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Momotaro Brings a Modern Twist to Japanese Cuisine

The new West Loop spot is the first Asian dining venture from the team behind Girl & the Goat, Perennial Virant, and Balena.

Inaniwa udon
Inaniwa udon   Photo: Anna Knott

“We have talked about a Japanese restaurant since the beginning—since Boka,” says Kevin Boehm of himself and his partner, Rob Katz. “It’s the cuisine we both put first on our list.” Yet since Boka, which opened in 2003, the guys behind Boka Restaurant Group have brought us Girl & the Goat, GT Fish & Oyster, Perennial Virant, and Balena—not a shiso leaf in sight. With Momotaro, that’s all about to change.

Their Japanese-born sushi chef, Jeff Ramsey, boasts a Michelin star—four years running—for his work at Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo. Maybe that’s why he makes a version of spicy tuna maki different from any others Boehm and Katz have ever tasted. And their executive chef, Mark Hellyar, a St. Louis native who also worked in Japan, has created a tableside prep of sukiyaki that engages the diners in the final swirling of ingredients, including wagyu beef from Iowa. It sounds like a couple of Asian-savvy stars have finally aligned for Boehm and Katz. 820 W. Lake St.

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