What to Eat at Chizakaya, Opening Tonight in Lakeview

Photo: courtesy UrbanDaddy

Chizakaya is a izakaya, which, if both the press release and Wikipedia are telling the truth, is sort of a “Japanese drinking establishment” stocked full of tasty little bar snacks. Those include (among many other things) black edamame, octopus salad, ramen, and crispy chicken thighs. While the glorified pub grub may seem simple, Chizakaya has some big names backing it up. The chef and owner is Harold Jurado, who has worked in Sunda, Charlie Trotter’s, and Japonais. The chef de cuisine is Robert Rubba, who has spent time in Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas, Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel in New York, and at our L2O. Befitting a Japanese drinking establishment, there is a massive sake and whiskey list. Check out the full menu below.

As Time Out pointed out, izakayas might sound great on paper, but they have had a perilous history in Chicago. Most have either closed quickly, or had to adapt to safer formats to survive. Hopefully the combination of these chefs and the concept works this time.

Land of the Setting Sun [Urban Daddy]

Chizakaya 3056 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657; 773-697-4725

Okashi (Snacks)
Black edamame, sea salt 4
Oshinko (seasonal pickles) 5
Barley miso soup 3
Puffed pig ears, togarashi 4
Teriyaki string beans, sesame seed 5
Japanese sweet potato fries, spiced mayo 5
Crispy pork, slow poached egg 5

Daikon, roasted seaweed, baby anchovies, ponzu 5
Seasonal greens, tofu dressing, crunchy rice 6
Hamachi, bone marrow, garlic, umeboshi 12
Octopus, tomato, cucumber, radish, fish sauce vinaigrette 5
Kombu marinated Tai (snapper), avocado, shiso, lime vinaigrette 11
Home-made basket tofu, bonito, scallion, ginger, soy 7
Beef liver “sashimi,” petite watercress, sesame vin 6

Kushi Yaki 3

Chicken gizzards
Chicken skins
Chicken meatball
Chicken and negi

Shishito peppers, bonito
Hakurei turnips
Tomato, shiso

Beef sirloin tip, lime, wasabi
Sweet sausage
Pork meatball
Beef cheek
Beef tongue
Confit octopus

Cold soba, summer vegetables, shrimp tempura 10
House ramen, braised pork, slow poached egg, fish cake 12
Blue crab congee, corn, chives 7

Walleye, ginger, scallion 10
Daily gyoza, soy, ra-yu 6
Chawan mushi (steamed custard), radish, dashi 6 with foie gras 11

Crispy chicken thighs, dashi mayo, mizuna 8
Corn fritter, chili, lime, mayo 5
Age-Dashi Tofu 6

Ika (squid), togarashi, lemon vin 10
Whole saba, lemon, cucumber 11
Hamachi kama, ponzu, daikon, ginger 8

King oyster, enoki, shimiji mushrooms, soy, lemon-butter 8
Japanese eggplant, sweet miso, apple 5
Clams, beer, black garlic, spiced broth 13
Chicken livers, negi 6

Yuzu cake, green tea ice cream 5
Taro, ube, rice pudding 5
Chocolate sesame ganache, puffed barley, soy milk sorbet 5
Ice Cream, daily selection 3

Lie & Cheat
Rice shochu, lychee juice, St. Germain, lime 8
Isao Aoki
Sudachi shochu, yuzu, iced matcha green tea 8
Ume Ume
Sweet potato shochu, plum juice, house-made ginger bitters, umeboshi, ginger ale 8
Shiso Mojito
Sugar cane shochu, shiso leaves, Turbinado sugar, lime 8
Chu Hai
Barley shochu, soda water, lemon 8

Sake by the Glass

Tsukosabotan, Junmai, Kochi 6
Light and Clean
Crisp aroma of Rambotan, star fruit, with a bright refreshing finish, hinting of plum

Azumaichi, Junmai Ginjo, Saga 8
Fruity and Fun
Notes of green apple, hints of strawberry, and passion fruit.
Exclusive to Chizakaya by the glass

Daishichi, Kimoto Tokubetsu Junmai, Fukushima 9
Luscious and Rich
Dense and profound character, complex aromatics, herbal, earthy

Dassai Goju Nigori, Junmai Daiginjo, Yamaguchi 7
Milky and Refined
Sweet scented, medium bodied, with notes of coconut and green plantains; dry finish


Shirakabegura, Junmai, Kyoto,1800ml
Feminine, soft supple texture
3oz 6, 6oz 12

Kikumasamune, Junmai, Hyogo,1800ml
Masculine, sauvage, dried meat, earthy, incredible depth of flavor
3oz 5, 6oz 10

Small Format: Single Portion

Kikusui Funaguchi, Honjozo Genshu, Niigata, 200ml, 10
Bold and Sweet
Bold warming sweetness, reminiscent of amaretto, with hints of almonds and peaches. Cask strength 18-19% alcohol, great neat, fun on the rocks!

Mizbasho, Junmai Ginjo, Gunma, 180ml, 14
Soft and Gentle
Soft edges with a gentle sweetness, a kiss of melting snow and ripe apricot.

Sake by the Bottle
Kikusui Funaguchi, Honjozo Genshu, Niigata, 200ml, 10
Kubota Senju, Honjozo, Niigata, 720ml, 43
Suigei, Tokubetsu Junmai, Kochi, 300ml, 20
Hakkaisan, Tokubetsu Junmai, Niigata, 300ml, 23
Nanbu Bijin, Tokubetsu Junmai, Iwate, 300ml, 24
Nishi No Seki, Tokubetsu Junmai, Oita, 720ml, 38
Tsukosabotan, Junmai, Kochi, 720ml, 48
served warmed Shirakabegura, Junmai, Kyoto,1800ml, 86
served warmed Kikumasamune, Junmai, Hyogo1800ml, 75
Mizbasho, Junmai Ginjo, Gunma, 180ml, 14
Fukucho Biho, Junmai Ginjo, Hiroshima, 300ml, 30
Azumaichi, Junmai Ginjo, Saga, 1800ml, 123
Dassai 50, Junmai Daiginjo, Yamaguchi, 300ml, 20
Hana Awase, Junmai Daiginjo, Ibaraki, 300ml, 55
Daishichi, Shizen Shu, Kimoto Tokubetsu Junmai, Fukushima, 720ml, 66
Hakutsuru, Sayuri, Nigori, Hyogo, 300ml, 16
Dassai Goju Nigori, Junmai Daiginjo, Yamaguchi, 720ml, 50
Himezen, Sweet Junmai, Miyagi, 720ml, 34

Yamazake, 12 Year, Japanese Blended Whisky 8
Hibiki, 12 Year, Japanese Blended Whisky 15
Elijah Craig, 10 Year, American Whiskey 12
Templeton, Small Batch, American Rye Whiskey 34

Kakushigura / Barley 9
Jougo / Sugar Cane 9
Satsuma Hosan / Sweet Potato 11
Awa No Kaori / Sudachi 7
Hakutake “Shiro”/ Rice 10

Beer by the Bottle
Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio
Eliot Ness, Vienna Lager 5
Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, Indiana
Alpha King, American Pale Ale 7
Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois
Sofie, Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale 6
Matilda, Belgian Pale Ale 22 oz, 14
New Holland Brewing Co., Kolsch, Michigan
Full Circle, Kölsch 7
Two Brothers Brewing Co., Warrenville, Illinois
Cane & Ebel, Red Rye Ale 7
Baird Brewing Co., Shizuoka, Japan
Carpenter Mikan, Fruit Ale 5

Beer on Tap
Sapporo Breweries Limited., Tokyo, Japan
Japanese Rice Lager, 3
Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois
Green Line, American Pale Ale, 5
Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki, Japan
Hitachino Nest, White Ale 5
What to Eat at Chizakaya, Opening Tonight in Lakeview