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Bob San: A Photo Essay

Bob San: A Photo Essay
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  • Bob San: A Photo Essay

    Post #1 - January 24th, 2005, 4:24 pm
    Post #1 - January 24th, 2005, 4:24 pm Post #1 - January 24th, 2005, 4:24 pm
    On Saturday, some friends asked me if I'd like to join them at one of their perennial favourites, Bob San. Not having been in a long while, and not wanting to consider cabin fever, I jumped at the offer.

    As I visit Los Angeles frequently, I should say that sushi is not anywhere near the top of my dining preferences in Chicago. That said, Saturday's meal at Bob San was very enjoyable. And amazingly, I had a couple of items that rival servings that I have enjoyed on the Pacific coast.

    Image
    My personal geta, which included (l-r), uni and yellowtail sashimi, and mackerel and bonito nigiri-zushi

    Image
    Bob San's "crunch roll"

    Image
    goma ae

    Image
    asparagus and sweet potato tempura

    Image
    Bob San's bullpen

    Image
    "", bikkurishita"

    The sea urchin (uni) sashimi was fantastic. I had sworn off ordering uni in Chicago after being disappointed repeatedly, but when the chef got the sense that I took my pleasure very seriously, he strongly encouraged me to order it. Now, I will not pretend that a spiny sea creature's gonads are to everyone's taste, but if you have ever tried the goods--esp. the treasured sea urchin from Santa Barbara--you may understand the delirious obsession that some people have with it. All I can say is that Bob San's took me nearly to heaven, but you are on your own.

    The second biggest surprise was the bonito (katsuo) nigiri-sushi. This, too, was strongly encouraged by the chef. While bonito is not commonly available hereabouts, the little that I have found has not been of satisfactory quality. Bonito is a bloody fish that does not take well to freezing, and so it is a difficult item to ship and handle. The chef admitted that they have not had it on hand for several months. The neta was nicely cut and portioned, and the taste was very, very rich. I was served some ponzu for this item--which I appreciated--but I could only bear to use it for one piece.

    The mackerel (saba) nigiri-zushi and the yellowtail sashimi were nothing to sneeze at. Truthfully, I found the yellowtail to be vastly preferable to the "medium-premium" yellowtail that I was served at Katsu, just a few days before.

    As my dinnermates were far more familiar with the menu than I, they chose the remainder of the items that I sampled. The "crunch roll," pictured above, was actually quite interesting. I don't generally order things like that, but after finishing my delicious sashimi and nigiri-zushi, I was game for anything.

    Bob San
    1805-1807 W. Division
    773.235.8888
    Seven Days

    Erik M.
    Last edited by Erik M. on January 24th, 2005, 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - January 24th, 2005, 4:35 pm
    Post #2 - January 24th, 2005, 4:35 pm Post #2 - January 24th, 2005, 4:35 pm
    I am happy to see you like Bob San... =)

    Two items that you might be interested in is enkawa and aji. Enkawa is the fin meat of hirame. It has a firm texture and a sweet taste. It is not on the menu, but he might have some in the refrigerator behind the bar.

    Aji is a special sometimes, I think usually on Thursday. Aji is horse mackerel, but not as fishy as regular mackerel. It's a small fish and you can only get 8-10 slices per fish.

    My favorite stuff at Bob San is the dragon roll, and scallop handroll. My first experience with uni was a bad one, and that turned me off uni for a few years, until Bobby convinced me to try it again about 5 years ago. Been eating it since...

    FYI... I know Bobby, but I am definitely not schilling. Ask, and I will tell you what I do not like at Bob San and Naniwa... :)
  • Post #3 - January 24th, 2005, 4:45 pm
    Post #3 - January 24th, 2005, 4:45 pm Post #3 - January 24th, 2005, 4:45 pm
    Charlotte,

    Thanks for the reply.

    The chef did not seem so strong on the aji, Saturday.

    Do you happen to know what the coating is on the "crunch roll?" I asked if it was panko, but the chef said that it was instead, "something like panko."

    Also, my friends are crazy about the flattened scallops. Do you know what the marinade is for that item? And do you know what the scallops are coated with? It was a new dish for me, but I thought they were good.

    Regards,
    Erik M.
  • Post #4 - January 24th, 2005, 7:39 pm
    Post #4 - January 24th, 2005, 7:39 pm Post #4 - January 24th, 2005, 7:39 pm
    The "crunch" is actually the tempura batter. The shrimp (or veg) tempura is coated with a batter, then rolled in panko crumbs. That batter is what they fry up for the "crunch".

    Yes, Bob San and Naniwa do not adhere to the traditional tempura batter. They coat it with a panko like crumb. Not exactly panko, I believe it is a Korean equivalent.

    The scallops are flattened by hand and coated with cornflour. Put in the pan with butter to fry up. When golden brown, a little soy, ponzu and lemon juice is added.
  • Post #5 - January 25th, 2005, 1:03 am
    Post #5 - January 25th, 2005, 1:03 am Post #5 - January 25th, 2005, 1:03 am
    Erik M. wrote:Now, I will not pretend that a spiny sea creature's gonads are to everyone's taste


    I would like to propose this as the next LTHForum signature quote.

    Ric, the photos are magnificent...I was especially taken by the gomae. I have not had a good gomae in many moons, and the photo conveys the phyllo-like folds of green spinach flesh with a modest splash of sauce that, for me, seems a beautiful expression of the dish...of course, I suppose I should actually taste it before coming to a definitive conclusion.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - January 25th, 2005, 9:13 am
    Post #6 - January 25th, 2005, 9:13 am Post #6 - January 25th, 2005, 9:13 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    Erik M. wrote:Now, I will not pretend that a spiny sea creature's gonads are to everyone's taste


    I would like to propose this as the next LTHForum signature quote.

    Ric, the photos are magnificent...I was especially taken by the gomae. I have not had a good gomae in many moons, and the photo conveys the phyllo-like folds of green spinach flesh with a modest splash of sauce that, for me, seems a beautiful expression of the dish...of course, I suppose I should actually taste it before coming to a definitive conclusion.

    Hammond


    That looks good, but the best gomae I have had in Chicago can be found at (where else) Katsu. His has a certain "lightness" to the sauce that I find quite good. It's not heavy, but has a very intense flavor.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - January 25th, 2005, 9:41 am
    Post #7 - January 25th, 2005, 9:41 am Post #7 - January 25th, 2005, 9:41 am
    Bob San's gomae is hand ground from sesame seeds, and yes it is heavier than most. I personally prefer the lighter dressing at Katsu.

    It is not easy to grind those suckers by hand. Believe me... :) It is done a a huge bowl with grooves/ridges on the inside wall, and a long wooden pestle. I tried it for a few minutes, and my arms ached for hours... =) But that could be because I am not the athletic type... ;)
  • Post #8 - January 25th, 2005, 10:28 am
    Post #8 - January 25th, 2005, 10:28 am Post #8 - January 25th, 2005, 10:28 am
    Erik doesn't mention the price, but one thing I personally really like about both Bob San and Naniwa (essentially the same menu) is that you can eat very well for a very reasonable price - i.e. typically ~$40 or less for two people has been my usual experience, a bit higher if either of us orders wine. Thus great sushi at a price that allows for consuming it on a regular basis, not a once in a long time treat ala the prices of a Katsu (haven't tried that yet, just from what I've read) or Mirai down the street from Bob San.

    One of my favorite items at Bob San is their "spicy" shrimp or tuna rolls. Not traditional perhaps but I love their sauce (not the mayonaise spicy sauce but their chili spicy sauce) very tasty.

    Shannon
  • Post #9 - January 25th, 2005, 12:08 pm
    Post #9 - January 25th, 2005, 12:08 pm Post #9 - January 25th, 2005, 12:08 pm
    Shannon Clark wrote:Erik doesn't mention the price, but one thing I personally really like about both Bob San and Naniwa (essentially the same menu) is that you can eat very well for a very reasonable price - i.e. typically ~$40 or less for two people has been my usual experience, a bit higher if either of us orders wine.


    FWIW, there were three of us and it came out to $65 ea. I had the only bar order and that was for one Kirin Ichiban.

    Further, it would seem that you and I approach the place from completely different angles.

    Regards,
    Erik M.
  • Post #10 - January 25th, 2005, 1:41 pm
    Post #10 - January 25th, 2005, 1:41 pm Post #10 - January 25th, 2005, 1:41 pm
    Shannon Clark wrote:i.e. typically ~$40 or less for two people has been my usual experience, a bit higher if either of us orders wine.


    I'm always amused when people that I'm dining with suggest sushi as a tasty, quick, and inexpensive meal. They order a roll of some kind and two pieces of nigiri and they're done. Granted, these are usually women ... often small women. (Or is "petite" a more appropriate descriptor?) While I, on the other hand, seem to veer closer to Erik's total. Not that I'm a big guy ... or a glutton. I just have a, um, "healthy" appetite. When you average it out, $40 a person doesn't sound bad ... unless you're stuck on the $65 side of the "average."

    rien
  • Post #11 - January 26th, 2005, 2:06 pm
    Post #11 - January 26th, 2005, 2:06 pm Post #11 - January 26th, 2005, 2:06 pm
    I really enjoy sushi and go out for it any chance I get! When I decide to go to Bob San I don't necessarily go there for the superior quality of the food but rather for the vibe! It's the perfect place to go and have drinks and have a nice long dinner than sit at the bar and smoke and drink martinis! I usually go there before I go out or if I plan on hanging out int eh bucktown/division area. It's also pretty reasonable! But if you're looking for authentic high quality sushi look elsewhere. 8)
  • Post #12 - January 30th, 2005, 11:42 pm
    Post #12 - January 30th, 2005, 11:42 pm Post #12 - January 30th, 2005, 11:42 pm
    Just got back but your wish is my command. See new tagline.
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  • Post #13 - January 31st, 2005, 12:24 am
    Post #13 - January 31st, 2005, 12:24 am Post #13 - January 31st, 2005, 12:24 am
    I had a lovely dinner at bob san tonight: bonito, namasake, and hamachi nigiri; mackerel, fluke, snapper, and tuna sashimi.

    The fish was all pretty good and nice and fresh (although the mackerel tasted slightly off). The bonito was especially good, ask erik mentioned.

    My dad enjoyed his chili spicy scallop hand roll and quite tender steak teriyaki.

    my mom had an assortment of tempura veggies+shrimp and sushi of: ebi, amaebi, sake, and squid. her high point was, actually, the deep fried shrimp head.

    the strange thing about the meal for me, though, was that the rice on my nigiri tasted overly sweet, like too much sugar was used, or rice wine had been added in addition to vinegar... did anyone else notice this?

    it wasn't really superb sushi -- katsu still remains unequalled for me in chicago -- but it was good. I'm not sure if I'd go there instead of the closer (and cheaper) coast sushi, though.

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #14 - February 5th, 2005, 7:09 pm
    Post #14 - February 5th, 2005, 7:09 pm Post #14 - February 5th, 2005, 7:09 pm
    We also visited Bob San last night with a group of about 10. Everyone ordered a couple of rolls and we all shared, so I was able to taste a number of different items.

    I did particularly like the crunch rolls, as well as the spicy tuna. We also had a salmon, avocado, and cream cheese roll which despite the silly name - "Philly" - was very tasty. The Spider rolls were also very good - gigantic - I believe they had crab, cucumber, and I cannot recall what else. One of the most interesting though, was a spicy shrimp roll. I thought it would be much like the spicy tuna, but although there was shrimp in the roll, it had a chili paste spread on top. It was *very* spicy. I hadn't come across this before. Is this a common offering in sushi restaurants?

    We also had some white tuna sashimi, which was wonderful, and a sampling of chicken teryiaki.

    Even with drinks, we only paid $30 a piece. It was very, very good, but I think Mirai still tops Bob San, even though it's a bit more expensive. Although, Bob San was on par with the new Rise on Southport, as well as Tank Sushi (Despite the reviews on Tank, I thought the maki and sashimi were not anything out of the ordinary....although they did have some very inventive small plates...)

    I haven't been to Katsu or Coast, but I've heard good things. They will definitely be on my list to visit.
  • Post #15 - April 12th, 2005, 3:02 pm
    Post #15 - April 12th, 2005, 3:02 pm Post #15 - April 12th, 2005, 3:02 pm
    I just want to briefly report on a meal at Bob San this past weekend which was immeasurably enhanced by a few tips from CrazyC. Pictured below are a few of the items ordered on this visit.

    Image
    oshi dashi

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    uni "shooter"

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    sashimi "jalapeno," with white tuna and hamachi

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    my personal sashimi selection, which included (cw) katsuo, mirugai, gari (ginger), and enkawa

    While Bob San's goma ae--with its labour-intensive hand-ground sesame sauce--is quite a treat, I opted this time for the simpler spinach dish, oshi dashi, which included shavings of wonderfully smoky-tasting dried bonito.

    The "shooter" is not something that I indulge in with any frequency, but CrazyC's encouragement to try Bob San's version with uni may have changed that. According to CrazyC, Bob San's shooters include sake, ponzu, fish eggs, a quail egg, and a spicy sauce upon request. As I mentioned above, Bob San procures some exceptional uni, so even though the shooter preparation may have completely "gilded the lily," I could not argue with the taste. It was as smooth as silk, as rich as cream, and seemingly filled with vitality. Just as an amuse is inteded, it made my tastebuds stand at attention.

    I had tried the sashimi "japapeno" before, but until CrazyC informed me, I did not realize that you could combine fish selections. So, at her suggestion, we chose to combine the white tuna and the hamachi. I found the amount of ponzu dressing to be a bit excessive, and I found the presence of the jalapeno slices to be a bit disjunctive, but the fish was of very good quality, and somehow the dish managed to have its own kind of screwy coherence.

    Probably the greatest surprise of the evening was the enkawa, an item with which I had no previous experience. CrazyC told me that this is muscle which is trimmed from the side fin of hirame, or fluke. It is prepared in-house at Bob San, but it is not a listed menu item, nor is it always available. The somewhat delicate meat had an appearance and texture vaguely reminiscent of grapefruit "meat" from which the membrane has been removed. It was pleasantly crunchy in parts, and had a richer, fuller taste than hirame filet meat.

    Our Chef for the evening was Alan-san, who occupied Bobby's usu. station, as Bobby was away on vacation. Alan did an exceptional job with our preparations, and I am glad that we waited for an opening with him.

    Some recent experiences in Los Angeles have me reframing my picture of the sushi scene in Chicago, but I know that Bob San remains a place where I can always be assured of very high-quality fish and a fun and engaging staff, with both the preparations and the atmosphere to match.

    Regards,
    Erik M.
  • Post #16 - April 15th, 2005, 12:29 am
    Post #16 - April 15th, 2005, 12:29 am Post #16 - April 15th, 2005, 12:29 am
    Goma ae is one of my favorite vegetable dishes. My experience is that cooked-food restaurants often do it better than places that are primarily sushi bars, and I highly recommend that at Renga-Tei.

    Renga-Tei
    3956 W Touhy Ave
    Lincolnwood, IL 60712
    847-675-5177

    I do like the sushi at Bob-San, which also has the advantage of being open relatively late at night (till midnight during the week, later on weekends). The vibes can sometimes get a little weird in the outdoor space, where I've been accosted by beggars.

    I'd call Bob San a relatively expensive spot, partly because they don't offer combination plates, so you have to order a la carte. (Those who like a lot of obscure items might do that anyway, but I usually start with some basic nigiri, and then add special items, so it's more economical to begin with a chef's choice combination where it's offered.)

    However, I'm used to thinking of sushi generally as expensive. When I was introduced to sushi it was still relatively rare and almost a luxury item. We used to joke about the Dick Smith Diet (named for its originator): "All the sushi you can afford."

    Of course, 20 years ago, I could truthfully say I had been to every sushi bar in Chicago.

    Even today, in Chicago, anyway, where all the seafood has too be flown in, I wouldn't trust the quality of the fish at any really cheap sushi bar.
  • Post #17 - June 30th, 2005, 8:12 am
    Post #17 - June 30th, 2005, 8:12 am Post #17 - June 30th, 2005, 8:12 am
    Image

    So I was in the mood for sushi last night-- actually I thought about inviting Hungry Rabbi out for Chicago pizza, but couldn't find his number-- anyway, sushi seemed like something I'd been missing in these weeks of highway driving and Rudy's Taste dinner planning, so I called GWiv up and suggested we go to Katsu. "Sure thing, I'll even buy you a $300 bottle of sake," he said.

    Now I knew something had to be up. "It's not Tuesday," I said, referring to the day they're closed.

    "No, but they're on vacation," he said, beaming with the same confidence Sky Masterson had had when getting suckers to bet on the amount of strudel and cheesecake sold at Mindy's.

    So, needing an alternative to the great god Katsu, we thought of Erik's Suggest-A-Meal above and decided to live the life of Wicker Park trendies at Bob San. He, the lovely Ms. Wiv and I settled in at the sushi bar (where two of us felt like we needed phone books to sit on) and immediately decided, if Bob San has nothing else going for it, it gives good photo. But in fact, it has quite a lot going for it, starting with luscious-looking trays of pretty fresh fish and such:

    Image

    Hmm, I have a sudden urge to go see War of the Worlds.

    Image

    Another view of the jalapeno sushi, I think this was hamachi and escolar, and my oh-so-trendy sakatini next to it. (Frankly, it tasted like drinking the water a cucumber had been sitting in.) Hamachi was probably the best thing we had, you'll see it again, melt-in-your-mouth delicate. I agree with Erik that there was a bit too much sauce, and I didn't chomp the jalapeno directly, just let it impart some flavor to the sauce and fish. Well, at least it was kind of cool watching the guy (Johnson) slice paper thin slices of jalapeno at a rate of about 200 per minute.

    Image

    This platter included, at left, sea bass as suggested by one of the chefs, and at right, the fluke fin muscle described above, which was interesting, definitely had a more muscular or cartilaginous texture than most sashimi you try.

    Image

    One of us had to try one of these. It was not me.

    Image

    Nice picture of the roll crusted with the stuff that isn't panko (which is actually how we ordered it-- "What's the roll that's covered with the stuff that isn't panko?") With the sauce on it, this was way too sweet for me, but I can see the young and trendy scarfing it up like sushi candy.

    Image

    GWiv is enamored of clams, and kept trying to sell me on the giant clam ("Didn't it taste like the ocean?" "Isn't it amazing that you're in Chicago and something tastes like the ocean?" "LOVE THE GODDAM CLAM YOU BASTARD!") This is the not so giant clam. Clams, well, they make really good pictures, I can at least say that for them.

    So, overall impression of Bob San? As Gary said, given the trendy crowd mostly ordering pretty traditional stuff, it's way better than it has to be. Only the hamachi quite gave me a swooning, delirious raw fish moment like Katsu regularly does, and considering that it's more expensive than Katsu, it's unlikely to become my standard drop-in spot (at least not before I get a completely new wardrobe and tax bracket), but I also admit to having not the most adventuresome taste for raw fish and fish parts out there, and anyway, nobody said this was a zero-sum competition; Bob San is an estimable place with different things on its menu and unmistakably high standards, no question there are many delights to be found in exploring its menu. And in looking around the room at all the people dressed like rock stars, brokers, and rock star brokers.

    Image

    Whoops, how'd that get in here? Uh, afterwards, since it was only 26 blocks away, we swung by Mario's. I think I have never actually had Mario's, although I've been to this Al's and if Mario's was open at the same time hard to imagine I'd have skipped it. I must admit, although the texture is terrific, smooth and creamy, I found the lemon too sugary and not lemony enough, compared to others I've had around town; the watermelon was better (though it had an odd bubble gum note that seemed a tad unnatural). I'll have to give it another shot when peach is in season.
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  • Post #18 - July 3rd, 2005, 6:47 am
    Post #18 - July 3rd, 2005, 6:47 am Post #18 - July 3rd, 2005, 6:47 am
    Mike G wrote:"LOVE THE GODDAM CLAM YOU BASTARD!")

    Mike,

    Funny, though I guess I was a bit adamant about the giant clam having an ocean/sea water taste. :) The red clam, which had a light sweetness, was outstanding as well. The enkawa, mussel trimmed from the side fin of the fluke/hirame, which Erik mentions in his above post, was quite good, though, for me, more about texture than taste.

    Mackerel was a stand out that evening, as was sea bass and nigiri squid w/shiso leaf. I asked the shiso be added as I enjoy the flavor combination. Uni shooter was interesting, complimentary flavors, but smooth on smooth, uni/quail egg, was a bit too, well, smooth, for me.

    Bob San has a lot going for it, open late, hopping bar/lounge, outdoor dining, comfortable dining room, good service, open late and, the most important thing, at least to me, they give good raw fish. The Itamae's know their business, previous time at Bob San was Alan, this time out both Pete and Johnston. Having a knowledgeable, experienced, sushi chef who is willing to give you a bit of guidance through that days offerings makes a world of difference, especially for the more experienced diner.

    For those who have not been to Bob San printing out Erik's last Bob San post of his dinner with CrazyC is a good way to insure trying some of the more interesting menu items. It's always a good idea to inquire what is particularly pristine that evening, as well.

    Katsu remains my place for upscale sushi/sashimi and Japanese dishes. For example Bob San does not have cold noodle dishes such as my favorite way to 'fill in the cracks' Chasoba Zaru (green tea buckwheat noodles). Nor Chawan Mushi or Japanese appetizers such as grilled beef tongue, Mirareba (veal liver w/fresh garlic chives) or Mino (grilled beef tripe w/garlic sauce).

    While I give the nod, as do Mike and Ellen to Katsu sushi/sashimi wise, Bob San is damn good, and significantly better than it has to be given my impression the majority of their customers are 'more hat than cattle' when it comes to ordering more, as the little sushi menu cards with pictures you used to see around town say, "challenging" items.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - September 27th, 2005, 7:55 am
    Post #19 - September 27th, 2005, 7:55 am Post #19 - September 27th, 2005, 7:55 am
    I've proposed Bon San tonight with family. However, the sushi lover to non sushi lover ratio is 2:4. How is the kitchen food? They love fish, but refuse to eat it raw. Picky eaters, for sure.
  • Post #20 - September 27th, 2005, 9:30 am
    Post #20 - September 27th, 2005, 9:30 am Post #20 - September 27th, 2005, 9:30 am
    I think everything at Bob San is excellent -- and even underrated. Looking at their menu, I cannot identify any of the cooked larger entrees that I have had, but I believe you'll be fine. www.bob-san.com.

    On the other hand, I think Japonais is excellent too, albeit pricier. I think Japonais offers some more Americanized entrees, but I think you'll be very happy with Bob San.
  • Post #21 - September 27th, 2005, 9:53 am
    Post #21 - September 27th, 2005, 9:53 am Post #21 - September 27th, 2005, 9:53 am
    As long as the mother in law can order grilled fish...she suffers, we all suffer.
  • Post #22 - September 27th, 2005, 10:14 am
    Post #22 - September 27th, 2005, 10:14 am Post #22 - September 27th, 2005, 10:14 am
    I am particularly fond of the black cod in miso. Buttery soft and slightly sweet, it is a rich dish. You could also do a few appetizers from the kitchen and make that your meal. The shumai, like most places, are frozen so they are so-so. But the Asparagus Beef, Negi Beef and Pan Fried Scallops are pretty good.
  • Post #23 - August 26th, 2006, 9:17 am
    Post #23 - August 26th, 2006, 9:17 am Post #23 - August 26th, 2006, 9:17 am
    CrazyC wrote:I am particularly fond of the black cod in miso. Buttery soft and slightly sweet, it is a rich dish.

    C,

    Last evening was the first time I've had a cooked dish at Bob San, Black Cod in miso, and it was as you describe, buttery soft and slightly sweet. Really quite elicious.

    Black Cod w/miso
    Image

    We got there around 10pm, joint was jumping, Allan, the Itamae, quick with a smile and spot-on recommendation and the waitress seemed particularly well informed. Fish was dead-on, while I dearly love Katsu, it's nice to be able to have this level of quality available until 12:30am on the weekends.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #24 - January 3rd, 2009, 1:24 pm
    Post #24 - January 3rd, 2009, 1:24 pm Post #24 - January 3rd, 2009, 1:24 pm
    Last night at Bob San, I had the best sushi dinner I've had in at least a year. Sitting at the sushi bar with chef Allan, we shared pan fried scallops, hamachi and escolar jalapeño sashimi, a kani rainbow roll, hirame fin sashimi, and tamago. There were no standouts among the bunch, because they were all equally delicious. Pan fried scallops were pounded thin, coated, fried, and glazed with a sour citrus/soy combo balanced nicely by just a whiff of sweetness. The rainbow roll was a beautiful presentation, with fresh, creamy avocado and generous crab meat combining to form a pretty rich dish, surrounded by thin, colorful cuts of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail. Hirame fin might not be my favorite texture, but when chopped fine as Allan prepared it, and combined with siracha, scallion, and finely diced onions, the dish worked very well. Hamachi and escolar jalapeño had 8 large pieces of sublime fish cut relatively thickly. I took Mike G's excellent advice above not to eat the peppers, as their mere contact with the flesh of the fish left plenty of residual heat, offset beautifully by the ponzu-soy combination at the bottom of the bowl. Some Japanese acquaintances say that the best way to judge a Japanese chef's skill is by tasting his tamago. If that's the case, there a heck of a lot of talent in Bob San's kitchen. The texture of the tamago was much lighter than others I've had, and the sweetness - while certainly there - did not overpower the eggy-custard flavor. An excellent end to an excellent meal.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

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  • Post #25 - January 3rd, 2009, 2:13 pm
    Post #25 - January 3rd, 2009, 2:13 pm Post #25 - January 3rd, 2009, 2:13 pm
    Thanks, Kenny, for reminding me about Bob San. I've always liked Bob San, but haven't been in awhile. It's close to my dad's house, and his favorite sushi spot, so we're there when he's in the mood for sushi.

    I've consistently been wowed by the sushi, but haven't enjoyed the hot dishes I've sampled nearly as much. I'll have to try the scallops, though - - they sound great.

    Since Bob San has gone "hip," I've found it to be a bit of a strange spot. I find it to be far more low key than, let's say, Mirai or Wabi. I can walk in dressed casually on a Wednesday night and feel quite comfortable. But, at the same time, I feel like they're trying to be trendier, and not quite achieving it. It's all fine by me, though, as the sushi menu isn't also trying to be trendy. I've always enjoyed my meals there, consistently had good service, and never had to wait for a table.

    Ronna
  • Post #26 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:09 am
    Post #26 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:09 am Post #26 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:09 am
    Bob San Closing Wicker Park Sushi Spot After 15 Years

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150722 ... r-15-years
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #27 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:32 am
    Post #27 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:32 am Post #27 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:32 am
    Disappointing - Bob San never let me down. On a positive note, the sister restaurant Naniwa has always been very respectable will continue to be open.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #28 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:18 pm
    Post #28 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:18 pm Post #28 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:18 pm
    BR wrote:Disappointing - Bob San never let me down. On a positive note, the sister restaurant Naniwa has always been very respectable will continue to be open.


    Agree....and Sai Cafe.
  • Post #29 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:22 pm
    Post #29 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:22 pm Post #29 - July 23rd, 2015, 9:22 pm
    The last few times we've been, it seemed obvious something like this would happen. A pity. Really was good, and a fraction of the price of mirai for nearly the same quality. Found that out the first month I came back as it's a 5 min walk from my house to either. Went to both within wks and never saw the need to go back to Mirai and pay almost double.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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