Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Korean restaurant with tabletop grilling, a large sake list, and specialty cocktails.
I was happily surprised by a recent outing to Tozi, a slick, spacious barbecue spot with a Seoul-seasoned chef who marries a fly K-pop sensibility with an uncompromising Korean sense of seasoning and generosity (and is a Blackhawks fan to boot). Yeah, there's a list of treacly, fruity sojutinis, but also a decently priced selection of shochus and sakes by the bottle, and a comprehensive menu spanning the standards and including a number of rare items you won't find in many places up north. Qualifications: the burners at the big, roomy booths are fueled by gas, not charcoal, so you won't get the crispy, caramelized char that makes this style of eating so irresistible. But the house-made panchan are plentiful and varied (including a ballsy cabbage kimchi), and plenty of other extras come to the table, including raw garlic and jalapeño slices, raw sliced white onions and trumpet mushrooms, and a bowl of shaved and marinated daikon-onion salad. All of this is meant to be thrown on the grill to supplement the proteins, which you'll dredge in spicy soy sauce, bean paste, or sesame oil and eat along with a "lunchbox" of steamed rice and fried egg. The prices for barbecue orders are higher than your average far-northwest-side mom-and-pop, but the portions are substantial, and the quality of the meat is a measurable degree better, ranging from primo cuts such as filet mignon and sirloin to standards such as bulgogi and kalbi to off bits like intestine and tongue, and rarities such as whole baby octopus and fatty strips of spicy marinated duck. And prices are a bit friendlier on the rest of the menu, which includes ample starters like fluffy charred oyster pancakes and gool bossam, the kimchi/pork belly/raw oysters triple threat, several varieties of bi bim bop (including a pickled raw crab and rice variant), big casseroles, stir-fries, stews, soups, and noodles.
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