Matthias Merges, the former chef de cuisine of Charlie Trotter's, is on track to open the yakitori-inspired Yusho in October, just about a year since he left his post at Trotter's. Originally, the restaurant was to have a focus on American cuisine, but that changed. Partnering with his wife, Rachel Crowl, architect and designer for Bluebird and Telegraph, the change came about because they want to work in harmony with the real estate and not force an idea into the four walls they found in Logan Square.
The theme may be yakitori, but Merges has said they won't just have food on a stick. "We want to demonstrate great technique and how the food works with gas, binchotan (white charcoal) or our charbroiler," he said. "I want to share with more people the respect and technique I have to offer with the cuisine." The restaurant will also offer sake, a well-balanced wine list and beer. "We'll focus on great pairings from the grill like Rhone varietals and heavy German and Austrian section, as well," he added.
While Merges is keeping many of the design details under wraps for now, he did say it'll be "textured utilitarian" with an open feel to the space and kitchen. However it turns out, the motivated Merges has a palpable enthusiasm to deliver a passionate project to Chicago. Stay tuned for more as it gets closer to the opening.
· Chef de Cuisine Matthias Merges Leaving Trotter's [~EChi~]
· Former Trotter Chef Merges Planning New Concept [~EChi~]
Matthias Merges [Photo: StarChefs]