Grilled shrimp with spicy mayo and tobiko
Grilled shrimp with spicy mayo and tobiko Photo: Jeff Marini


EDITOR'S NOTE:Since this story went to press, Yokocho has shuttered. The owners have plans to relocate, and we'll let you know when they reopen.


Down a dimly lit alley just off Wicker Park’s main artery, the entrance to Yokocho feels like a portal to Japan. An ode to the culinary dynamism of Tokyo’s hidden back streets, this dark, intimate spot seems like a mere bar at first glance, but its menu provides treasures worth making a meal out of. Fried chicken meatballs, drizzled with just the right amount of Kewpie mayo and sprinkled with shimmying bonito flakes, start with a satisfying panko crunch that gives way to an impeccably juicy center. And while not quite a Japanese staple, the deviled eggs — embellished with togarashi and furikake — knock their Southern-style counterparts out of the park, transporting you to a version of Japan that maybe only exists in a delectable fever dream.