Less than three months in, Jason Chan and B.K. Park have made changes to the menu and staff at their Lincoln Park Japanese concept Juno. Chan and Park have revamped the hot portion of the menu, coinciding with a chef change—replacing kitchen manager Jeffrey Hedin (Girl & the Goat, Leopold) with James Lohse, who was promoted from within. Chan says that the food coming from the kitchen needed to be closer to the quality of the sushi B.K. Park is cranking out.
"B.K.'s food is on a different level," Chan says. "We never expected the hot food to be anywhere near the same level, but if B.K.'s food is the husband we wanted the kitchen's food to be the wife."
New menu features include carrying certified Kobe beef; Chan says they're the only restaurant in Chicago and one of only 13 in the country to carry it. They're mostly using it in a tartare, although Park is also creatively using it from time to time behind the sushi counter. On one recent night he drizzled king crab sashimi with butter made from Kobe beef fat before searing it with a blowtorch.
Whereas the menu was originally broken up into separate parts, it's now consolidated into one. Four types of ramen are now available (duck, pork, seafood, vegetable) and noodles will soon be made in-house. Squab, rotating "surf and turfs" (currently it's octopus terrine and pork belly), and two entrees (red snapper, sirloin) are also on the new menu.
Erin Mooney, who designed the opening dessert menu, is now on the full-time staff. Chan has also made changes to the beverage menu, adding more rare Japanese craft beer and streamlining the wine list.
Chan and Park are attempting to walk a fine line between the simplistic elegance of traditional Japanese fare yet trying to continue to push the limitations. "Our mission statement was to do something traditional and take everything we learned in Japan, which was often what not do—stay in a box," Chan says. "You have to evolve."
The new menu is available starting tonight, look over it below.