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  Matsumoto GNR - Japanese [CLOSED]
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  • Matsumoto GNR - Japanese [CLOSED]

    Post #1 - December 11th, 2005, 1:36 pm
    Post #1 - December 11th, 2005, 1:36 pm Post #1 - December 11th, 2005, 1:36 pm
    Image
    Certificate as awarded to Matsumoto following this nomination.

    In a year which began innocently by attending a raccoon dinner in Wisconsin, whose gift of a quart jar of ‘coon to enjoy later morphed into a roadkill course at Moto. There has been a lot of magic generated by participating in the LTHforum.com community.

    There is a bit of persistence behind the serendipity discovery of interesting food. An evening, which began with the thought of dining on Ramen noodles was diverted when one place closed early and another never opened on Mondays. A spur of the moment inclusion of another friend introduced the idea of going to Chicago Kalbi for Japanese-style Korean BBQ. Chiyo, the wonderful hostess-owner at Chicago Kalbi, offered her time to explain everything we ever wanted to know about Korean food, which nobody else was ever ready to do. If the evening had closed on this note alone, my party would have been physically very satisfied and intellectually fulfilled.

    Yet the conversation took a turn, which brought unexpected richness to our lives, when the topic returned to our original quest of Japanese Ramen noodles. While naturally Chiyo’s Japanese-Chef husband makes the best Ramen, knowing sometimes one wants to go out and let someone else do the cooking I inquired, “Where do you go for Japanese food?” Not missing a beat for the home team, Chiyo advised, “I go to our just opened Japanese restaurant Matsumoto down the street.”

    At the tail end of a 2-3 hour conversation, I suggest we could have easily left not knowing of Matsumoto if we hadn’t asked that question. We really didn’t get the sense of the situation until we walked over to Matsumoto to collect a take-out menu when immediately confronted by the unexpected, “We have no take out menu. We have a 10-course meal from $85 to $150 and a tasting menu for $45. We create a new menu for each occasion,” as she pointed to some scrolls. We quickly learned this 8-day old restaurant featuring only Kaiseki dinners was a unique offering for the Chicago market, though Chiyo expected a Japanese-only interest and clientele.

    Matsumoto’s narrowly focused marketing plan was blown out of the water by the response by LTHforum and the food media:

    Matsumoto - Chicago's only All-Kaiseki Japanese restaurant

    JeffB was there with clients the very next day followed shortly by Erik M. Mike G, CrazyC, GAF and I were there the following week:

    The Unrequited Quest of the Impossible Restaurant: Matsumoto

    While Matsumoto was destined to be a great Chicago find. I am especially proud of LTHforum.com’s early influence to alert Matsumote a Kaiseki dinner had a broader audience than the Japanese market. I nominate Matsumoto as a Great Neighborhood Restaurant as well as one of our family jewels.

    Matsumoto Restaurant
    3800 West Lawrence Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60625
    Tel: 773/267-1555
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #2 - December 11th, 2005, 5:26 pm
    Post #2 - December 11th, 2005, 5:26 pm Post #2 - December 11th, 2005, 5:26 pm
    I wondered if anyone would suggest Matsumoto, which truly is a remarkable restaurant for the neighborhood it's in (not that it wouldn't be a remarkable restaurant in any neighborhood, but it would seem slightly less astonishing to run across in, say, River North).

    Needless to say, considering the length at which I waxed philosophic about it, I couldn't agree more with its nomination.
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  • Post #3 - December 12th, 2005, 8:06 am
    Post #3 - December 12th, 2005, 8:06 am Post #3 - December 12th, 2005, 8:06 am
    After seeing a ton of great reviews about this place, I have finally made time for reservations at matsumoto. This will be the only restaurant review I conduct in full detail as a chef, as I dont believe in competition. I look at a place like matsumoto and wonder in awe how a restaurant with absolutely no PR backing, no deep pocket investors, and pure word of mouth can exist in a capacity of high elegance and grace. That is the purity of this place in my opinion. I have no connection to matsumoto other than what I have seen here. It is a bit disturbing to see a place with such guts and determination serving a mere 4 to 10 people a night, and sometimes no clients at all. So I will make it my personal mission to see matsumoto serve the number of diners they wish. Chicago has more tasting menu restaurants than any other city in the world, matsumoto in my opinion is the most sincere form and will become a national gastronomic destination.

    My reservation will be for tonight 12/12 at 5pm.
    I will be posting my review with pics on 11 different food blog sites like this one.
    You have never seen anything like this before
    http://www.ingrestaurant.com
    http://www.motorestaurant.com
  • Post #4 - December 13th, 2005, 9:07 pm
    Post #4 - December 13th, 2005, 9:07 pm Post #4 - December 13th, 2005, 9:07 pm
    Cathy,

    Only had the pleasure of dining at Matsumoto once, but I'd most certainly agree, it's a terrific choice for an LTHForum.com GNR.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - December 13th, 2005, 11:29 pm
    Post #5 - December 13th, 2005, 11:29 pm Post #5 - December 13th, 2005, 11:29 pm
    I concur. My meal at Matsumoto was one of the most extraordinary meals of a rather extraordinary year of eating.

    And, as much as I hate to disagree with Chef Cantu, there are NO other boards like this one, just as there are no other restaurants like Moto (or, since I'm commenting on this thread, like Matsumoto)!
  • Post #6 - December 13th, 2005, 11:50 pm
    Post #6 - December 13th, 2005, 11:50 pm Post #6 - December 13th, 2005, 11:50 pm
    GAF wrote:My meal at Matsumoto was one of the most extraordinary meals of a rather extraordinary year of eating.



    Although I'm quite sure that my year hasn't had the culinary highs of Gary's, my shining star meals of the year have been, without question, at Matsumoto. In my opinion, there are no other restaurants suggested for nomination that warrant recognition more than Matsumoto does (Johnnie's included!).

    As far as I'm concerned, Matsumoto would be considered a gem anywhere. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have it here in Chicago.

    I would be honored to second the nomination.

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