Japanese-type sandwiches, or sandos, and treats are exploding in recognition in Chicago during the pandemic, and now two community sector veterans with wonderful dining chops are leaping into the sando fray with a pop-up they hope to completely transform into a actual physical restaurant. Cat-Su Sando, a new undertaking from cooks Will Schlaeger (Subsequent, Saison, Blackbird) and Shawn Clendening (Oriole, Saison, Blackbird), debuted Monday as a virtual kitchen area featuring sandwiches, grilled skewers, savory Japanese pancakes, and more.
Customers can opt for from five sando selections, such as 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 fairly regular kushiyaki, or grilled skewers, okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), and treats 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 Hello there Panda biscuits.
“We want persons to enjoy SPAM,” says Schlaeger. “It’s rather fantastic!”
Schlaeger and Clendening bonded whilst functioning at Blackbird. The desire is to inevitably open up a restaurant, and jogging a ghost kitchen will hopefully enable them to create a basis. Neither have visited Japan, but have witnessed the country’s affect on American places to eat: “Saison is quite significantly a Japanese cafe,” Schlaeger suggests of their time at the Bay Space 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 technique to Japanese foodstuff like Paul Virant has above at Gaijin in West Loop. That is, having an appreciative outside perspective to Japanese delicacies and sharing it with Us citizens and homesick Japanese in Chicago.
The chefs want to see how what they’ve figured out in Michelin-starred kitchens will translate to exciting Japanese food. The two do not want to do a “bastardized” variation of Japanese meals, but want to have entertaining with the preparations.
Cat-Su’s menu riffs on yōshoku, or a category of Japanese foods motivated by European and American dishes which is intended to suit Japanese tastes — feel omurice, a sensitive and gooey omelette served around rice, or korokke, a well-known spin on French croquettes. There are other sub-groups that aspect a lot more straightforward, much less adulterated usually takes on Western dishes, but yōshoku bears a distinctly Japanese sensibility.
Carryout and shipping are available via UberEats.
Cat-Su Sando, 3220 W. Grand Avenue, Open up 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.