Land of the Setting Sun

Sake and Puffed Pigs’ Ears in Lakeview

None 4 Photos Chizakaya
Japan: Land of the Rising Sun. And of whiskey drinkers. Of salarymen wedged into crowded izakayas knocking back sake and slurping bowls of ramen after a hard day.

In other words, not so different than Lakeview tonight.

Welcome to Chizakaya, your new evening playground for 12-year-old Japanese whiskey, cold hamachi salads and warm bottles of sake at midnight. And since it’s not a party without pig-ear pork rinds, you’ll find Puffed Pigs’ Ears there too.

You may have had some brushes with the supposed izakaya trend this year (apparently, the word means “more popular in LA”). But when a sous chef from Japonais teams up with a chef from L2O—abetted by an L2O sommelier—good things usually happen.

Walking in is a bit like stepping into the pages of a Japanese comic book —but those are just the murals near the ceiling. A good, stiff Ume Ume made with shochu (basically Japanese vodka), plum juice and housemade ginger bitters should snap you back to reality.

But when it’s late and you and your friends want somewhere interesting to wind down the night, commandeer a communal table in the back and let loose on small plates of chicken meatballs, spicy shisito peppers, and clams with beer and black garlic. You’ll have 25 sakes to choose from—though only two wines: red and white.

Both excellent with puffy pigs’ ears.


3056 N Lincoln Ave
(between Barry and Wellington)
Chicago, IL, 60657


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