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Logan Square Sushi Restaurant Kyōten Pivots to $600 Meals

Plus, Rogers Park’s Restaurante Cuetzala Gro is back open after an outpouring of support, and more intel

Kyoten chef Otto Phan prepares his to-go bento boxes.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Kyōten, the esteemed sushi restaurant in Logan Square helmed by chef and owner Otto Phan, has reopened its indoor space for diners seeking an unusual private dining experience for the hefty price of $600 per person. The price tag essentially buys out the entire restaurant for the evening for groups of two to four people. There’s only one seating per night, which allows Phan to control the volume of diners and try to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Phan says he knows the price tag is ridiculous. During the pandemic, he’s sold $120 to-go bento boxes to go, and that will continue. But the only way to make opening the dining room worthwhile was to do something special. He’ll serve dishes that may never be offered at Kyōten again under this format, and he’ll feed customers as long as they’re still hungry.

Phan has also enhanced the menu and will take diner preferences into consideration, with premium ingredients. Prices vary based on the size of the party: dinner for two goes for $600 each, while groups of three are charged $550 per person, or $500 each for a group of four. Reservations are available via Tock, and require a $200 deposit.

Though Phan’s prices may be steep for many, they’ve got nothing on three-Michelin-star New York City restaurant Masa — the most expensive restaurant in the country — which has charged $800 for its immaculately designed coronavirus-era takeout sushi box.

Kyōten came up short in its quest for a Michelin star in its first year open in Chicago. But Phan is determined. His philosophy was to focus on the food, but diners want a complete experience. So he’s redesigned the interiors to make the intimate space more comfortable. If this is successful, Phan wants to add a second seating.

He’s happy in Chicago and feels the city has a market for pricey sushi. This is a temporary pivot. Once COVID-19 is more under control, he hopes to welcome customers back to the restaurant using the original format.

“I got to this place by always prioritizing my craft,” Phan says. “I’m not stepping on the brakes in the midst of COVID. Stepping the brakes is a last resort.”

And in other news...

  • Family-owned restaurant Restaurante Cuetzala Gro, initially slated to close after the death of owner and patriarch Saul Moreno from complications related to COVID-19 in April, is back open in Rogers Park after his surviving family members had a change of heart, according to Block Club Chicago. Moreno’s daughter told reporters that at first, the family couldn’t imagine operating the restaurant without him. But after legions of neighbors and fans asked them to reconsider the closure — and raised $20,000 to help cover funeral expenses — they felt that they couldn’t abandon their customers. The restaurant reopened in mid-June at 7360 N. Clark Street.
  • Polish/Korean Bridgeport restaurant Kimski and Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar in Humboldt Park have teamed up on a duck wang mandoo, or Korean dumpling, to raise funds for emergency relief organization CovAID and Black Lives Matter Chicago. The mandoo are filled with smoked duck and kimchi, and served with hazelnut ssam sauce and Marz Brewing’s “Jungle Boogie” tamari sauce, available at both restaurants. A dollar will go to each organization for every mandoo sold. The special runs through the end of July.
  • Chicago’s famed Billy Goat Tavern has launched a new line of branded craft beers — the legendary burger spot’s second go-round in two-and-a-half years after Baderbrau, its original brewery partner, suddenly closed, according to the Tribune. This time, Billy Goat has worked with 5-year-old suburban brewery Miskatonic Brewing on new recipes for its Billy Goat IPA and Billy Goat Pilsner. The beers will be available on draft at Billy Goat locations in Chicago, and is slated to show up on grocery and liquor store shelves in July. If all goes well, the brand may also introduce a dark lager.
  • Wine industry giant Anthony “Tony” Terlato, the founder of Terlato Wine Group in suburban Lake Bluff, died of natural causes on Monday at age 86, according to Crain’s. Terlato entered the industry in 1955 working at Leading Liquor Marts on the north side of Chicago, and went on to work at his father-in-law’s wine bottling company, Pacific Wine Co. He’s credited with introducing pinot grigio to the U.S. market in the 1970s, and began his own winemaking venture over the following two decades. Terlato Wines now owns 1,000 acres in vineyards, and 14 wine brands.
  • Workers at Chicago-based game brand Cards Against Humanity are unionizing after former employees leveled allegations of a sexist, racist workplace culture, according to Polygon, Eater’s sibling site. The union, Cards Against Humanity Workers United, will not include workers at CAH-owned Bucktown restaurant Chicago Board Game Cafe. Many of the allegations implicated Max Temkin, co-founder and public face of the company, who has since stepped down from any active role in the company but remains a shareholder.

Chicago Board Game Cafe

1965 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (872) 310-3999 Visit Website

Kyōten

2507 West Armitage Avenue, , IL 60647 (312) 678-0800 Visit Website

Baderbrau

2515 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Marz Brewing

3630 S. Iron Street, Chicago, IL Visit Website

Billy Goat Tavern

1535 West Madison Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-9132 Visit Website

Kimski

954-960 West 31st Street, , IL 60608 (773) 823-7336 Visit Website

Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar

2700 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 661-9577 Visit Website

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