Cat-Su debuts from two fine dining cooks who really like Japanese food items

Japanese-design sandwiches, or sandos, and treats are exploding in attractiveness in Chicago during the pandemic, and now two community sector veterans with good eating chops are leaping into the sando fray with a pop-up they hope to remodel into a actual physical restaurant. Cat-Su Sando, a new venture from chefs Will Schlaeger (Subsequent, Saison, Blackbird) and Shawn Clendening (Oriole, Saison, Blackbird), debuted Monday as a virtual kitchen area that includes sandwiches, grilled skewers, savory Japanese pancakes, and far more.

A tall sandwich made with tofu.

“TBC Cat-Su Sando” (crispy tofu, charred brassicas, “Tofu-Q’,” pickled onions, vegan bread)
Charlie Metcalf/Cat-Su Sando

Customers can opt for from five sando choices, together with the signature Cat-Su Sando (fried pork cutlet, Cat-Su sauce, fermented jalapeno, cabbage, milk bread) and smoked fish salad sando (smoked fish, marinated ikura, celtuce, yuzu kosho, barbecue shrimp chips, milk bread). There is also some fairly classic kushiyaki, or grilled skewers, okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), and snacks like onigiri (stuffed rice balls) and a “Green Eggs and SPAM” musubi (smoked SPAM, environmentally friendly tamago, nori). Wrap it up with packaged treats like Pocky and Hi Panda biscuits.

“We want folks to enjoy SPAM,” claims Schlaeger. “It’s really fantastic!”

Schlaeger and Clendening bonded whilst performing at Blackbird. The desire is to at some point open a cafe, and working a ghost kitchen will ideally permit them to make a foundation. Neither have frequented Japan, but have noticed the country’s influence on American dining establishments: “Saison is rather considerably a Japanese cafe,” Schlaeger claims of their time at the Bay Area Michelin-starred restaurant.

Schlaeger, who if Filipino, grew up in suburban Glencoe. Clendening grew up in North Carolina. The two say they are not modeling their approach to Japanese meals like Paul Virant has above at Gaijin in West Loop. That is, taking an appreciative exterior standpoint to Japanese delicacies and sharing it with People in america and homesick Japanese in Chicago.

A round savory Japanese pancake topped with green onion

Negi okonomiyaki (grilled Tokyo onions, potato, ginger, lime, scallion)
Charlie Metcalf/Cat-Su Sando

The chefs want to see how what they’ve realized in Michelin-starred kitchens will translate to exciting Japanese food stuff. The two never want to do a “bastardized” variation of Japanese foods, but want to have pleasurable with the preparations.

Cat-Su’s menu riffs on yōshoku, or a group of Japanese food impressed by European and American dishes that is built to accommodate Japanese tastes — assume omurice, a delicate and gooey omelette served about rice, or korokke, a well-liked spin on French croquettes. There are other sub-categories that aspect additional straightforward, fewer adulterated can take on Western dishes, but yōshoku bears a distinctly Japanese sensibility.

Carryout and supply are offered through UberEats.

Cat-Su Sando, 3220 W. Grand Avenue, Open up 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday via Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.