Entertainment Restaurants Bars

Cheap date: Tokyo 21

2 for $25: Tokyo 21
1400 N. Wells St. 312-664-1900

When revered Old Town Japanese restaurant Kamehachi shuttered its doors at the corner of Wells and Schiller in November to move to its current location just a few blocks north, it wasn't the end of its reign over that corner. It's now home to sister restaurant Tokyo 21, a Japanese pub—izakaya, if you want to impress your date with a technical term—where sake and small plates are served in a setting just a notch above a neighborhood tavern. If you can't resist the nearly two dozen sake bombs ($5-$9) featured on the menu, you might be caught with a bit of sticker shock. But mix-and-match a few dishes from the varied menu, and the food tab stays low.

Main attraction: Something for everyone. Fans of the recent yakitori trend can choose from chicken, pork and veggie skewers ($3-$5) while noodle fiends have their choice of Vietnamese pho ($7), Thai pad see ewe ($7) or spicy Japanese ramen ($7). On the barbecue side, the most successful plate is the Korean marinated pork bulgogi ($7), a hand-held bite wrapped in a crisp lettuce leaf.

Best value: Tacos seem like a throw-away option on a Japanese menu, but an Asian twist makes this flavorful sampler ($7) one of the most surprising—and economical—options on the menu. Three crispy shells cradle tender shredded chicken, soy-braised beef and grilled whitefish, ideal with a side of the thin-skinned gyoza dumplings ($5).

Sample tab: Gyoza dumplings + taco sampler + bulgogi = $23.65 including tax and tip.

Kate Bernot is a RedEye special contributor. redeye@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Top Chicago restaurants by cuisine
    Top Chicago restaurants by cuisine

    See our staff favorites for restaurants serving Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Indian and more

  • 'Furious 7': At this point, you know, whatever
    'Furious 7': At this point, you know, whatever

    Muscular, perpetually mumbling bowling pin Dominic Toretto (Human Aggro Crag Vin Diesel) doesn’t just prefer Corona, the beach-branded standard of Mexican beer-flavored water. He won’t even consider trying a Belgian Trappist ale, widely regarded as being among the world’s...

  • '5 to 7' is hot and bothered
    '5 to 7' is hot and bothered

    Not long after hordes of viewers hungry for some good, clean (dirty) spanking action flocked to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a smaller, better movie comes along that actually contains, you know, passion between its characters.

  • 'While We're Young' is hilariously wise
    'While We're Young' is hilariously wise

    That’s so old-fashioned, Cornelia (Naomi Watts) remarks warmly when 20-somethings Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) say that they’re married. Then they add that their wedding took place in a water tower to the sounds of a mariachi band. And there was a slip...

  • Where do Emanuel, Garcia stand on the issues?
    Where do Emanuel, Garcia stand on the issues?

    Chicago's April 7 runoff election is looming, and there are plenty of people undecided about whether they'll hand Mayor Rahm Emanuel another term or go with the new guy—Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. So we've rounded up the top issues and where the candidates stand to...

  • McDonald's raising its minimum wage, but some say it's not enough
    McDonald's raising its minimum wage, but some say it's not enough

    McDonald's plans to raise starting wages by $1 above the local minimum at select restaurants, just one of the changes on tap as the world's largest fast-food chain tries to win back customers and fend off a union-backed effort to raise pay throughout the industry.

Comments
Loading