The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Northwest Side Restaurant Review: Midori

By Meghan Clark in Food on Apr 25, 2007 8:06PM

While Chicagoist loves sushi, we don’t always love the pretension that seems to go hand in hand with excellent, inventive sushi. That’s why we were super excited about our recent visit to Midori Japanese Restaurant. Set among several other Asian restaurants and businesses on Bryn Mawr, Midori sets itself apart with the largest neon sign on the block and its brightly-lit dining room.

Beyond the entrance, the dining room ceiling is covered with electric paper lanterns and umbrellas over closely set together tables. A traditional sushi bar lines the back wall and a few private tables are set-up behind sliding doors. While the layout initially felt crowded, once Chicagoist saw diners at multiple tables trading maki pieces across the aisles, the seating configuration struck us as genius. Meanwhile, a few patrons sat at the sushi bar chatting with Chef Roberto like we normally chat with our local bartender, which immediately gave us the impression that this sushi joint was far from the hipper-than-thou establishments we had previously fumbled chopsticks at.

Our meal started with a freshly made margarita served martini style. Yes, a margarita—and a damn good one at that -- in a Japanese restaurant. Although Midori features an ample selection of sake, we couldn’t resist the novelty of margaritas and sushi.

We placed our order and expected the usual miso soup and salad, but quickly found ourselves overwhelmed by the sides that came with our appetizer and maki roll. First up was tofu covered in a spicy, smoky-flavored sauce and the usual salad. About halfway through the salad, the miso soup arrived. Shortly after that, three plates of vegetables—green beans and mushrooms with the same sauce as the tofu; pickled cabbage and Japanese pickles—arrived with our second margarita.04_07_Midori_beefsashimi.jpg
When the majority of the real estate on our four top table was taken, our beef sashimi appetizer arrived. It was fresh, well seasoned and beautifully presented. While the consistency was similar to rare roast beef, it was very tender and reminded us of exactly why we like red meat so much.

Shortly after our meat-stravaganza, the Red Eye Maki roll arrived. Featuring seared tuna, tempurako (similar to tempura coating), avocado and a very spicy sauce, it was a welcome departure from the common spicy tuna roll. However, the pieces were so big that we were hardly able to pick them up with our elementary chopstick skills. They were well worth the hassle though as each flavor and ingredient in the roll was well represented and very filling. Based on our maki and several glances at other tables’, large portions seem to be the norm at Midori. While we’ve usually found maki rolls at other sushi restaurants leaving us a little hungry at the end of the meal, this was definitely not true at Midori, where Chicagoist found ourselves taking home a doggie bag.

With its casual atmosphere, attentive, friendly staff and giant maki rolls, it won’t be long before Chicagoist heads out for sushi and margaritas again. Midori is located at 3310 W. Bryn Mawr and is open everyday of the week except Tuesdays.