Lure – "Modern Izakaya"

March 09 2011 - 2:15 PM

Lure I love the izakaya format. It’s basically a Japanese-pub. You can expect cheap beer, sake and small bites of food, grilled and otherwise. My favorite example is in midtown Manhattan basically in the basement next to the Hawaiian Tropic restaurant (!). It’s Sake Bar Hagi and I ALWAYS leave there stuffed and tipsy. It’s a truly wonderful thing.

I was walking through the Chinatown mall and saw that Lure was opening soon and sure enough I caught wind of their soft launch and went with a friend. It was only a day after they started taking customers and with one exception they are kicking butt. That said it’s not the izakaya I pictured… It’s more the nightclub-izakaya vs pub-izakaya. Nothing simple about it.

The decor is glowing, color-changing neon lights that inflatable water slide overshadow nearly everything. It’s a more-is-more philosophy. When they include Geisha-clad waitstaff (after 10pm) and give discounts for costumed diners, it’s sure to be sheer madness… and certainly bears no resemblance to an izakaya.

The food is also remarkably complicated. Dishes we ordered included a very fresh cold duck plate with a light vinegar broth, nice bacon-wrapped scallops, a great pork belly dish that was only just warm… if it were served hot it would have been incredible in a wonderful plum sauce, the salmon which is pictured was rich and buttery, bonito-flake soba, asparagus with a wicked good mayo-sauce… all in all it was really impressive. Unfortunately they didn’t have their sake in yet but I’m looking forward to some Honjozo, I can’t find it in many places.

& next time I gotta find me a schoolgirl outfit for “Lolita” night.

Lure Izakaya
2017 South China Place (Wells)
Chicago, IL 60616

(It’s at the end of the mall next to the bank)