Matthais Merges, who was executive chef at Charlie Trotter's for some 14 years, opened Yusho
in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood in late 2011; this year, the restaurant was included in Bon Appetit
's list of 50 Best New Restaurants. Inspired by a Japanese yakitori, the restaurant has a chef's counter that can hold private groups of four. The entire Cooking Counter can also be reserved to seat 14. All menus are customized "around the guests' likes and dislikes, beverages being consumed, and length of experience a guest would like to have," says Merges. Pairings may include hama hama oysters with English peas and caviar; mackerel with Japanese vinaigrette and sushi rice; and a "Gin Rickey" made with lime and DH Krahn gin.
Photo: Courtesy of Yusho