Cat-Su debuts from two fantastic dining chefs who adore Japanese foods

Japanese-style sandwiches, or sandos, and snacks are exploding in level of popularity in Chicago during the pandemic, and now two regional marketplace veterans with good eating chops are leaping into the sando fray with a pop-up they hope to remodel into a bodily 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 showcasing sandwiches, grilled skewers, savory Japanese pancakes, and additional.

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

Prospects can pick from five sando selections, like 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’s also some quite traditional 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 Howdy Panda biscuits.

“We want persons to take pleasure in SPAM,” suggests Schlaeger. “It’s really fantastic!”

Schlaeger and Clendening bonded while operating at Blackbird. The would like is to sooner or later open a cafe, and working a ghost kitchen area will ideally enable them to establish a foundation. Neither have visited Japan, but have noticed the country’s influence on American dining places: “Saison is rather a great deal a Japanese cafe,” Schlaeger claims of their time at the Bay Location Michelin-starred restaurant.

Schlaeger, who if Filipino, grew up in suburban Glencoe. Clendening grew up in North Carolina. The two say they’re not modeling their strategy to Japanese meals like Paul Virant has around at Gaijin in West Loop. That is, getting an appreciative outside the house viewpoint to Japanese delicacies and sharing it with Us residents 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 discovered in Michelin-starred kitchens will translate to exciting Japanese foodstuff. The two really don’t want to do a “bastardized” model of Japanese meals, but want to have entertaining with the preparations.

Cat-Su’s menu riffs on yōshoku, or a classification of Japanese foodstuff encouraged by European and American dishes that is developed to match Japanese tastes — assume omurice, a sensitive and gooey omelette served over rice, or korokke, a preferred spin on French croquettes. There are other sub-classes that characteristic extra clear-cut, less adulterated can take on Western dishes, but yōshoku bears a distinctly Japanese sensibility.

Carryout and delivery are offered by using UberEats.

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