Re-posting my Katsu review from a few years ago. The restaurant will be closing in November after 29 years in service. Get there while you still have a chance to eat this Chicago institution.
Katsu is refreshingly not trendy (untrendy?). From the traditional Japanese menu to the minimal decor to the actual location. Chef-owner Katsu Imamura serves up authentic Japanese for those that appreciate fish and his years of experience.
Zagat rated Katsu number one over the likes of Alinea and Vie as Chicago’s best restaurant. There is a reason it’s been open for over two decades. Chef Imamura and his wife have cultivated great relationships with fish purveyors around the world so you can enjoy not only ultra fresh fish but also hard to find and lesser known quality fish.
We stopped in here for an early quick dinner on a weekday (I’ll be back when I have more time and appetite). The sushi counter is always the best seat in the house because you are in the middle of the action. Watching nimble hands crafting small works of art one after another and while conversing with the sushi chefs and your neighbors.
The theme for the night was “melt-in-your mouth” because that is essentially what every bit of food did. The generous portions of salmon nigiri with gold flecks and roemelted like a rich butter.
Even cooked items dazzled the palate like the kitchen special for the day, Grilled Silver Codfish. Described as “very tasty and juicy fresh Silver Codfish grilled ans served with fresh green vegetables.” You could eat it with a spoon and it fell apart once it hit your mouth. Cooked perfectly and full of rich flavor for the usually mild flavored fish.
We did not order the omakase (chef’s choice of tasting menu) but once I finally do Katsu will be the restaurant it will happen in. I am confident it will be money well spent. You can still find more Americanized items such as rolls. We settled for a selection that was heavy on the fish and light on the sauces, always a good sign.
I am a big fan of beer with sushi and this Red Rice Hitachino Nest Beer was fantastic. Just the right amount of sweet notes and bitter to be complex enough to stand up to the sushi but not over power it in taste. I’m also a fan of the White Ale. From an aesthetic stand-point the label is pretty cute.
Sliced oranges for dessert was the perfect end to this amazing meal. Katsu is for those who appreciate high quality fish presented in a traditional Japanese manner. Your dinner will not be cheap but as they say, you get what you pay for.
Katsu 2651 W Peterson Ave Chicago, IL 60659