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Izakaya Mita - Bucktown

Izakaya Mita - Bucktown
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  • Post #31 - August 31st, 2015, 3:11 pm
    Post #31 - August 31st, 2015, 3:11 pm Post #31 - August 31st, 2015, 3:11 pm
    turkob wrote:Lots of people hate cilantro too.

    Let's keep the discussion to food, please. :(
  • Post #32 - August 31st, 2015, 8:23 pm
    Post #32 - August 31st, 2015, 8:23 pm Post #32 - August 31st, 2015, 8:23 pm
    We have become weekly regulars at Izakaya Mita and are super grateful for it as a gem of the neighborhood. Friendly staff, delicious and varied offerings. Our little girl loves skewers of chicken thigh or pork belly with slightly sweet soy glaze; her dad loves the stinky squid; her mama loves the summer special cold ramen, and we all enjoy the pickles, luscious mushrooms in buttery citrus, and rotating specials. Come try this joint! (And, as for the natto discussion, I must admit that, though we consider ourselves super adventurous eaters (with a toddler who eats octopus!), all four in our party recently found the natto singularly undelicious. Good for the Mitas for offering it though!)
  • Post #33 - August 31st, 2015, 10:42 pm
    Post #33 - August 31st, 2015, 10:42 pm Post #33 - August 31st, 2015, 10:42 pm
    Ditto on my enjoyment of the cold ramen and the pickles. I enjoyed my meal there a couple weeks back. I will return.
  • Post #34 - January 29th, 2016, 3:23 pm
    Post #34 - January 29th, 2016, 3:23 pm Post #34 - January 29th, 2016, 3:23 pm
    We painstakingly studied the list of restaurant menus for restaurant week, looking for something out of the ordinary as well as a reasonable deal. I was immediately struck by Izakaya Mita's six course menu, vastly different from most other Japanese restaurant week menus which generally featured maki rolls: Rainbow sashimi avocado salad (artfully arranged cubes of tuna, salmon and yellowtail); kani ananke tofu (in a thick broth with blue crab); niko katsu (deep fried breaded steak, very tender and perfectly done); kamu misozuke (basically duck breast on a stick!); robusata slider (essentially lobster tempura); and green tea cheesecake. Everything was perfectly executed, and service was extremely friendly. The portions are quite small, but overall there was enough to eat, and they were clearly interested in quality over quantity.
    They offered a $26 pairing of 6 sakes, which seemed expensive at the outset but turned out also to be an excellent value in light of the quality of the sakes they served. This was our first time at a relatively new (and for us, relatively distantly located) restaurant, but we definitely want to go back.
    Izakaya Mita
    1960 N. Damen
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 799-8677
  • Post #35 - March 21st, 2016, 1:12 pm
    Post #35 - March 21st, 2016, 1:12 pm Post #35 - March 21st, 2016, 1:12 pm
    I finally checked out Izakaya Mita this weekend and sadly my experience wasn't the same as most people on this board. It's a neighborhood joint for me, so I really wanted this to blow my mind in a good way so I could take people here in the future.

    We ordered some of the skewers, Shio style and it was pretty dry without much flavor. We got the duck breast which was tasteless and tough and a greyish color, though that could of been the lack of lighting. We ordered the mushrooms which were super dry, the asparagus which was probably the best skewer, but still not a lot of salt or flavor and the chicken meatballs which were just okay. It seemed like they had a coating around the meatball that might of been deep fried and maybe this is the style of how it's done, but I would of just loved a regular juicy chicken meatball. The last thing we ordered was the hamachi collar which was really good and rich tasting. I enjoyed the collar a lot.

    Maybe we just hit at a bad time, maybe the chef was out and the servers had to finish service, I don't know. But the food was really bland and dry. Or maybe terriyaki is the way to go and we ordered wrong.

    The service was excellent and the staff was very nice. I also enjoyed the Hitachino on tap and have never seen that before on tap. That was a nice touch.

    I'd probably never go back, which again makes me a bit sad as it's around the corner from me.
  • Post #36 - March 21st, 2016, 10:30 pm
    Post #36 - March 21st, 2016, 10:30 pm Post #36 - March 21st, 2016, 10:30 pm
    I worked in an izakaya in Japan for about 4 months so I was anxious to try it and/or any izakaya. I've been twice and was underwhelmed ea time. Did love the chicken skin though.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #37 - August 28th, 2016, 7:17 pm
    Post #37 - August 28th, 2016, 7:17 pm Post #37 - August 28th, 2016, 7:17 pm
    Quick impressions from our first visit:

    Image
    Spinach goma-ae
    Probably the strongest sesame flavor that I can recall in many, many samples of this wonderful dish. It’s a staple in our ordering and despite many other versions that we’ve had over the years, we both enjoyed it very much.

    Image
    Oshinko (pickles)
    Standard issue, but excellent.

    Image
    Gobo kinpira (burdock root)
    One of the better versions I can recall. Tasted a little different than most versions though I am, sadly, unable to put my finger on the ingredient in the dressing that made it so attractive.

    (It should be noted, in fairness, that Mama Mita told us that none of the next four items are prepared in-house. Because of the complexity, particularly for the squid, they buy them pre-made.)

    Image
    (from the top, counter-clockwise; all served chilled)
    Iko shiokara (squid in fermented squid guts)
    Had to try it. Tried it. Won’t again. In fairness, the texture was not the issue I expected it to be. The fermented guts, while not nearly as off-putting as I anticipated, were sufficiently uh, disincentivitizing, that after four tries I decided to focus my energies elsewhere.

    Takowase (octopus marinated in wasabi)
    Looks a bit slimy but somehow didn’t seem that way to me. The octopus is copped small enough that it’s kinda hard to get much in your chopsticks for a satisfyingly large mouthful. Still, nice crunch, occasional wham bangs of wasabi came through.

    Chuka iidako (baby octopus)
    Tiny baby octopus, dyed a deep brick red. Surprisingly delicate flavor, though, to my palate. When I asked Mama Mita what was in it, she replied: “I know nothing about Japanese food. I’m Chinese.” Then she joked it must be red food coloring. My poking around the internet later suggests that her joke is probably pretty much on target. Not strongly flavored in the least and not a textural challenge at all. Quite enjoyable.

    Image
    Kawahagi (filefish jerky)
    Who knew? More pliable than anticipated, also fishier than expected, and the light grilling added a nice slightly smokey touch. The mayo (with a touch of togarashi) helps. Reminiscent of surume (dried squid).

    Image
    Chawanmushi
    Top notch according to LDC, the maven here. I like it well enough but don’t consider myself an expert. LDC explained that this was almost the Platonic ideal of chawanmushi and so I’ll consider this the standard, going forward.

    Image
    Tsukune (chicken meatballs)
    Perfectly fine but not particularly a rendition that either of us would consider in the top ten of versions we’ve had elsewhere.

    Image
    Shishito peppers
    Very good, if a bit salty. Yes, we know, they are supposed to be salted. A bit too much in our joint opinion.

    Image
    Grilled shrimp
    Perfectly okay but (a) would have been nice if it had been grilled quite a bit longer and (b) if it had some flavor, any flavor. Ours was very bland.

    Image
    Okonomiyaki
    Beautiful presentation. But it was hard to tell what we thought or even if we liked it because it was drowning in a sea of okonomiyaki sauce, topped with mayo. We had the shrimp and crab (as opposed to pork belly) version and I defy anyone to identify the protein on the pancake we were served. The texture, much less the flavor, of the pancake was completely lost there was so much sauce dumped on this. I tried scraping it off but it was too late. Ended up leaving part of the pancake—a waste and a shame.

    Service was largely very good. There’s a fairly large sake list and though my server appeared knowledgeable, I’m somehow just not convinced. That may be on me, not her, however. I liked what I ordered (the Hakkaisan) though I guess I found her vocabulary difficult to work with when deciding between my finalists.

    Dinner was almost exactly $100 without tip. In our case, under $30 (thank you, Gilt City). At $100, we would have felt it was too expensive. At $30 (plus our $36 initial “investment”), a good deal.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #38 - June 19th, 2017, 6:38 pm
    Post #38 - June 19th, 2017, 6:38 pm Post #38 - June 19th, 2017, 6:38 pm
    Izakaya Mita is in trouble; trying to raise $50K on GoFundMe.

    https://www.gofundme.com/izakayamita
  • Post #39 - January 10th, 2018, 11:00 am
    Post #39 - January 10th, 2018, 11:00 am Post #39 - January 10th, 2018, 11:00 am
    Any recent intel on Izakaya Mita?
    -Mary
  • Post #40 - January 10th, 2018, 2:56 pm
    Post #40 - January 10th, 2018, 2:56 pm Post #40 - January 10th, 2018, 2:56 pm
    They are still open, but often not very full of customers.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #41 - January 26th, 2018, 6:12 pm
    Post #41 - January 26th, 2018, 6:12 pm Post #41 - January 26th, 2018, 6:12 pm
    Some may consider this as throwing the last shovel of dirt on the grave, but I just really could not get the vibe of Izakaya Mita.
    It just rubbed me the wrong way.
    Perhaps that is|was a bit harsh; but having been to Japan (now) fourteen times, and guesting at any number of real izakayas; this just seemed to me to be something with a cool-sounding name which intent was primarily to separate money from well-heeled hipsters. :mad:
    I may not appreciate a hipster; but I want nobody being exploited for their money.
    I hope its Gofundme foray falters. It would be another example of "style over substance".
    Learn what Bing prefers you not know: https://www.dialup4less.com/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html

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