Monday, September 1, 2008

Japonais -- Chicago, IL

On the 23rd of August, Jane decided she wanted to take me on a date that was a surprise. She just told me to look my best and be ready by 6:30. So, knowing full well that everyman should listen to what his lady says, I abided, freshly shaved my head and then pulled a comfy yet sophisticated outfit.

We took a cab and I realized we were heading to Japonais. Japonais is a restaurant about 1 mile east of me off Chicago Ave. Every time I have ridden my bike or driven by it, I have only seen Bentley's, Range Rovers and the like parked outside. Was this going to be over the top, not my scene? Jane booked us in the lounge on the river. It proved to be perfect since the sun was close to setting (see picture below) and the decor was perfectly simple but sexy and sophisticated.

So, we took in the scenery, allowed the paparazzi to snap some pics and then settled in. Jane started with a Pineapple Mojito and I a scotch. We were sat at a sofa with a coffee table like setting. It is different but casual and ended up being perfect for us. We decided not to do any entrees and instead just ordered several appetizers. It ended up being perfect.

Our meal consisted of:

  1. Lobster Spring Rolls
  2. Ahi Tuna Ceviche
  3. Chilean Seabass Cartoccio
  4. Kombu Summer Roll

Everything was perfect. We started with the first two to begin and then ordered the second two later into the meal. I switched to wine and Jane stuck with the mojitos. The lobster spring rolls were so crispy and perfectly fried but the lobster meat was so amazingly succulent. It was amazing and I don't usually eat fried foods. Jane had never had ceviche. I give her credit for trying it but I do have to admit, she was pleasantly surprised and loved it. The ceviche was so fresh and just sort of summarized the setting we had -- fresh, summery, refreshing and perfect. Jane loved it and I think she will have more ceviche in the future.

The Seabass was different as it was hot. It was served in a plastic bag which it clearly was cooked in. The sauce and bass was all inside. They open it up for you when it comes and the scent was intoxicating. I think we were both a bit scared but it was so good. I am guessing they poached the bag in hot water so it cooked everything inside simultaneously. The hardest part was trying to use the chopsticks, which neither of us are experts with. Jane chose the summer roll and that just capped off a perfect evening. It was fresh as well and with the cucumber it cooled you down slightly (see picture -- we were looking so hot -- sarcasm).

It was nice to have someone take care of me for once. The fact that Jane put so much effort into the date really made me smile (once again see picture above). She dotted her i's and crossed her t's. As has been the case for Jane and I, the conversation was perfect and really complimented the food allowing for a nice 2 hour long dinner (oh and the wine/mojitos did not hurt either). It ended up being a great date.

It took me by surprise and showed once again how different every dinning experience can truly be. Of course, the skeleton of a dinning experience is the food. There were definitely no broken bones at Japonais. The ambiance added the organs to the skeleton (no medical issues here). Finally, Jane's company added the muscle and epidermis. With the amazing food, fantastic setting, lovely company and Jane's sexy little black dress, I can't really explain how great the evening was. Obviously, I looked great in my unironed linen pants (sorry Jane) but I only added the outfit to skeleton, etc, Jane took care of the rest.

There is a Dave Matthews Band quote from the song Best of What's Around that sums up Jane for me: "It's not where you are at but who you are with." This is so true. Japonais is an amazing restaurant. Anyone walking by is lucky, let alone those sitting in the river walk patio. But, going there with Jane, knowing she planned the night, eating truly amazing food (some of it so new for both of us) I could not ask for anything more. I will have to admit though, Dave Matthews may change his lyrics to "It's not where you are (unless you are on the patio of Japonais) but who you are with." Just make sure though, to be safe, you are with someone great. I was lucky enough to be both in a great place with great food and with an amazing person.


Peggy said...

Be still my heart - two posts in less than a month!? You are such a good nephew! Thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

That so sweet,Love that place!I just celebrated my b-day there. Great food, I love the Kobe beef:-)

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