Takashi RestaurantBucktown | Website
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Acclaimed chef Takashi Yagihashi, of Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi in the State Street Macy's (he's also a James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest award winner), is behind this Bucktown spot. The restaurant features contemporary French-American fare with Japanese influences--think organic chicken in a clay pot with shimeji mushrooms and Japanese eggplant or roasted New York strip with fresh wasabi, miso-glazed fingerling potatoes and fried salisify, with entrees topping out at about $30. Sundays are especially popular for the ramen and other handmade noodle specialties featured at both lunch and dinner. The dining rooms (one upstairs and one down) are intimate and quite modern. Designer Francois Geneve (Custom House, Spring and Green Zebra) created the "contemporary chic" look for the 55-seat space.