Lure Izakaya Pub: Japanase tapas? Count me in, please

Lure Izakaya Pub: Japanase tapas? Count me in, please
Metromix photo by Barry Brecheisen

Knowing trivia has its reward.

And for myself and three other ChicagoNow bloggers, that reward came in the form of a trip to Lure Izakaya Pub in Chinatown after winning the AAJA Trivia Bowl in late 2011. (Sadly, the rest of the team couldn't make it, including team all-star Mark "Oh, did I forget to mention I was on Jeopardy!?" McDermott.)

As soon as you walk into Lure, you notice the fun and energetic interior. Lights are splashed across the walls and a great set of music is played through the night. The food was quite good and affordable. We had the $100 gift certificate we won to split between the four of us and we spent it wisely.

Lure specializes in small plates – the manager described them to us as the Japanese version of Spanish tapas – and that was perfect for a group of four, allowing us to try a wide variety of selections. All of the small plates were affordable, too, ranging in price from $3 to about $9.

We had conch, duck breast, salmon, beef sashimi, chicken karaage, seaweed salad, tiger fries and a couple of other dishes. The conch, beef sashimi and chicken karaage were my favorites, though the tiger fries with a truffle oil dipping sauce were right up there with them. Actually, maybe those were the best part. I'm salivating just thinking about those fries.

We also got the chance to taste a few of the sakes, which I think was a first for me. (Not really a fan. I prefer rice flavor in a more solid form.)

For dessert, there was tempura ice cream and yuzu creme brulee. Mmmm. Creme brulee.

All in all, it was a great dinner, and I'd like to thank my fellow ChicagoNow trivia team members for being question-and-answer rock stars, which directly led to such a great dinner. Knowing trivia has its reward. And for me, so does lucking into great teammates. (We were picked out of a hat. Thank you, hat.)

• Joe Grace is a writer who lives in Chicago with his wife. Write to him at

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