Izakaya Mita | Wicker Park/Bucktown | Japanese | Restaurant
Izakaya Mita

Izakaya Mita

Andrea Bauer

A Japanese pub in Bucktown with small plates, ramen, and a bincho grill

Our Review

Izakaya Mita is committed to providing a serious, no-bullshit environment for those who want to drink the Japanese way. Here a little bit of ika shiokara goes a long way. The intensely briny, funky little strips of cold squid flesh seem to come alive in your mouth—and really can't be washed down with anything less potent than whiskey. The centerpiece of Toshi Motegi's menu is the selection of mostly meaty bamboo skewers grilled over superhot, low-smoke oak charcoal. Motegi's offering the rare bits—crackly ribbons of skin, fatty tail nubbins, and iron-rich gizzards and livers—in addition to more commonplace parts from the thigh and the breast, and a crusty, juicy chicken meatball. But you can build a more varied meal choosing among items like crunchy deep-fried squid legs or sweet pickled onions, cucumbers, and daikon. The custardy chawanmushi is light and piping hot, brightened with citrus zest and embedded with bits of shrimp, chicken, and the processed fish cake known as kamaboko. Okonomiyaki, a gooey savory pancake, is laced with ropes of Kewpie mayo and sweet brown teriyaki sauce and topped with plump shrimp, chicken, fish cakes, and shimmering bonito flakes. The deep fryer turns out shrimp, scallops, and vegetables jacketed in tempura, among more unorthodox endeavors such as slices of tempura eggplant sandwiching melted cheese. Bigger appetites can be satisfied with similarly simple larger plates, including a plate of gyu tataki, very rare and thinly sliced beef dressed in ponzu, that will probably rank among my top ten steaks of the year. To drink choose between 15 sakes by the glass, ten bottles of shochu, or five Japanese whiskeys.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$
Payment Type: AmEx, Discover, Mastercard, Visa

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