A New Tradition

Sunday night kaiseki at Takashi

We usually reserve Sundays as a rare night off from eating adventures and restaurant dins.

Trying Takashi's new Sunday-night kaiseki menu was a happy exception.

The seven- or 11-course menu ($73 or $100) loosely follows the dictums of the traditional Japanese form, taking the occasional liberty: It ends, for example, with a bowl of rustic noodles in dashi instead of a rice course. But the cuisine's essential ingredients, techniques and flavors are all present.

There's elegant crudo–fluke wrapped around slivers of apple and fennel, garnished with a tongue of urchin–and a delicate, warming broth bobbing with Matsutake mushrooms, to be poured from a tiny pot and sipped like tea. For the braised course, pork belly, winter melon and sweet potato are simmered until spoon-tender. Richly silky Scottish sea trout arrives kissed by the grill and topped with sweet miso glaze.

In the spirit of the style, the menu will change according to season and whim. But it will stay relatively light; there's no abundance of fat in these dishes.

Indeed, Sunday night at Takashi is an unusual, exciting and invigorating way to start the new week.

Takashi, 1952 N. Damen Ave.; 773-772-6170 or takashichicago.com