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.”
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