LTH Home

Matsumoto R.I.P.?

Matsumoto R.I.P.?
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Matsumoto R.I.P.?

    Post #1 - January 16th, 2006, 8:17 pm
    Post #1 - January 16th, 2006, 8:17 pm Post #1 - January 16th, 2006, 8:17 pm
    Tonight, while having dinner at Katsu, Katsu himself told me that Matsumoto had closed within the past week or so. He said that there was a severe lack of business, although on some nights the place was booked to the max. Unfortunately, those nights were few and far between and the place was frequently empty. When I asked him why he thought that Matsumoto failed, he said that he thought their laser focus on all-kaiseki dinners without any ala carte options (along with a rather impatient investor) was their undoing.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #2 - January 16th, 2006, 9:07 pm
    Post #2 - January 16th, 2006, 9:07 pm Post #2 - January 16th, 2006, 9:07 pm
    Wow, I hope this isn't true! My girlfriend was planning on taking me for my birthday in a few weeks. :cry:
  • Post #3 - January 16th, 2006, 10:25 pm
    Post #3 - January 16th, 2006, 10:25 pm Post #3 - January 16th, 2006, 10:25 pm
    That would truly be a significant loss to the dining scene in Chicago and I devoutly hope that the story is (a) more complicated and (b) not quite true somehow. Let's hope that, if this is indeed correct, some way out can be found. I would hate to see this extraordinary experiment fail.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #4 - January 16th, 2006, 10:33 pm
    Post #4 - January 16th, 2006, 10:33 pm Post #4 - January 16th, 2006, 10:33 pm
    Their answering machine only says they are closed through the end of January for vacation, apparently. That is a couple of weeks away and there are many forms of closed, some more or less permanent than others. I don't doubt that Katsu is in a position to know, but let us hope that this story isn't over yet.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #5 - January 16th, 2006, 10:44 pm
    Post #5 - January 16th, 2006, 10:44 pm Post #5 - January 16th, 2006, 10:44 pm
    Just called Chicago Kalbi, the sister restaurant, and their machine also says they're on vacation thru late Jan.
  • Post #6 - January 16th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    Post #6 - January 16th, 2006, 11:00 pm Post #6 - January 16th, 2006, 11:00 pm
    Kaze is also "closed for vacation," and EVERYTHING has been removed...the tables, the chairs, the china, the glasses...i dont know if its a spring cleaning, a remodeling, or something else.

    Erik.
  • Post #7 - January 16th, 2006, 11:08 pm
    Post #7 - January 16th, 2006, 11:08 pm Post #7 - January 16th, 2006, 11:08 pm
    I refer you to this post submitted on January 4th:

    gastro gnome wrote:To follow up on what Ann Mentioned, Matsumoto does have a new a la carte menu. From Metromix

    Though it's taking the month of January off, this Albany Park spot will be a great spot for February fondue. Known for its highly seasonal, multicourse kaiseki menus, they recently launched an a la carte menu that includes hot pots. Look for choices like sake kasunabe with salmon, tofu, daikon radish, burdock (a sweet and mild root), green onions and kikuna (chrysanthemum); or go for the shirakonabe with codfish soft roe, four kinds of mushrooms and kabu (white turnip). Both come on a custom-made tabletop stone "stove"; the no-work hot pot is served ready to eat ($15). Make a reservation a day ahead if you want shabu shabu; premium choices here include Wagyu sirloin or prime rib-eye ($35-$50 per person).


    I have to say that I could do worse than a mid-winter Wagyu shabu shabu. (Ain't that a mouthful?) :)


    I look forward to going next month when they return.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - January 17th, 2006, 8:39 am
    Post #8 - January 17th, 2006, 8:39 am Post #8 - January 17th, 2006, 8:39 am
    Work is happening at Kaze, people with toolbelts were inside the empty space this morning. Not sure if that means a different Kaze or something else.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #9 - January 17th, 2006, 10:41 am
    Post #9 - January 17th, 2006, 10:41 am Post #9 - January 17th, 2006, 10:41 am
    Hmm. I'll find that one out this week as TPA can get the dirt at this week's zoning deal for the potential wine store on Roscoe. I'm betting they're just having some work done during what is typically a slow month as I just got an email from Andre last week regarding a Purple Asparagus event there in April.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #10 - January 17th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    Post #10 - January 17th, 2006, 1:00 pm Post #10 - January 17th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    Just received this by email from Kaze's owner:

    The restaurant is closed through Wednesday Jan. 25th for Winter Break. We re-open on Thursday Jan. 26th.

    The chefs went back to Japan to exchange culinary ideas and to visit the fish markets.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #11 - January 18th, 2006, 9:32 am
    Post #11 - January 18th, 2006, 9:32 am Post #11 - January 18th, 2006, 9:32 am
    I looked closer at Kaze last night. Driving by it looks gutted, but that's because the bar is under plastic sheeting and you can't see it. All they seem to be doing is refinishing the floors.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #12 - February 6th, 2006, 3:45 pm
    Post #12 - February 6th, 2006, 3:45 pm Post #12 - February 6th, 2006, 3:45 pm
    Any updates in the status of Matsumoto? Have they reopened from their winter break?
  • Post #13 - February 6th, 2006, 4:28 pm
    Post #13 - February 6th, 2006, 4:28 pm Post #13 - February 6th, 2006, 4:28 pm
    I'm sorry to report that Matsumoto is no longer. They owners will re-open in a few weeks (no definitive date), under the name Chiyo.
  • Post #14 - February 6th, 2006, 4:32 pm
    Post #14 - February 6th, 2006, 4:32 pm Post #14 - February 6th, 2006, 4:32 pm
    I spoke with them by phone late last week because I was trying to make a reservation for as soon as they re-opened. I was told that they'd be finished remodeling in a few weeks. They didn't mention the possibility of changing the name or direction of the restauant -- though, I suppose, I didn't even think to ask about that possibility.
  • Post #15 - February 6th, 2006, 4:42 pm
    Post #15 - February 6th, 2006, 4:42 pm Post #15 - February 6th, 2006, 4:42 pm
    Interesting. When I called, to see what was happening over there, the owner answered the phone, with just a "Hello?" And so I had to ask if I had the right number for Matsumoto? He said that Matsumoto has been closed permanently, but that "Chiyo" would be opening soon in the same spot. I am assuming that it is the same ownership, since Chiyo is the owners name.

    So barret, did they let you make the reservation?
  • Post #16 - February 6th, 2006, 5:16 pm
    Post #16 - February 6th, 2006, 5:16 pm Post #16 - February 6th, 2006, 5:16 pm
    Unfortunately no. I think I spoke with the owner as well, but he just suggested that I call back in a few weeks.

    Did the owner suggest that the name change would be accompanied by a change in the direction of the restaurant?
  • Post #17 - February 6th, 2006, 5:29 pm
    Post #17 - February 6th, 2006, 5:29 pm Post #17 - February 6th, 2006, 5:29 pm
    He didn't say, and he sounded like he didn't really want to be pressed for too many details at the time.

    I assume that the kaiseki format was not working out business-wise. Towards the end the of their run, they did try to add an ala carte menu for walk-in traffic. So, my guess is that the restaurant will a new chef, and a new concept.
  • Post #18 - February 6th, 2006, 5:52 pm
    Post #18 - February 6th, 2006, 5:52 pm Post #18 - February 6th, 2006, 5:52 pm
    I just made a reservation.

    Matsumoto will be reopening this Friday in the same location under the new name Chiyo, as mentioned above.

    I don't know anything about the staff, but the menu is definitely being changed. They will unquestionably be adding a wagyu shabu shabu (my main point of interest), and if Metromix is to be believed, they will also be adding sushi a la carte, and possibly some other items. I didn't ask specifically, but I get the impression that the kaiseki menus will still be available, so it seems more like an expansion of the menu than a total reworking.

    I made my reservation for next weekend. I was told that there would be no need for reservations this weekend, and I'm not certain if that's because they don't anticipate large numbers due to the quiet reopening, or if they're concerned about the date slipping.

    Hope that helps!
  • Post #19 - February 6th, 2006, 7:00 pm
    Post #19 - February 6th, 2006, 7:00 pm Post #19 - February 6th, 2006, 7:00 pm
    At Sumutoko.com they mention that Matsumoto quit and left (to location undisclosed); If they do bring back kaiseki, it won't be by Matsumoto.
  • Post #20 - February 6th, 2006, 9:37 pm
    Post #20 - February 6th, 2006, 9:37 pm Post #20 - February 6th, 2006, 9:37 pm
    Hi,

    It is true the restaurant was named after the Chef Matsumoto. A name change to Chiyo would indicate Matsumoto has moved on. If they continue with kaiseki, then it won't be in Matsumoto's style however each person brings their skills and personality to every endeavor. We are in wait and see mode until we have definitive informaton what Chiyo, the restaurant, will offer.

    I am glad I had an opportunity to try kaiseki under Matsumoto. I will be glad to try whatever Chiyo offers next.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #21 - February 7th, 2006, 1:17 pm
    Post #21 - February 7th, 2006, 1:17 pm Post #21 - February 7th, 2006, 1:17 pm
    Well, that does seem to be the end of Matsumoto the restaurant.

    Generally it was pretty cool the way the press jumped on the novelty of Matsumoto and got the word out, with one exception. I suppose Phil Vettel would defend himself against the claim that a four-star review in the Trib would have made Matsumoto buzz with business by saying that he couldn't save Spruce, which I think he gave four stars to and mentioned fairly regularly, and which surely had a better location. Fair enough. And he might well say that the stars are a blunt instrument and hardly a substitute for the complete review-- except we know how these things shape perceptions, how all many people hear is "two thumbs up," and how people in wine shops buy a 90 but turn their noses up at an 89, as if there could possibly be a meaningful difference in those numbers.

    The review is pretty good, thoughtful and admiring-- and yet it's impossible not to look at it in the shadow of those two stars, the standard rating for the latest Trattoria Plastica River North scenester spot to open in this town, and see Matsumoto as a failure at its price point and ambition level as a result. Now, it may not be wrong to look at the decor and wooden chopsticks and bump a restaurant down for them. But now I know that the importance I give to such things under the circumstances (in Matsumoto's case, quite extraordinary circumstances) is far less than he does.

    Review.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #22 - February 7th, 2006, 10:26 pm
    Post #22 - February 7th, 2006, 10:26 pm Post #22 - February 7th, 2006, 10:26 pm
    HI,

    It's Tuesday, which means Chicago Kalbi and Matsumoto are typically closed. Since I was nearby anyway I drove past Matsumoto to find the street signage down, a 'closed' sign on the door and everything else intact. No obvious hint yet of the name change to 'Chiyo.'

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #23 - February 8th, 2006, 6:36 pm
    Post #23 - February 8th, 2006, 6:36 pm Post #23 - February 8th, 2006, 6:36 pm
    Dish on the closing+reopening:

    After a quiet closing in December, Matsumoto (3800 W. Lawrence Ave.; 773-267-1555), the innovative Japanese dining room that offered a seven-course kaiseki (dégustation) menu, will reopen on February 10 th as Chiyo. “It was a mistake,” said the owner, Isao Tozuka , of the restaurant’s original culinary ambitions. “It was too complicated and there was no regular menu.” Chiyo (the name of Tozuka’s wife, who runs the front of the house) will offer more familiar Japanese fare such as sushi, tempura, teriyaki, shabu shabu, and yosenabe, a dish he likened to bouillabaisse. The restaurant will still offer a kaiseki menu (price to be determined), but will require three days’ notice. Tozuka takes the place of Seijiro Matsumoto, who was formerly at the helm in the kitchen.


    If Tozuka has the same suppliers and the same chops Matsumoto reportedly did when it came to raw fish, I'd certainly love to stop in for sushi.

    Glad to know kaiseki will remain.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #24 - February 8th, 2006, 11:32 pm
    Post #24 - February 8th, 2006, 11:32 pm Post #24 - February 8th, 2006, 11:32 pm
    Dish, in the same February 8 issue, reports Geno Bahena's plan to close Chilpancingo.

    In contrast to Matsumoto falling on its own sword ("It was too complicated [kaiseki] and there was no regular menu," said owner Chiyo Tozuka), Bahena's "fed up with the reviews [he's] gotten in [the city of] Chicago, while mediocre restaurants get better [ones]."
  • Post #25 - February 8th, 2006, 11:35 pm
    Post #25 - February 8th, 2006, 11:35 pm Post #25 - February 8th, 2006, 11:35 pm
    Paul Tyksins wrote:Dish, in the same February 8 issue, reports Geno Bahena's plan to close Chilpancingo.

    In contrast to Matsumoto falling on its own sword ("It was too complicated [kaiseki] and there was no regular menu," said owner Chiyo Tozuka), Bahena's "fed up with the reviews [he's] gotten in [the city of] Chicago, while mediocre restaurants get better [ones]."


    I found that remarkable. He's actually closing because he's angry about the reviews he's been getting? Or is he saying his business was hurt by unfair reviews? Or is this all just bullsh*t.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #26 - February 8th, 2006, 11:43 pm
    Post #26 - February 8th, 2006, 11:43 pm Post #26 - February 8th, 2006, 11:43 pm
    It's all . . . um . . . mole under the bridge, I'm afraid.

    (Forgive me.)

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more