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The Early Word on Kabocha

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Barry Brecheisen

For the past year, former chef/owner of Michelin-starred Bonsoirée, Shin Thompson, has been hard at work preparing for the opening of his Japanese brasserie, Kabocha, and it seems to have really paid off. Though some diners think the new Fulton Market hotspot still has a lot of kinks to work out, many more have been impressed with the decor, the service, and most importantly, the food. Here's the early word on Kabocha:

The Good News: At Living Meal to Meal the steak tartare won fan favorite: "Served with 'umami paste,' a quail egg and chili-sesame wontons, this was basically meat heaven. Unlike other steak tartares that lack flavor or are overpowered by sauces or other ingredients, this tartare highlighted the high quality of the meat and was perfectly balanced by its accompaniments. I'd come to Kabocha just to get my steak tartare fix; this was the best I've had in Chicago." [LMTM]

The Bad News: Living Meal to Meal was less impressed with the rest of the food: "The [kombu cured lamb loin] entree we ordered ended up being the most disappointing dish of the night. Not only was this dish overcooked and flavorless, but also TINY. This serving size would have been better off for an appetizer. Also, this thing was freaking $30!! This was overpriced, underseasoned, overcooked and undersized." [LMTM]

The Opening News: One Yelp reviewer comments on the surprisingly smooth first days of service: "The restaurant had only been open 10 days when we stopped in so I was anticipating the typical 'new place woes,' but there were none to be found. The kitchen pacing was perfect, the servers and bussers on their game and the food was stellar." [Yelp]

The Vibe News: UrbanDaddy says the ambiance at Kabocha really sets the mood: "...this place is at its best when you're on a date. It's sexy, the booths are intimate, and if you want to just relax and let the chef send over 10 courses of whatever he feels like, there's a private two-person kaiseki room." [UrbanDaddy]

The Must-Try News: Samantha Lande, Sun Times journalist and Eater contributor, gives diners a tip on what to order: "The whole fish is flown in daily, then battered in red rice ale tempura and served with a fermented black bean chili sauce and a daikon "spring roll." [Splash]

The Seafood Tower News: Next timeRedEye columnist, Lisa Arnett, pays a visit, she'll bring friends: "I do wish I'd dined with a bigger crew to have the excuse to order the shellfish aquarium—a picturesque take on a traditional seafood tower that you've seen all over the internet by now—which was just too much food (and at $85, too much cash) for a table of two." [REChi]

The Service News: An OpenTable user was well taken care of: "They didn't have something on the menu and the owner came out with a dish specially prepared for my pallet. Can't wait to return." [OpenTable]


925 W Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60607 312 666 6214