Pearl #49: Gluten-free at Japonais by Morimoto (Chicago)

Jan 6th

Officially crossed Japonais by Morimoto off the bucket list when Ken and I went for our anniversary a couple months back.

My first impression of the atmosphere was a little off-putting…but the food was great. When we checked in for our reservation at 8:30, they asked us to head down to the “lounge” downstairs for a drink. Where a lot of fancy people in tight dresses were drinking fancy cocktails. Now I like to be fancy and wear dresses and drink fancy cocktails on occasion…but this was WAY trendy. We sat down there for about 45 minutes to an hour before our table was ready, leaving us a bit frustrated and pretty hangry.

After an apology from the hostess, we were escorted up to our table and the night took a better turn. The service was good and they were very knowledgeable about gluten-free.

We started off with cocktails. I got the New York – rye whiskey, homemade pomegranate grenadine, lime juice and orange zest. Good, but the price tag of $15 makes you re-evaluate life. And personally, I think you can get a better whiskey cocktail at Bavette’s or Gilt Bar or Barrelhouse Flat for the price.

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While the server didn’t walk through the full menu, she did offer up a few different options that could be prepared gluten-free. For appetizers: the tartare or the oysters. For entrees: the lobster masala (garam masala, lemon crème fraîche, sauteed vegetables), the angry chicken (roasted half organic chicken, spicy yogurt marinade, roasted pepper), the roasted seabass and the steak or surf and turf entrees. Fried rice. Many of the sushis and sashimis.

We had edamame to start. And I have to say there is a difference in edamame preparation from restaurant to restaurant. And these were steamed perfectly.

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All of their maki rolls are pretty simple, which is great for someone who’s GF. We landed on the eel avocado roll, the California roll, the spicy tuna roll and the spicy salmon roll. The sauces for the eel roll and the spicy rolls are not gluten-free, so we got those on the side so Ken could still enjoy.

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And then the crowning glory…we split the roasted seabass, prepared with sake-kasu miso, kale two ways and spiced jus. This was so heavenly. Like butter. The best seabass we’ve ever had. Some of the kale was crispy, some of it was sauteed. Ken and I spent the next couple of weeks just salivating over the seabass.

Gluten-free Seabass at Japonais Chicago |

Sushi was good, but the entrees are really where it’s at. I’d say if you’re looking to splurge, skip the sushi and sample more entrees. Enjoy!

Until next time,

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