This self-described “multidimensional Japanese restaurant” from the Boka Restaurant Group comprises three levels and 10,000 square feet and cost $3.4 million to build. Its expansive menus cover many genres—robata, hibachi, sushi—each with its own rules. In lesser hands, all this might lead to some kind of culturally dodgy theme park.
- 820 West Lake Street
- West Loop
The fact that Momotaro succeeds so wildly may be BRG’s greatest trick of all. First off, the gorgeous space by AvroKo (Duck Duck Goat, Swift & Sons) has both brains and personality, from a spirits menu styled as a train station departures board to the 1950s Japanese pay phone downstairs. Momotaro’s bustle and sprawl may seem daunting, but customers quickly find their niche. Some perch at the enormous central sushi bar, which showcases Shigero Kitano’s impeccable creations, including a memorable aburi sawara nigiri (charred Spanish mackerel with ginger oroshi paste). Others camp out in the soaring dining room for Mark Hellyar’s laser-focused hot dishes, including a spirited rendition of tsukune, skewered ground chicken meatballs, served with quail eggs. Others descend to the basement izakaya for ramen and sake. A game and helpful staff deftly guides diners through the mind-boggling array of choices, so that guests come away feeling exhilarated instead of overwhelmed.