Juno Offers Creative Japanese In Chicago

A new home for creative Japanese

Despite its Japanese focus, one of the most compelling dishes at Lincoln Park newcomer Juno felt closer in origin to Portugal.

A deep bowl of mussels and clams was packed with hunks of fiery sausage and slices of fingerling potatoes ($12), reminiscent of a linguiça stew. It referenced Japan with a broth of sake and dashi, mounted with butter before serving for lip-slicking richness.

Chef B.K. Park spent the past three years at Arami, and he's brought a similar concept of untethered Japanese to his new restaurant.

Smoked sashimi ($10) is presented in a glass dome; it's lifted at the table and a puff of smoke is released. The smoke lends a gentle aroma to hamachi sashimi garnished with a sliver of shiitake mushroom and freeze-dried corn, and to salmon sashimi dotted with shiso and sautéed garlic.

Park has run sushi counters for over 20 years, and Juno's raw fish is pristine. His whole aji (horse mackerel; $15), sliced two ways and served in a dramatic tableau, is one example.

If live hotate (scallop; $5) nigiri is available, it's not to be missed. Cut from its shell to order, brushed with yuzu juice and dotted with black sea salt, it's a sublime example of the complexity that the simplest Japanese preparations can achieve.