Chicago restaurant closings that surprise and sadden

August 10, 2010


Masu Izakaya

Just when I thought Aldino's had set the record for the quickest closing on record, Metromix reports that Masu Izakaya closed last week, barely four months into its run in Lincoln Park. Before it opened, owner Steven Song told me "Edamame is not going to cut it. We really want to push the boundaries, and we feel the consumer is more accepting these days of new dishes." But the entire concept is based on a convivial, post-work, hearty-drinking crowd, and the dishes should reflect a Japanese aesthetic - hamachi collar, donburi (rice bowls), grilled and fried yakitori. I had a pretty good meal there before they got their liquor license, but noticed plenty of Lincoln Park moms ordering spicy tuna rolls, and knew that wasn't a good sign. I'm still waiting for Chizakaya to open up on Lincoln Avenue - I hear they've assembled a killer sake list - but construction/permit delays keep pushing back the opening. Oysy and Izakaya Hapa downtown claim to be true izakayas, but they're not even close. For the real deal, gotta head to Vancouver or New York City I'm afraid.

Metromix also reports that Edna's - the legendary soul food restaurant on the West Side - has closed after their namesake passed away about a month ago from cancer. A beacon on West Madison for more than four decades, those incomparable biscuits will be missed. I was also not surprised to see that Delhi 6 has closed after just a few months. This tiny North Center cafe was charming - they sold jewelry, clothing, tea and had a small menu - but when I had lunch there, and asked the owner why everything was so watered-down, she told me a few of her customers had said the flavors were too bold and little too spicy. Therein lies the problem: try to please everyone who comes in the door, and you'll never really make an impact on anyone.