At the suggestion of this Board, my daughter and I tired Minako yesterday at 5:40. I'm the Chicago refugee.
I think all should know, as is stated in some of the posts, that this has a slow pace. It has the atmosphere of a neighborhood restaurant, but the pace is excruciating. I believe Judy is the person in charge and she arrived a bit later than we did. The place filled up and the pace of the cooking did too, but we were there for 1 hour 37 minutes, not too uncomfortable but a bit awkward as a couple that had arrived before us had the forlorned look several times.
This being said, the food was very good. Maki rolls of various kinds (the salmon wrapped especially) were good but not terribly spicy. Miso soup right on, tofu pot stickers very good and unique, a toasted tofu dinner that I stole pieces of from daughter was the best! Lots of organic ingredients and tastes were not earthshaking, which is the sign of a chef not trying to knock the cover off the ball - secure in his/her own skin.
The waiter even asked if I had any allergies when I needed help ordering. I spared him on that one. But I would in fact note that when I eat the finest cooking is the only time my stomach stays completely settled after a meal and Minako passed this test with honors.
If I were a local I'd get to know the pace of the place better and show up unhurried at just-past-peak times. Our bill for 2 pre tip was $48 (!)
Oh, and the garden greens were first rate.
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