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Kumiko Is Julia Momose’s Big Solo Act

The star bartender went all in on Japanese charm for her new West Loop spot.

Photos: Jeff Marini

When Julia Momose left GreenRiver, The michelin-starred cocktail spot in Streeterville, in 2016, she opted to take some time off before jumping behind the bar again. Part of her sabbatical was spent developing the drink menu at (the also Michelin-starred) Oriole. Three years later, Momose is back with a den of her own. Kumiko features a tight menu of light bites from former Oriole chef de cuisine Mariya Russell and a substantial list of visually stunning no-proof sips alongside the boozy options. Its Eastern influences read as an extended love letter to Momose’s birthplace of Japan. Here’s a taste of what to expect at this haute drinking salon. 630 W. Lake St., West Loop

Hot Chocolate cocktail
The Hot Chocolate cocktail gets its deep cocoa flavor from crème de cacao and Rhine Hall Distillery’s bierschnaps, made with a roasty stout.


Grilled short ribs come with an assortment of Japanese accoutrements
Gently grilled short ribs come with an assortment of Japanese accoutrements, including pickled plums, grilled limes, and rich housemade Kewpie-style mayonnaise.


Pork belly steamed buns
Pork belly steamed buns are topped with a garden’s worth of fresh herbs.


The Protea 
The Protea — one of seven spirit-free drinks on the menu — has a rosy hue thanks to adzuki beans and red verjus (a juice made from unripened grapes).


Cinnamon-honey chai
Guests receive a cup of freshly brewed cinnamon-honey chai upon entering. 6 Shrimp tempura is elevated by scallions and edible blooms.


The Pepperberry Tonic
The Pepperberry Tonic, another cocktail sans alcohol, uses Tasmanian pepperberries, a floral yet spicy fruit from Australia.


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