As open as Chicago is to experimental new restaurants, one concept has had trouble sticking in the city: the izakaya, a Japanese type of gastropub that serves sake, beer and small plates.
As Time Out Chicago reports, the few experiments in the field so far have struggled. The 2008 opening of Shochu failed to live up to hype, and the restaurant has turned into an ordinary pub. Izakaya Hapa and Masu Izakaya, which opened in the intervening years, have had equally poor success: Masu closed promptly, and Hapa has cut its hours way back.
Onto this scene emerges Chizakaya, apparently a combination of "izakaya" and "Chicago," which opens Thursday night in Lincoln Park. (3056 N. Lincoln Ave., to be precise.)
Chicagoist reports that the chef/owner, Harold Jurado, is well-pedigreed. He came up at Charlie Trotter's, and has served stints at Japonais and Sunda, two of the city's finest Asian restaurants. Jurado has recruited L2O's Robert Rubba as his chef de cuisine; Chantrelle Pabros, also of L2O, has crafted an extensive list of sakes, beers, handmade cocktails and liquors.
And Time Out gives a tempting look at one of Chizakaya's plates, the grilled octopus: