Monday, January 08, 2007

Sushisamba Rio

I choose Sushisamba Rio as the place for the last dinner in Chicago.

An unlikely fusion of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine is the theme of this restaurant. (Actually, it's not unlikely. For example, Peruvian seviche originates in sashimi brought by Japanese immigrants to Peru.)

For a starter, I take King Salmon Sashimi Seviche. Slices of salmon only the surface of which is grilled are served with salad and basil sauce. One word. Fantastic!

For the main, I have seared beef maki. Grilled scallions and thinly-cut carrots wrapped with thinly-sliced beef are served with teriyaki sauce. I often cook this at home, but it's still delicious. Coconut rice ordered as a side dish is also great.

The decor at this place is a truly unlikely fusion of Japanese modesty and Latin American boldness. The plates are also stylish. Plus, the music on play is very cool.

Yet another excellent restaurant in Chicago.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Signature Lounge in John Hancock Tower

After the whole schedule of job interviews is over, I meet up with Yamada-kun. We have delicious spare ribs at a restaurant whose name I don't remember. Then he takes me to Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. The weather is stormy when we arrive. The windows through which we are supposed to see a spectacular night view of Chicago only show raindrops heading towards us. Half an hour later, however, the storm goes away and what I see is this (you see some raindrops on the window):

Honestly speaking, it is not as spectacular as Damascus. But Chicago has its own geometric beauty.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


I have dinner at the Wave restaurant, serving Meditteranean cuisine, on my fourth evening in Chicago, after being quite exhausted from a series of job interviews yesterday and today.

The entrance looks a bit like a cheesy nightclub, but the inside is a very sleek lounge bar and dining room. (Upstairs is W Hotel.)

The menu is a tapas style: various small plates to share. I have a "grilled octopus salad" for a starter. The vinaigrette is Arabic-flavoured, reminding me of foods I had in Damascus. Together with radicchio, it is slightly bitter. But the bitterness adds depth to the whole taste of the salad. I'm very impressed.

Then I have a "sugar & salt pork tenderloin" for the main and a mushroom risotto as a side dish. The pork is okay, but the risotto is marvelous. It's not that easy to serve an excellent risotto.

With an excellent service and a cool interior, I have an enjoyable dinner.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Mambo Grill

Mambo Grill is a Latin American restaurant in Chicago. Highly recommended.

For a starter, I have "Ensalada de Aguacate y Mango Avocado." It is a green salad with ripe mango slices and a vinaigrette made of lime, lemon, organge juice, and (if I remember correctly) a hint of tequila. I didn't know the taste of chuncky mango slices fits very well with lime and orange juice (though I still believe that mango juice shouldn't be mixed with organge juice).

The main dish is "Coconut-Curried Tilapia." I don't know what kind of fish tilapia is. But I still give it a try. Then a perfectly-cooked tilapia steak is served with excellent coconut milk and curry sauce.

The service is also perfect. Next time I come to Chicago, I'll definitely come here again.