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Saiko--a GREAT experiece with their tasting menu (LONG)


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Restaurants & Bars

Saiko--a GREAT experiece with their tasting menu (LONG)

chick pea | Feb 16, 2004 10:34 AM

Last night, my husband and I went to Saiko for the first time. Saiko is owned by Jerry Kleiner/Howard Davis--the ones of Opera, Red Light, Marche, Gioco--we've only been to Opera once--and were satisfied, but not really wowed.

We planned to order straight off the menu, but on a whim, we decided to try the chef’s tasting menu. From the variety of food to quality to quantity to service—-we were thoroughly pleased and stuffed when all was said and done. When we first asked how much it cost and how much food was offered, the waitress said it was $60 per person and 5-7 courses…

Here’s a quick run-down of our courses (note that I was trying to write everything down, and much of what follows is what I thought I heard and probably has many inaccuracies—-also note that there were more than 5-7 courses):

1. Tofu tempura in a sweet beef broth with daikon sprouts and ginger—delicious, light, surprisingly and pleasantly sweet. The tofu was lightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

2. A one-bite salad on one leaf of something—inside was a little piece of chile, macadamian nut, tofu, daikon marmalade. Our waitress told us to fold it up and enjoy it in one bite. It was impressively full of a lot of different flavors—spicy, bitter, sweet, nutty…

3. A nigiri/roll sampler—four pieces: one piece of maguro (ahi tuna)—like butter, two thin cookies with spicy tuna filling in between, a shiitake mushroom roll with a piece of ahi tuna on top, and a spicy tuna roll.

4. Lobster two ways: one was a roll with lobster, shiitake mushroom filling, fried then wrapped in rice and finally wrapped with a piece of avocado and mango. The second way was a twice-baked potato with a lot of filling (I don’t remember exactly what) topped with Japanese mayonnaise and chili sauce—this is offered with one of the steak dishes off the menu—maybe the filet mignon? There wasn’t a lot of lobster taste, but both were delicious, nonetheless.

5. Halibut cheek with a wasabi vinaigrette and two halibut rolls. The halibut cheek is off the menu—very fresh, lightly broiled. The halibut rolls were large—and almost identical to Korean kimbop rolls, except that there were pieces of broiled halibut inside.

6 and 7. The beginning of our shared dishes—these were brought together. One was tempura shrimp in a delicious dipping sauce. The batter was light and crispy. The shrimp were meaty and sweet. The other dish was off the menu—two Godzilla prawns. They were huge and served with a pineapple beurre blanc. Delicious.

Now, had the meal ended here, we would’ve been satisfied. Debra, our waitress, came over to check on us (as she had been throughout the night) and asked how we were doing. Then she said there were two more courses plus dessert. Was that enough? she wanted to know. If not, the chef will keep delivering until we’re really full. We opted for the remaining two courses and dessert.

8. A foie gras platter—four different samplings of foie gras options. (So, this is, in a way, four more courses—it was really a lot of food.)
a. Two pork/foie gras dumplings with a sauce—yum.
b. A foie gras mouse tower layered with patties of foie gras, daikon marmalade,.and sweet “biscuits”—yum.
c. Two foie gras spring rolls with foie gras sauce—yum.
d. Two pieces of foie gras in a cherry sauce with candied pineapple—yum again.

9. A three-parter:
a. Four wasabi potato crisps (potatos covered in Japanese bread crumbs, deep-fried, and served with a sweet mayo.
b. Veggie tempura—shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, sweet potato… delicious.
c. Off the menu—the Shogun prime ribeye with spinach in a light teriyaki sauce. This was HUGE. We looked on the menu and the ribeye (served with the potatoes in #9a) runs $38 alone.

Our waitress asked if we wanted two desserts or one. We asked for one. Glad we did, for dessert was their banana split with homemade ice cream: coconut (with coconut shavings), dark chocolate (with dark chocolate shavings), and raspberry cheesecake (with raspberry sauce).

So delicious, so decadent, so tasteful… we couldn’t think of anything we didn’t like off the above options. Our service was wonderful throughout—our waitress was helpful, she checked in on us during the courses, the timing of each course was appropriate, the busboy kept our water filled and our table clean and our silverware changing throughout (we didn’t have any wine or other drinks). The entire experience took about 3 hours long. A couple at the next table did complain about the slowness of their service, but we didn’t have any objections—it was a wonderful experience.

1307 S. Wabash

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