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Sunshine Cafe

Sunshine Cafe
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  • Post #91 - July 26th, 2009, 11:01 am
    Post #91 - July 26th, 2009, 11:01 am Post #91 - July 26th, 2009, 11:01 am
    Having eaten at Anteprima on Firday night, we found ourselved back in Andersonville with friends for dinner at Sunshine Cafe on Saturday. All I can say is that if I lived closer I would be at Sunshine constantly.

    To start, we shared shumai, the lightly fried calamari legs and a nice bowl of lightly pickled vegetables. But the real action was on he main courses.

    I had the much lauded mackeral and it absolutely lived up to the hype. Just the perfect balance of fishy, oily, salty, and crispy. A fantastic, homey dish. Everyone else at the table couldn't have been happier with their main courses as well (a pork katsu and a couple of rice bowls). Service could not have been more helpful or welcoming (especially considering that we showed up at 8:45, 15 minutes before closing time). Eating here really was like eating in my non-existent Japanese relative's house.

    Several rounds of cocktails at In Fine Spirits just down the street after dinner made for an absolutely wonderful Saturday night.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #92 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:40 am
    Post #92 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:40 am Post #92 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:40 am
    I keep forgetting to try this. Every time I walk by (live a couple blocks away, and it's on the way to Jewel) I look in and it's closed, and looks like an old Sunday school room or something. Really weird looking for a restaurant, not appetizing. But I hear it's good so I guess I should try it :)
  • Post #93 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:41 am
    Post #93 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:41 am Post #93 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:41 am
    Chitown B wrote:I keep forgetting to try this.

    Talk about skimming - I read this first as "I keep trying to forget this." A sentiment for a different thread, no doubt.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #94 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:47 am
    Post #94 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:47 am Post #94 - August 3rd, 2009, 11:47 am
    Katie wrote:
    Chitown B wrote:I keep forgetting to try this.

    Talk about skimming - I read this first as "I keep trying to forget this." A sentiment for a different thread, no doubt.

    :lol:
  • Post #95 - August 3rd, 2009, 2:43 pm
    Post #95 - August 3rd, 2009, 2:43 pm Post #95 - August 3rd, 2009, 2:43 pm
    Chitown B wrote:I keep forgetting to try this. Every time I walk by (live a couple blocks away, and it's on the way to Jewel) I look in and it's closed, and looks like an old Sunday school room or something. Really weird looking for a restaurant, not appetizing. But I hear it's good so I guess I should try it :)


    Despite what it looks like on the outside, I assure you, it is much nicer on the inside. Once you step foot inside you will realize that this is a warm, welcoming, and clean family run restaurant. You will immediately get the feeling that this is a labor of love, and when you take your first bite of mackerel with shaved daikon and soy sauce you will know how much love goes into everything at Sunshine Cafe.
  • Post #96 - August 3rd, 2009, 5:45 pm
    Post #96 - August 3rd, 2009, 5:45 pm Post #96 - August 3rd, 2009, 5:45 pm
    gtomaras wrote:You will immediately get the feeling that this is a labor of love, and when you take your first bite of mackerel with shaved daikon and soy sauce you will know how much love goes into everything at Sunshine Cafe.

    Having moved to Andersonville about a month ago, Sunshine has been on my list to check out, and last night I finally got around to it - what a great place. The folks running the place were super hospitable, immediately made myself and my dining companion feel at home, and most importantly - dished out some great food.

    The mackerel you mention was my main course - with a bit of the grated daikon and a squeeze of lemon juice, it was just perfect. It looked like it had been done skin side up under the broiler and had a great contrast between the crispy skin and the juicy, slightly oily (in a good mackerel way) meat underneath. Our appetizer of chilled tofu with bonito flakes, grated ginger, sliced scallions and a touch of soy sauce was well-received and perfect for a hot summer day. The only disappointment was the less than piping hot veggie tempura served with my companion's soba noodles.

    It's no wonder that Sunshine is a GNR and I'm definitely glad it's in my neighborhood.

    -Dan
  • Post #97 - August 3rd, 2009, 9:32 pm
    Post #97 - August 3rd, 2009, 9:32 pm Post #97 - August 3rd, 2009, 9:32 pm
    funny . . . one poster's "weird" is my selling point! by that I mean that for the last ten years I have described Sunshine Cafe thusly, "It's like eating in a Japanese Grandma's living room, the decor is kind of old and fusty but it doesn't matter because the food is so satisfying."

    My 22 year-old niece was here last month and she works in a trendy Japanese place in Boulder, CO and she really wanted to go to some fusion/fancy new Japanese place in River North or off of Randolph, the name totally escapes me. It just wasn't in the cards with me being cash-strapped and with two kids under 7 in tow, so as a Plan B, I took her to Sunshine. I kept quiet (held back my own opinions which are hyper positive since this is my very favorite neighborhood restaurant in Andersonville) and we went for supper. She was making that weird pinch face of uncertainty when we walked in--until she saw the menu (including the "specials" which tend to actually be pretty much all the time) and then the food came. We had cold soba, Chicken Udon, gomae, the pan fried calamari, Gobo, some gyoza and house made pickles. She slurped, she lapped up everything like a hungry cat, she whipped out her camera to put pics on her facebook page. She was giddy and sated and inspired when we left. A few days later, as we hugged goodbye at Midway, I asked, "What was the most amazing thing you ate this time in Chicago?" (Last year, I think it was the Mo's Bacon Bar from Vosges Chocolate.) And she said without missing a beat, "Oh, Aunt Bonnie, the Gobo at Sunshine."

    There you have it.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #98 - August 7th, 2009, 11:34 am
    Post #98 - August 7th, 2009, 11:34 am Post #98 - August 7th, 2009, 11:34 am
    Hi all --

    Anyone happen to know if Sunshine Cafe is on vacation? Can't raise anyone by phone.

    Thanks!
  • Post #99 - August 7th, 2009, 11:46 am
    Post #99 - August 7th, 2009, 11:46 am Post #99 - August 7th, 2009, 11:46 am
    I had dinner there last weekend and they were open for business. I think that they don't open until 4pm, so perhaps you just need to try later in the day?

    -Dan
  • Post #100 - August 7th, 2009, 12:30 pm
    Post #100 - August 7th, 2009, 12:30 pm Post #100 - August 7th, 2009, 12:30 pm
    So there's hope yet!
  • Post #101 - August 7th, 2009, 12:44 pm
    Post #101 - August 7th, 2009, 12:44 pm Post #101 - August 7th, 2009, 12:44 pm
    I ate there this week. It's open.
  • Post #102 - August 7th, 2009, 1:05 pm
    Post #102 - August 7th, 2009, 1:05 pm Post #102 - August 7th, 2009, 1:05 pm
    And sure enough ... just spoke with the owner who confirms a 4pm open. So thanks everyone! LTH comes through again.
  • Post #103 - August 15th, 2009, 7:55 am
    Post #103 - August 15th, 2009, 7:55 am Post #103 - August 15th, 2009, 7:55 am
    G.F. and I picked up a nice bottle of sake and went over to Sunshine last night. We started off with the grilled eggplant special. It is offered with a miso sauce or ginger that you mix with soy sauce. We much prefered the bright simplicity of the ginger. We also had the chilled tofu app. It is served with bonito flakes fresh ginger and scallions that you mix with soy.

    We decided to stick to fish. G.F. had the mackerel. I would post a pic but there are better pictures of this further up thread. We love the oily fishiness of this. It is one of my favorite fish dishes in the city.

    I had the grilled trout special. It was offered with miso, teriyaki, or shioyaki. I like my fresh fish simple and chose the shioyaki and I didn't regret it at all.
    Image
    The fish was light and flaky, wonderfully moist and fresh. The charred skin added just enough fishiness. My only complaint is that they don't served the head. I asked but I was told it is in the trash.

    A wonderful meal.
  • Post #104 - August 27th, 2009, 7:22 pm
    Post #104 - August 27th, 2009, 7:22 pm Post #104 - August 27th, 2009, 7:22 pm
    I've been told that Sunshine Cafe is now open at noon on Sundays. There is a strong possibility that they may return to their original hours of noon to 9, Tuesday-Sunday. If/when I find out more, I'll post it here.
  • Post #105 - August 27th, 2009, 7:39 pm
    Post #105 - August 27th, 2009, 7:39 pm Post #105 - August 27th, 2009, 7:39 pm
    jaybo wrote:I've been told that Sunshine Cafe is now open at noon on Sundays.

    Yep, great news, Sunshine is now open noon on Sundays and they are seriously considering opening for lunch in the near future.

    Sunshine Cafe
    5449 N. Clark Street
    773-334-6214
    Chicago, IL
    Closed Mondays
    Sunday Noon - 9pm
    Tues - Sat 4pm to 9pm
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #106 - August 27th, 2009, 8:20 pm
    Post #106 - August 27th, 2009, 8:20 pm Post #106 - August 27th, 2009, 8:20 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    jaybo wrote:I've been told that Sunshine Cafe is now open at noon on Sundays.

    Yep, great news, Sunshine is now open noon on Sundays and they are seriously considering opening for lunch in the near future.

    Sunshine Cafe
    5449 N. Clark Street
    773-334-6214
    Chicago, IL
    Closed Mondays
    Sunday Noon - 9pm
    Tues - Sat 4pm to 9pm

    That is great news . . . I can't tell you how many times I ended up at Tank Noodle (which I do like quite a bit) on a Sunday afternoon, but really wishing I was at Sunshine. Thank you for the update.
  • Post #107 - August 29th, 2009, 3:24 pm
    Post #107 - August 29th, 2009, 3:24 pm Post #107 - August 29th, 2009, 3:24 pm
    Not to mention this time of year hot Japanese comfort-food does the trick!
    "Yum"
    -- Everyone

    www.chicagofoodies.com
  • Post #108 - January 21st, 2010, 10:14 am
    Post #108 - January 21st, 2010, 10:14 am Post #108 - January 21st, 2010, 10:14 am
    Stopped by last night, evcerything was as expected and well documented above, just wanted to mention the enjoyable fried smelt offered as a special, just like little "fish sticks", i could have eaten 50. Also worth noting the service was incredibly warm.
  • Post #109 - January 21st, 2010, 10:25 am
    Post #109 - January 21st, 2010, 10:25 am Post #109 - January 21st, 2010, 10:25 am
    My wife and I had a nice dinner there last week as well. I agree that the service is incredibly warm and inviting. We split a grilled eggplant appetizer and two entrees, the details of which escape me at the moment. One was an udon soup with pork that was really flavorful. The other was a pork special that was fine, but nothing special (no pun intended.)
  • Post #110 - January 21st, 2010, 2:14 pm
    Post #110 - January 21st, 2010, 2:14 pm Post #110 - January 21st, 2010, 2:14 pm
    I just can't say enough about this place. The service is always EXTRA friendly, especially now that we are somewhat regular customers. BYOB. Excellent tempura. Can't get enough of the gyoza and the shumai. You must try the inari zushi and dip it in the gyoza sauce!
    Yummy miso soup. Great value.

    love love love :lol:
  • Post #111 - June 21st, 2010, 11:07 am
    Post #111 - June 21st, 2010, 11:07 am Post #111 - June 21st, 2010, 11:07 am
    Returned from vacation last Tuesday to an empty refrigerator and no desire to cook. A quick trip up to Sunshine satisified two hungry travelers. Mr. X had the katsu-don, I had the rainbow trout special, miso-style. My minor annoyance with the bones in the fish were out-weighed by the excellent preparation. It was a nice welcome home dinner to ourselves!
    -Mary
  • Post #112 - February 4th, 2011, 9:50 am
    Post #112 - February 4th, 2011, 9:50 am Post #112 - February 4th, 2011, 9:50 am
    LTH,

    Not a lot of action in the Sunshine Cafe thread, one of those places that seem to be part of the LTHForum DNA, or at least this LTHers DNA. Hadn't been in a few months, simple goodness of salt grilled mackerel, musubi w/ume and a share bowl of udon between four brought a satisfied smile.

    Salt grilled mackerel

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #113 - February 4th, 2011, 10:28 am
    Post #113 - February 4th, 2011, 10:28 am Post #113 - February 4th, 2011, 10:28 am
    Sunshine Cafe is a regular in our rotation. It is always warming to the soul and the stomach to dine there. Katsu Don for Mr. X, vegetable soba or mackerel for me. We don't vary much in our ordering. I'm glad I live so close.
    -Mary
  • Post #114 - March 6th, 2011, 6:57 pm
    Post #114 - March 6th, 2011, 6:57 pm Post #114 - March 6th, 2011, 6:57 pm
    I got cravings for some homestyle Japanese food Saturday night.

    Great as always.

    Had the trout, pictured above, miso style. Entire fish - $13. DELICIOUS

    Wifey had Chicken Katsu Don.

    Contemplated going back again tonight....
  • Post #115 - March 6th, 2011, 8:26 pm
    Post #115 - March 6th, 2011, 8:26 pm Post #115 - March 6th, 2011, 8:26 pm
    Went there two weeks ago. Per this board's recommendations, I tried the Mackerel and thought it was awesome. We also shared some pickled vegetables and I think some carrot/radish dish. Both were decent if not exciting appetizers.

    But boy, you guys weren't kidding about the service and the atmosphere. Felt like I was home with my grandma or something.
  • Post #116 - March 28th, 2011, 7:56 am
    Post #116 - March 28th, 2011, 7:56 am Post #116 - March 28th, 2011, 7:56 am
    We had a great dinner at Sunshine Cafe this Saturday. LTH has never failed me, not even once :)

    Started with seaweed salad. Then mains were a beef curry with breaded pork on top, the famous mackerel and chicken teriyaki bowl for the little one. She had her very first soup (the Miso and she loved it. I think Miso is a great first soup for a stubborn non-soup eater. She still talks about it. Everything was so delicious, I am still dreaming about that Mackerel. Definitely the tastiest fish I had in US.
    At around 6:30pm, the place was packed with families. Great atmosphere, very friendly service. We will definitely be back and bring others with us.
  • Post #117 - May 1st, 2011, 6:03 pm
    Post #117 - May 1st, 2011, 6:03 pm Post #117 - May 1st, 2011, 6:03 pm
    With me a bit under the weather, I was craving soup. Off we went to Sunshine on a warm spring Saturday evening. There was one open table when we arrived so we were seated right away. A mix of families, friends and couples filled the place and there were plenty of take-out orders. I satisfied my need for healing soup with the Vegetable Soba (a crazy variation from the Vegetable Udon I usually get ;-) ) and Mr. X had his beloved Katsu Don. The one bite he offered was delicious and I knew not to risk taking more. Sunshine Cafe hit the spot again.

    I'm curious if anyone knows what the shaker of spice(s) that is brought the soba or udon dishes? It adds a touch of heat, but I'm wondering what else it might be.
    -Mary
  • Post #118 - May 1st, 2011, 6:19 pm
    Post #118 - May 1st, 2011, 6:19 pm Post #118 - May 1st, 2011, 6:19 pm
    The GP wrote:
    I'm curious if anyone knows what the shaker of spice(s) that is brought the soba or udon dishes? It adds a touch of heat, but I'm wondering what else it might be.


    The shaker is usually shichimi togarashi, or seven flavor pepper. It's made up of pepper, sesame seeds, lemon or orange peel and some other things
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shichimi
  • Post #119 - May 2nd, 2011, 7:58 am
    Post #119 - May 2nd, 2011, 7:58 am Post #119 - May 2nd, 2011, 7:58 am
    Sharona wrote:The shaker is usually shichimi togarashi, or seven flavor pepper. It's made up of pepper, sesame seeds, lemon or orange peel and some other things
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shichimi

    Thanks, Sharona! I was a little concerned there was MSG in that shaker as I got a killer headache later. However, I can't positively say the headache wasn't from the cold that I was trying to cure with the soba.
    -Mary
  • Post #120 - June 25th, 2011, 12:30 pm
    Post #120 - June 25th, 2011, 12:30 pm Post #120 - June 25th, 2011, 12:30 pm
    I had a delicious diner last night at Sunshine Café. This was the Chow Poodle's first visit, and my first visit in at least six months. The place continues on as it always has; a friendly, homey, no-frills bastion of simply cooked, but delicious homestyle Japanese food. We started off with some grilled eggplant served with a miso glaze. This was a deceptively simple preparation that was hard to stop eating. We accompanied that with some goma-ae, one of the better versions in town. For mains, I had the excellent katsu don and the Poodle had salt grilled salmon. Both dishes delivered simple, fresh flavors in spades.

    In all the years this place has been open, and even after the period of time when they were closed, it has remained true to its spirit as a welcoming place catering to multi-generational and multi-ethnic customers. If you haven't been there lately, you owe it to yourself to return soon.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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