The streets of Wrigleyville are lined with fine establishments that suit the purpose of celebration or drowning sorrows. Yet, sometimes pub grub grows old. Greasy wings or variations of cheese and potatoes lose their Americana appeal. Instead of burgers and beer, try a post-game party catered with sushi and sake. Matsuya offers a creative alternative to all things overbearing and overtly Cubby.
Once you step into the cozy restaurant, the hustle and bustle of Clark Street immediately disappears. A feeling of Zen-like peacefulness overcomes you; the place holds a strange resemblance to a serene yoga studio. Tan and mauve walls showcase paper screens, portraits of geishas and sumo-wrestler murals. The sounds of Japanese lutes and banjos fill the air. Yes, the threshold of Matsuya disguises a magic portal to the other side of the globe.
The affable waitresses will seat you either in a traditional setting, or at the bar, where you can watch the chefs artfully craft edible masterpieces out of rice, raw fish and seaweed. When your order is ready, plan on receiving enormous portions with in an array of colors and flavors. And while the wasabi might overwhelm, the prices won't. Sushi places are notorious wallet-robbers, but combination plates and entrees average $10, while special rolls run as high as $16. Just be careful; it's easy to order more and more of those small, delicious treats from the sea—but the numbers quickly add up.
For those not keen on sushi, tempura or maki rolls, traditional soups, noodle and meat dishes are also available. Suds-seeking Cub fans, have no fear; Japanese beer is served here.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Paige Gray