LVE BYOB Spotlight Series: Wakamono

Just reading Wakamono owner Kai Togami’s childhood story makes us want to support him and his restaurant. Orphaned by a tsunami in Japan in 1963 and becoming a stowaway on a Red Cross ship; Owner Kai Togami’s inspiring, dynamic life is something out of an adventure book…with its current chapter taking place in Lakeview East. Lucky us!

Wakamono is located at Broadway and Aldine and offers a wonderful menu filled with traditional and eclectic Japanese cuisine. The atmosphere is just as eclectic: stunning artwork on the walls, impressively decorated pillars, candlelit tables, and even a koi pond (we’re not lost on the irony of eating fish while there are live, unassuming fish within 5 feet of our table)!

Talk about options. From hot and savory Ramen and fresh Nigiri, to a crazy variety of wonderful fish entrees and hibachi-cooked meats, to maki and bento boxes, and of course classic and specialty sushi rolls. Whether or not you’re a seafood lover, there’s absolutely something here for you to enjoy. We particularly loved the names they gave some of their rolls, such as “Peter Parker Spider Roll” and “Hotel California Roll.” We also highly recommended the Yo Yo Ramen, Wakamono Roll and the jalapeño miso soup.

Here’s a no-brainer: Sake! Served hot or chilled (recommended), sake is made by the fermentation of rice – similar to beer/hops – and comes in different grades depending on how finely milled the rice is prior to fermentation. Flavors may be subtle, but they can range from sweet, dry, fruity, tropical or clean, and ALL of them work beautifully with Asian cuisine.

With ramen dishes, we recommend a nice Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) or a fuller-bodied rosé, like a dark Xinomavro from Greece. For mixed sushi platters, seek out Auslese or Kabinett Riesling, Grenache-based rosé, Albariño, Spanish whites or sparkling (Cava), or unoaked Chardonnay.

If you are a serious red drinker, lighter reds are always a safe choice. Try a Schiava from Italy or a Gamay from France for something besides Pinot Noir.

Simply love big reds? Go ahead. Break the “rules.” It’s all about what you like anyway!

So if you need a new spot for a date night or just want to enjoy some quality food in a cozy setting, head to Wakamono. We’ll also add that the staff is SUPER attentive during the meal and always makes sure to keep your wine glass full. Not that we’re complaining about that.

Word to the Wise:
They unfortunately have an $8 corkage fee for bottles brought in, because they have a selection of wine, beer and cocktails on the menu. So prepare for that if you intend on BYOB-ing!

Wakamono | 3313 N. Broadway | (773) 296-6800