Judging from the name Slurping Turtle
, you might expect Takashi Yagihashi's new River North restaurant to be a noodle shop. Not so, says Mike Sula in his review
—there are just a handful of dishes comparable to Japan's regional ramen varieties, among them tan tan-men
, a mildly spicy stew with ground pork and meatballs that he finds the most fulfilling bowl on the menu. But there's plenty to like among the rest of the offerings: charcoal-grilled skewers, side dishes, "tapas," and raw appetizers, most notably items like crunchy fried chicken karaage, miso-dressed cod, juicy grilled duck, and honeyed quail thigh. As opposed to what you'll find at Yagihashi's upscale namesake, Takashi
, "this is drinking food at (mostly) comfortable pricing," he says, "and a far more persuasive approximation of an actual izakaya" than its downtown neighbors offer. Now we just need a noodle shop.
In Key Ingredient the Publican's Erling Wu-Bower contends with gold leaf. Gold is tasteless and odorless, and hence serves a purely decorative function (plus is tricky to work with, he found: "Do not touch the gold leaf with your fingers! It will stick like the dickens!"). True to the spirit of the Publican, he used it in a dish of fried smelts with harissa aioli, plated with purple cauliflower, turnips, radishes, celery, and roasted beets, and sprinkled with more gold leaf. "It's the most expensive fish fry you've ever seen," he said. Next up is Bryce Caron, the pastry chef at Blackbird, working with Asian carp, a species with which the Reader has had more than one encounter.
In the listings are some of Slurping Turtle's neo-Japanese/fusion neighbors, among them Roka Akor, Sunda, and Union Sushi & Barbeque Bar.