Sawada Matcha was just the warm up, according to restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff. His Hogsalt Hospitality, this week, opened up its new coffee and tea shop in River North. But the main course is Radio Anago, the sushi restaurant that shares an entrance with Sawada. Radio Anago could open as early as Friday, March 9 at 226 W. Kinzie Street.
Sodikoff designed the space with the assistance of Hogsalt partner Allison Koval, the company’s new project development leader. It’s an intimate space with room for 45 and a sushi counter where diners cans see executive chef Hari Chan and his staff slice fish and roll nori. There is no bar element or seating along the sushi counter. The room has a modern and unified feel.
“It’s a really personal space for me,” Sodikoff said. “I built it how I wanted it.”
Though Sodikoff expects the dining room to have energy and diners will hear a bit of noise, he said there’s an element of calmness. There are charred woods, some brass as well as deep blue velvet booths.
“The Radio Anago name — it’s kind of our sushi, sake, and sound waves,” Sodikoff said.
Anago is the Japanese word for saltwater eel. Chan’s menu will feature classic preparations. It’s scaled down as Sodikoff said there’s more a focus on execution rather than innovation.
Sodikoff described Sawada as Radio Anago’s vestibule. It’s got a lounge element which will allow customers to sip cocktails while waiting for their tables. They’ll enter through curtains into a hallway that leads into the dining room.
The location is a familiar one for Hogsalt which already runs Gilt Bar and Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf on the same block. While this isn’t Hogsalt’s first Japanese restaurant — High Five Ramen has earned acclaim in the West Loop — Sodikoff said it’s unfair to compare the two. They don’t share much in common.
Check back next week for more coverage as Hogsalt prepares to open another restaurant.