Renga-Tei

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This Japanese eatery in Lincolnwood exudes authenticity. Lunch crowds form for over-sized bento boxes stuffed with favorites such as tempura and teriyaki served with a California roll, salad with ginger dressing, miso soup and rice. The sushi bar serves a restrained menu of sashimi, nigiri and a few maki options--and none of the crazy specialty rolls found in trendier spots. Dinner brings options such as chirashi, cuts of raw sushi-grade fish served over a bowl of sushi rice. Other entrees include katsudon, a deep-fried pork cutlet served with a fried egg and rice, Renga steak served with stir-fried vegetables and ponzu, and tonkatsu, a pork cutlet sliced and served with shredded cabbage and miso soup. Be sure to check out the specials board, where dishes such as whole fried yellowtail jaw and crab miso soup with blue crabs perched on top make appearances. The minimalist decor, homestyle cooking and warm, Japanese-speaking staff make this a great place for both first-timers and seasoned vets.