Chef Morimoto delighting River North with JAPONAIS

Chef Morimoto delighting River North with JAPONAIS

By W. A. Muller

Critically acclaimed Japanese Chef and star of Food Network's Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, Masaharu Morimoto brings his passion for cooking and expert culinary techniques to Chicago in collaboration with prominent local restaurant, Japonais to create Japonais by Morimoto. Japonais by Morimoto opened in February 2014 and features a brand new menu showcasing Chef Morimoto's wide ranging signature cuisine, a seamless blend of Japanese and Western techniques.

The newly designed space, by Jeffery Beers International, features an elevated sushi bar, on which sushi cases display a breathtaking view of some of the freshest fish and shellfish options in the city. The sushi bar is backed by an open kitchen where Chef Morimoto's signature Omakase menus are prepared, creating an interactive experience for guests. The canopied Shochu Bar is the perfect spot to sip a signature cocktail. The bar also features Chef Morimoto's own line of shochu, sake and craft beers, as well as the largest selection of Japanese whiskey in Chicago. The antique brass bar is amber lit and seats six, adding to the romantic atmosphere. Facing the Shochu Bar are exclusive private tasting rooms. Available to accommodate parties from eight to twenty four, Japonais by Morimoto offers guests a refined culinary experience.

Japonais by Morimoto includes enhancements to the timeless design by Jeffrey Beers International to celebrate the new partnership. There are many new and exciting additions to the dramatic yet classic 10,000 sq. ft. space along the Chicago River. A synergy of old and new creates the inviting ambiance. Among the changes is an elevated sushi bar topped with a live-edge American elm wood counter, on which sushi cases display breathtaking view of some of the freshest fish and shellfish options in the city. The River North restaurant's lounge, the Blue Room, evokes a modern and sophisticated feel with contemporary furniture, sofas, chaises in plush velvet, antique smoked mirrors in the ceiling surrounded by beautifully-lit blue glass panels and grey resin floor with blue patterned carpet inlays. Hand-carved Japanese wood screens placed  throughout the room separate the lounge area to create intimate vignettes and seating areas. The robust Japanese bar sets the stage for unique global music designed especially for the Blue Room.

Located adjacent to the breathtaking River Walk, the Blue Room also showcases national and local painters, sculptors and photographers in a bi-monthly revolving art show.

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