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Chicago, USA

Contemporary Japanese cuisine on an ambitious scale

In a nutshell: ‘Expect the unexpected’ is the fitting strapline to this big and boisterous Japanese restaurant, which can seat up to 250 people across three floors. Zen calm it is not.

What to order: The menu is huge, spanning sushi, sashimi, small plates, noodles and curries.  Momotaro tartare, which looks like tuna, is actually made with sweet Japanese tomatoes, while mentaiko spaghetti is a triumph of gooey egg, noodles and spiced fish roe. The robata grill gets the best from wagyu and Alaskan king crab.

The room: The main dining space is inspired by Japanese design during the 'economic miracle' after World War Two – think Mad Men set in Tokyo. Features include teak panels, vintage brokerage boards and huge pendant lamps. 

Back story: Momotaro is part of the influential Boka Group, which was set up by Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm in 2002. The pair were named Empire Builders of the Year by Eater National in 2011. 

Don't miss: The restaurant's atmospheric subterranean izakaya pub, which evokes the backstreet bars of Tokyo with neon lights, vintage prints and Japanese whiskies.

Images: chef portrait by Eric Kleinberg; interior by Barry Brecheisen; dishes by Galdones

On the pass

  • Mark Hellyar

Style of food

  • Modern Japanese

Standout dish

  • Momotaro tartare