This week, Mark Boscariol, Mat Mathias and Ted Dimoglou of Oishii Sushi Lounge and Chanoso’s Restaurant have headed over to Chicago to do what Pina and I believe every restaurant should do to continue to improve. They headed over to Chicago where Ted is staging under Chef Takashi, Chicago a 2004 James Beard award winner.

It is very important for chefs and restaurant owners to continue to improve and learn their trade and we are very happy to hear the gang at Oishii/Chanoso’s making this trip. Here is Mark’s first journal entry on his trip:

A Windsorite in the King’s Culinary Court

I’m writing this after my first night in Chicago, and I’m on a mission that could be described as a corporate retreat, culinary research, professional development and even a “healing”.

Mat Mathias, my new business partner and 50% co-owner of Chanoso’s and Oishii restaurants, decided to accompany our sushi chef Ted “Tiki” Dimoglou to Chicago this week. Tiki was able to have a “stage” (apprenticeship) arranged under Chef Takashi, Chicago. Takashi is a 2004 award-winning James Beard chef, having been nominated for this prestigious award four times in previous years during his tenure at Tribute in Farmington Hills, Michigan. This exciting opportunity was arranged by Chef Jonathon Reaume, Toscana – my favourite Italian restaurant located in Windsor.

Now, for the why part … well, there are many reasons. Over at Oishii Sushi, we’re considered “guai lo” meaning “white devils”. Word around town is that Oishii is white man’s sushi. Instead of being the least bit offended, I say lets embrace those monikers and deliver the best sushi in our region at first,  and then later the best in any region.

But that’s only part of it. Windsor has some great Sushi restaurants that we compete with including California Sushi, Hikari and several others. All of whom are a credit to Windsor’s culinary scene delivering a quality food experience with much professionalism. If I want to be know for the offering the best sushi experience, there’s work to be done.

When I say the best, remember I mean the entire sushi experience. Oishii Sushi is Windsor’s only contemporary, rock ‘n roll themed sushi restaurant. That means we work on our atmosphere (better video and digital art, great musical entertainment, new seating etc.), and we work on our service (training, evaluating etc.).

Day 1 Arrive in Chicago 6pm

Ted starts his stage tomorrow at 1pm at Takashi, tonight we explore Chicago

I am waking out of my food coma that I put myself into last night. We’re staying at the Ruby Inn, a health, yoga spa that happens to have 6 rooms upstairs. We’re on the 3rd floor and have booked 3 out of 4 rooms with the other one vacant. I feel like I’m back in University dorm room. The place was the closest we could find to Takashi but its in a great neighborhood filled with vibrant local independent businesses with more places than we could choose from to dine at.

Our first stop was to smoke daddy’s bbq one block from the hotel. The three of us split the rib sampler for one and tried a few sides. I can’t help but comparing and our conclusions were that these ribs came with less rub, sauced (which started the age old debate “To send out the ribs sauced or not” We still choose not.

What I’m bringing back home: from visiting smoke daddy’s is that I’d like to tweak our mac ‘n cheese so the cheese comes out as a more thicken cream

Second stop was to the Violet Hour. What a find. This is considered one of the best cocktail bars in America. The bartenders are the best mixologists I’ve ever seen. The back bar looked like an apothecary with the 20 eyedroppers of custom made types of bitters, amongst the most diverse ingredient selection I’ve ever seen. We had couple of drinks while getting a tutorial in mixology from our bartender Robert, both our bartenders there were impeccable and the most knowledgeable I’ve seen. Every drink must be tasted by them before served. What was the funnest part is that under their smaller sustenance menu we tried truffled tempura chickpeas and tempura reeses peanut butter cups. They were both great

What I’m bringing back home: We need to treat our drink menu with the same respect that bars like this do. We need this atmosphere in the buddha side of the restaurant. Look for the truffled chickpeas as a bar snack at Chanoso’s/Oishii very soon.

From there we were off the Publican. No description of this place would do it justice. It is in the middle of the meatpackers district hidden where no one would would expect. Although it was a shame to not try what is supposed to be one of the world’s best selection of beer. we tackled a lot of unique share plates. Of course Ted and Mat had us all try the calves brains and the sweet breads which which were unique. The charcuterie plate was amazing with the head cheese being my favorite. A plate of jamon Iberico tasted more like dessert and I can’t forget the smoked yellowtail tuna.

What I’m bringing back home: A desire for more interesting menu offering for Windsor, maybe through the supper club. What an amazing experience

From there we went back to the violet hour where our next bartender Michael was the premier whiskey expert teaching us about about kentucky whiskey, so much about the difference in proof and percentages of types of mash.

Not bad for a first night