Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Japan's #1 spirit arrives in Lakeview

Two shochu-infused cocktails are shown here at the hot new lounge/eatery of the same name in Lakeview. (Photo: Shochu)

Shochu (3313 N. Clark St., 773-348-3313), which opens today in Lakeview, is the first-ever "shochu" lounge in the United States. But what is shochu, you ask?! It's the #1 Japanese distilled spirit that is made from rice, barley, sweet potatoes and black sugar. Husband-and-wife duo Lynne Wallack and John Handler—who are also behind the popular Lakeview brunch fave Deleece (4004 N. Southport Ave., 773-325-1710)—are pairing signature cocktails with small plates.

The cocktail menu offers a large collection of shochu-based cocktails, like Black Dragon (mixing shochu with muddled blackberries and simple syrup) and Iwo Oyama (a mixture of shochu with pear and green tea). The menu offers moderately priced fare with an Asian edge, including a number of maki rolls, marinated grilled steak wrapped in butter lettuce and eggplant maitake sesame tempura.

Also happening tonight:

Landmark Grill + Lounge (1633 N. Halsted St., 312-587-1600) heads in a completely different direction with its music tonight for the Beatles Wine Tasting. Yes, that's right. They're pairing classic Beatles tunes with vino, but it'll be interesting to see what they pair with “Helter Skelter!” 7pm. $30.

Catch the next episode of Bravo's "Top Chef" at Paramount Room (415 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-829-6300), which is showing the series on LCD screens on both levels. You'll get a chance to sink your teeth into their specialty Amish fried chicken, which is only served on Wednesdays.

And country music continues to burn up the charts as evidenced by hot Capitol recording artists Lady Antebellum, with their hit "Love Don't Live Here." You will be able to say, "We saw them when...." and you get a free CD. Joe's (940 W. Weed St., 312-337-3486) 8pm. $10.

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