktail that boasts matcha green tea as one of its key ingredients - and imagine myself on an ascetic journey toward enlightenment. Or, failing that, slight inebriation (drink responsibly, kids). It's not the only cocktail on the menu with a unique name - the Murakami Daiquiri and the Crazy 88 #2, for instance, are nods to pop culture.
Despite being ostensibly more casual than its sister upstairs, the Izakaya isn't lacking in the culinary department, offering the same menu as Momotaro. As an avid sushi fan, I'd recommend going for the sashimi of the day, along with one of the numerous entrees available.
$$ // 820 W Lake St #101, Chicago, IL 60607
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