Thursday, October 4, 2012

The siren beckons, Chaihanna closes, and more on this week's restaurant scene

Posted By on 10.04.12 at 04:00 PM

John Manion at one of his itinerant gigs, Branch 27
  • Eric Futran
  • John Manion at Branch 27, one of his past gigs
Back in February, Bedford bartender Justin Anderson shared an anecdote explaining the name of the muddled-caviar drink he made for our Cocktail Challenge. He and John Manion, his partner in the forthcoming La Sirena Clandestina, were visiting New York when, out of nowhere, a group of Japanese students thronged them with cries of "Hemingway! Hemingway!" (Maybe it was the beard?) In Manion's honor, but also recalling Papa, Anderson dubbed his Asian-inspired cocktail the Donshuunouo, Japanese for "big fish, big man, notorious man."

Now Anderson and Manion continue to inch toward the opening of their restaurant, at 954 W. Fulton. Early this afternoon a fuzzy shot of their menu was posted on La Sirena's Facebook page, joining a shot from this week's Key Ingredient, which features Manion and his Latin take on Great Lakes smelt. Working in a kitchen still in progress—"I'm going to hope that fryer works," he said—he produced a dish he described as "a good example of the kind of food that I want to do. . . . It's local fish, garnished with local ingredients, but this tastes like Brazil to me. It tastes like the beach." Anderson, for his part, told Eater he wanted "to try and get weird" with his cocktails, though the list will also feature classics like pisco sours. La Sirena's currently shooting for a Saturday debut. UPDATE: As of Friday, it had been pushed back again, per Eater, which has also posted Manion's menu, attracting trolls the like of which boggles the mind.

If you're in a Brazilian mood, meanwhile, Sushisamba Rio's offering a weekend brunch with options like lobster eggs Benedict or house-made quinoa waffles with apple butter and kuromitsu (a Japanese syrup), served together with three glasses of prosecco or tropical-fruit cocktails for $25. It's from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM Saturdays and Sundays at 504 N. Wells, 312-595-2300. Reservations recommended.

Closed: Chaihanna

As first reported on LTHForum, Buffalo Grove's Chaihanna, one of the Reader's top picks for north- and northwest-suburban restaurants, has closed. Back in 2008, Mike Sula profiled the sisters-in-law behind what was seemingly the area's only Uzbek restaurant. RIP.

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