In Chicago, we are lucky to have a chef trained in kaiseki, a traditional Japanese multi-course meal. After my friend, Annie, hired chef Matsumoto to work at her restaurant, Mizu Yakitori and Sushi Lounge, they soon began having quarterly kaiseki dinners. I was fortunate to attend the inaugural dinner.
There were 9 courses with sake pairings. Chef Matsumoto hand wrote all of the menus in Japanese. Unlike fixed price menus at places like Alinea or Charlie Trotters, kaiseki dishes follow a set order that includes soup, sashimi, a grilled course, and others at the chef’s discretion. Ingredients are seasonal. If you get the chance to try it, you should.