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Sunshine Cafe

Sunshine Cafe
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  • Post #61 - July 2nd, 2007, 2:55 pm
    Post #61 - July 2nd, 2007, 2:55 pm Post #61 - July 2nd, 2007, 2:55 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:Just a quick note to encourage one and all to visit. We were there on Friday, as anticipated. We ate between about 6 and 7 and were surprised, and a little disappointed, that there weren't more people there. By the time we left, the place was somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 full. Of course, just about every table that came in had fond greetings and "welcome backs" to give, which was kinda heart-warming. Otherwise, everything is pretty much back to normal. Dinner, as always, a pleasure. So, if you hadn't realized that Sunshine is back or if you've been dawdling, consider this post your wake-up call.


    We were also there during this time. I am now racking my brain to recall the visages of our fellow diners :D

    I had the mackerel, which has the twofold benefit of being A) delicious, and B) something my husband absolutely will not touch. So I had it all to myself, with no worries about dodging his (very deft) chopsticks. He had the katsu don, which was pronounced "Just OK" though after tasting it myself, I was led to wonder if his tastebuds were feeling all right. It was just wonderful, and precisely what I would hope to get if I ordered the dish.
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
  • Post #62 - July 27th, 2007, 8:45 am
    Post #62 - July 27th, 2007, 8:45 am Post #62 - July 27th, 2007, 8:45 am
    I went to Sunshine Cafe for lunch yesterday only to find them closed. I know that they used to close on Monday, has this changed to Wednesday?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #63 - July 27th, 2007, 8:47 am
    Post #63 - July 27th, 2007, 8:47 am Post #63 - July 27th, 2007, 8:47 am
    Are we sure they're open for lunch these days at all? I went by one day and they were closed in the middle of the day then, too.
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  • Post #64 - July 27th, 2007, 8:53 am
    Post #64 - July 27th, 2007, 8:53 am Post #64 - July 27th, 2007, 8:53 am
    Open every day except Monday, and dinner only, if I recall correctly. I think they open at 4:30 or something like that.
  • Post #65 - August 16th, 2007, 8:30 pm
    Post #65 - August 16th, 2007, 8:30 pm Post #65 - August 16th, 2007, 8:30 pm
    I am so glad that the Sunshine Cafe finally opened! I'll be making a trip very soon.
  • Post #66 - August 31st, 2007, 2:17 pm
    Post #66 - August 31st, 2007, 2:17 pm Post #66 - August 31st, 2007, 2:17 pm
    Sunshine Cafe Update -
    Mr. Kezza and I have been going back every couple weeks since they reopened, and last Wednesday when I picked up carry out I learned that the tempura dishes are back on the full menu (so I can get my beloved ten zaru soba again!). A tempura dinner had been a "special" when we went two weeks ago. I'm hoping the unagi special will return soon. Seems like they are gradually rolling out the full menu, and overheard conversations with the staff make it sound like they will attempt to ease into their old hours, too.
  • Post #67 - August 31st, 2007, 3:35 pm
    Post #67 - August 31st, 2007, 3:35 pm Post #67 - August 31st, 2007, 3:35 pm
    kezza wrote:Sunshine Cafe Update -
    Mr. Kezza and I have been going back every couple weeks since they reopened, and last Wednesday when I picked up carry out I learned that the tempura dishes are back on the full menu (so I can get my beloved ten zaru soba again!). A tempura dinner had been a "special" when we went two weeks ago. I'm hoping the unagi special will return soon. Seems like they are gradually rolling out the full menu, and overheard conversations with the staff make it sound like they will attempt to ease into their old hours, too.


    That is EXCELLENT news.
  • Post #68 - October 24th, 2007, 5:28 pm
    Post #68 - October 24th, 2007, 5:28 pm Post #68 - October 24th, 2007, 5:28 pm
    LTH,

    Finally made it to the reopened Sunshine Cafe, no Toto Washlet, but I was happy as a clam at high tide to see everything remained the same, including the terrific mackerel. My wife and I split a few starters, house made cabbage pickle, gomaae, pickled daikon and, of particular note, kinpira gobo, crisp julienne of gobo (burdock root), carrot dressed with soy, mirin and a bit of sesame oil.

    As mentioned crisp skinned mackerel hit the spot and my bride very much enjoyed her sukiyaki. We also had a great conversation with Paul Oda who knows any number of the same people as my wife from the 'old neighborhood.'

    Paul Oda (L) Joni Ishida (R)
    Image

    I am very happy Sunshine Cafe has reopened, but the two of us being the only customers from 7:30 until close on a Tuesday night gives me pause.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Sunshine Cafe
    5449 N. Clark Street
    Chicago, IL
    773-334-6214
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #69 - October 24th, 2007, 9:07 pm
    Post #69 - October 24th, 2007, 9:07 pm Post #69 - October 24th, 2007, 9:07 pm
    It was completely full with a wait on Sunday, so I am thinking it was just a slow night. We've been once a week the last five weeks or so and it's always been looking lively. They also get a lot of super early bird elderly Japanese diners who get there right when they open the doors at 4 pm, so maybe they had already skedaddled when you were there.

    As far as food goes, if they offer the squid appetizer, which was ever so lightly (just barely!) battered and fried, get it. They have got the magic touch going there. And the trout special in miso sauce is also delicate and tender and lovely.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #70 - October 26th, 2007, 9:51 am
    Post #70 - October 26th, 2007, 9:51 am Post #70 - October 26th, 2007, 9:51 am
    I just tried calling Sunshine to see if they are open for lunch, hoping they would have a message with their hours, but they do not. Does anyone know if they have they started serving lunch again? Thanks.
  • Post #71 - October 26th, 2007, 10:37 am
    Post #71 - October 26th, 2007, 10:37 am Post #71 - October 26th, 2007, 10:37 am
    schenked wrote: Does anyone know if they have they started serving lunch again? Thanks.

    They have not and more than likely won't until after the new year.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #72 - October 28th, 2007, 8:02 pm
    Post #72 - October 28th, 2007, 8:02 pm Post #72 - October 28th, 2007, 8:02 pm
    Went to Sunshine Cafe tonight for a comforting, homey dinner.
    Special squid appetizer was light and tender, goma-ae was perfectly steamed, with their excellent, thin sesame sauce. Tsukemono was pickly perfection

    Hubby had katsu-don, I had oyako-don, and will be having large amounts of leftovers tomorrow for lunch. $29 for a silly amount of stupendously delicious food and incredibly friendly service. On a Sunday evening, the place was a great mix of neighborhood regulars who the owner knew by name, as well as several multi-generational families of Asians enjoying family dinners.

    As the weather turns colder, we'll be there more and more. Hubby remarked on the way out that we could easily eat there once a week, even on our modest budget--we hope one day we'll have visited enough to be greeted as regulars!
  • Post #73 - October 29th, 2007, 9:27 am
    Post #73 - October 29th, 2007, 9:27 am Post #73 - October 29th, 2007, 9:27 am
    Does someone know the opening hours?

    We tried to go there on Friday night (a little late after an early movie) and it was closed.

    A little surprising that they would be closed that early on a Friday night.

    Maybe next time...
  • Post #74 - October 29th, 2007, 10:19 am
    Post #74 - October 29th, 2007, 10:19 am Post #74 - October 29th, 2007, 10:19 am
    I believe the hours are 4-9, closed on Mondays.
  • Post #75 - October 30th, 2007, 9:23 pm
    Post #75 - October 30th, 2007, 9:23 pm Post #75 - October 30th, 2007, 9:23 pm
    G Wiv wrote:I am very happy Sunshine Cafe has reopened, but the two of us being the only customers from 7:30 until close on a Tuesday night gives me pause.

    No worries! I was there tonight (also Tuesday) and by the time I left (7:50) there were people actually waiting for a table.

    And of course, Sunshine was spot on. It always is. For starters, I can never get enough of that green tea. My friends and I then moved on to appetizers, my favorite was the Hiya Yakko, which is the chilled tofu pictured in one of G Wiv's photos. Always so refreshing, with a perfect combination of flavors, and the texture of the tofu is so light and wonderful.

    For my main course, I loved the Ten-Zaru Soba -- soba noodles w/ seaweed, scallions, wasabi and dipping sauce, and served with the most perfect shrimp and vegetable tempura. If you're one of those people that won't order tempura because there's always too much batter or the shrimp is overcooked or the batter is just too greasy, go to Sunshine Cafe. The tempura is absolutely perfect . . . I mean perfect!.

    But my friend who ordered the teriyaki salmon hardly cared about my noodles or tempura. Yes, the salmon was delicious, buttery and yet crisp on the surfaces. Oh, and it's under $10. I managed to snag a bite . . . had I tried for a second taste, I would have been met with snarls and teeth. I knew better. My other friend ordered the sukiyaki which is always excellent.

    So anyway, there is a side of me (and only one side of me) that's looking forward to the bitter cold of Chicago's winter . . . and that's the side of me that looks forward to some of the best stick-to-your ribs comfort food in Chicago.
  • Post #76 - December 2nd, 2007, 3:39 pm
    Post #76 - December 2nd, 2007, 3:39 pm Post #76 - December 2nd, 2007, 3:39 pm
    Well, winter is practically here and I can't think of a better way to herald in December than at Sunshine Cafe.

    Cookie and I recently had dinner there for the first time since their re-opening. The highlight of the meal was an evening special of rainbow trout shioyaki (salted and broiled), served whole-fish, sans head, with lemon and grated white daikon. It was a delicious, warming meal.

    Sunshine Cafe is really one of the best examples of a "home cooking" restaurant, of any cultural origin.

    We capped the meal with a walk down to Pasticceria Natalina for a delicious slice of ricotta cake and a chocolate cream puff to take home for dessert.

    Shioyaki and Sicilian pastry on Clark St. is one of the best 1-2 punches in town.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #77 - February 25th, 2008, 12:26 pm
    Post #77 - February 25th, 2008, 12:26 pm Post #77 - February 25th, 2008, 12:26 pm
    Tried to go here for dinner last night. Walked in and there was one man who glanced at me as he was taking an order. He then walked to another table and started chatting with the customers. I stood for a couple minutes and then a woman came out saw me standing there, looked at the man then turned around and walked back into the kitchen. Neither made any attempt to greet me, ask me to seat myself, or wait.

    Maybe I was a little passive agressive but is it so hard to acknowledge a customers presence when they walk in? I don't need a full blown Irasshaimase!, but I got the distinct impresion that they could care less if I ate or not so I left.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #78 - February 25th, 2008, 2:22 pm
    Post #78 - February 25th, 2008, 2:22 pm Post #78 - February 25th, 2008, 2:22 pm
    I haven't been in since they reopened, but I've never had or heard of an experience remotely like that. I know the feeling; I've had it happen in other places (Trullo in Lincoln Sq. for one), but find it almost unimaginable in the Sunshine I've been going to all these years. Hope it was just some complete aberration.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #79 - February 25th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    Post #79 - February 25th, 2008, 4:33 pm Post #79 - February 25th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    Octerine,

    I've been to Sunshine several times since they reopened and have not experienced anything like what you describe. Service has always been welcoming and friendly. Let's just hope it's a one-off experience.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #80 - February 25th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    Post #80 - February 25th, 2008, 5:03 pm Post #80 - February 25th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    We, too, have never had the same experience. Even so, there's nothing more annoying than to have something like this happen and then have everyone chime in, "Never happened to us!"

    I can see it happening, frankly, if Paul (the "regular" server who was likely there) thought you were regulars. A large percentage of the business there, I suspect, are regulars or, like us, semi-regulars. And as such, they're used to coming in, finding a table and setting themselves up a little bit. Paul may have been busy and mistaken you for regulars. It's off-putting to be ignored like that, no matter the explanation, and I really do sympathize. The fact that it's so much a neighborhood restaurant cuts both ways sometimes. The fact that none of us posting here have had it happen isn't to gainsay the effect of it happening to you.

    All that said, I hope you'll give them another chance. There's probably no way any of us will ever know the reason for what happened, but the folks (Paul too) there are pretty friendly and the food is definitely worth the visit. Nothing fancy but then, by now, you probably know what to expect.

    Good luck!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #81 - February 25th, 2008, 5:06 pm
    Post #81 - February 25th, 2008, 5:06 pm Post #81 - February 25th, 2008, 5:06 pm
    Octarine wrote:I don't need a full blown Irasshaimase!, but I got the distinct impresion that they could care less if I ate or not so I left.

    Link ;)
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #82 - February 25th, 2008, 7:01 pm
    Post #82 - February 25th, 2008, 7:01 pm Post #82 - February 25th, 2008, 7:01 pm
    Dear Octarine,
    From your <i>"re-enactment"</i> this could be the beginning of a <b>Monty Python</b> skit- or if not, certainly a Second City bit....

    I've noticed a bit of the main waiters (Paul- I'm assuming) ambivilance, or "casualness" in how certain individuals,and/or "groups" are handled/greeted/or lack thereof. I chalk it up to "small-Family Run Syndrome" restaurants..

    But- I'll tell ya- this is <b>nothing</b> compared to the <b>disservice</b> that one gets walking into Pattys Diner in Skokie on any given Sunday.
  • Post #83 - February 25th, 2008, 9:02 pm
    Post #83 - February 25th, 2008, 9:02 pm Post #83 - February 25th, 2008, 9:02 pm
    Hombre de Acero wrote:But- I'll tell ya- this is <b>nothing</b> compared to the <b>disservice</b> that one gets walking into Pattys Diner in Skokie on any given Sunday.


    I had a delicious breakfast this Sunday at Patty's. There was no hostility in evidence anywhere in the restaurant. Service was friendly, if not gushing. Love the donut hole amuse bouche. Corned beef hash was awesome, as usual.
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #84 - March 2nd, 2008, 8:22 pm
    Post #84 - March 2nd, 2008, 8:22 pm Post #84 - March 2nd, 2008, 8:22 pm
    Just got back from Sunshine Cafe - a decision based entirely on the great reviews here. I wish I had known about this place before! It was bustling for a Sunday night - so much so that they were out of several items on their menu.

    What we did have was great. My girlfriend and I shared gyoza - maybe homemade but I'm not sure - very tasty. She had the beef teri-don since they were out of katsu-don. I had the sukiyaki which was as good as any I've had anywhere - very tasty broth, very comforting all around. The portion may not be as big as at Tokyo Marina, but it was just the right amount of food.

    It's such a quiant little place - the Japanese equivalent of a diner or some other "joint." No pretense, no snobbery, just good home-cooked food. We'll definitely make a return trip.

    I'll also agree with the poster who favorably compared Sunshine with Renga-Tei. It's also a very good, very friendly and authentic-feeling restaurant but does have a little more upscape feel over Sunshine.
  • Post #85 - September 3rd, 2008, 12:31 am
    Post #85 - September 3rd, 2008, 12:31 am Post #85 - September 3rd, 2008, 12:31 am
    LTH,

    Special of salt grilled yellowtail collar had me kicking myself for letting months go past without a visit to Sunshine Cafe.

    Salt Grilled Yellowtail Collar

    Image

    Joint was jumping, Paul kept all the plates spinning with ease and owner Joni Ishida was in residence looking spry and healthy.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #86 - November 10th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    Post #86 - November 10th, 2008, 12:53 pm Post #86 - November 10th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    Sunshine Cafe was the perfect answer to a cold, blustery November evening. We split an order of the california maki. Mr. X had the delectable katsu-don. I was lucky he shared a bite with me. Venturing from my usual soba order, I tried the sukiyaki. I was not enamored with the sweetness of the broth, but it was a warm and comforting dish nonetheless. Service was friendly and efficient. After stuffing ourselves at Sunshine, it seemed appropriate to waddle down the block to Pasticceria Natalina for a bite of dessert.
    -Mary
  • Post #87 - January 30th, 2009, 9:05 pm
    Post #87 - January 30th, 2009, 9:05 pm Post #87 - January 30th, 2009, 9:05 pm
    After last night's expensively disappointing fancy French meal full of flavorless cream sauces, I was in desperate need of simple, reasonably priced, healthy comfort food today. Sunshine came to mind instantly, and I spent most of the day excitedly anticipating homey deliciousness. The reality easily matched the anticipation. Simple grilled eggplant served with nothing but finely grated ginger and soy sauce was a perfect start. Satisfyingly chewy udon in a hot, flavorful broth with juicy pork and vegetables cooked just right really hit the spot. It may not have been as complex as the udon I had recently at UrbanBelly, but somehow it was just as satisfying. Chilean sea bass was broiled to crisp up the skin beautifully while keeping the flesh sweet and succulent, enhanced by a tasty, sweet and gingery miso glaze. This gorgeous feast for two was served by the friendliest possible waitress who spoke perfect English, sharing the workload with a much older, charming woman who spoke practically none. When I eat a terrific meal like this in such a warm setting - and it costs literally 1/8 of what I spent last night - I question why my judgment is often so much worse.

    And to echo GP's sentiment above - is there a better one-two punch of charming, warm, family run places across the street from each other than Sunshine and Natalina? Udon at Sunshine followed by a ricotta-filled pastry at Natalina made for one hell of a dinner crawl this evening. The kind of stuff that makes me simultaneously glad to live in an urban melting pot of wonderful choices, and unwilling – almost angrily so – to settle for anything less.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #88 - January 31st, 2009, 9:37 am
    Post #88 - January 31st, 2009, 9:37 am Post #88 - January 31st, 2009, 9:37 am
    Kennyz wrote:And to echo GP's sentiment above - is there a better one-two punch of charming, warm, family run places across the street from each other than Sunshine and Natalina?


    God no. Whenever I'm down, that's the one-two punch that makes me feel happy again. This gives me an idea for a "great one-two punches" thread. A drink at The Violet Hour and dinner at mado immediately comes to mind.
  • Post #89 - January 31st, 2009, 10:09 am
    Post #89 - January 31st, 2009, 10:09 am Post #89 - January 31st, 2009, 10:09 am
    I"m with you. Al's/Fontano's braced by Mario's
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #90 - January 31st, 2009, 10:18 am
    Post #90 - January 31st, 2009, 10:18 am Post #90 - January 31st, 2009, 10:18 am
    Jazzfood wrote:I"m with you. Al's/Fontano's braced by Mario's


    One-two punches thread is now here

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