Meet Meat at Niku Niku Toyo

Niku Niku Toyo or “Niku Niku” as the locals call it, is the third addition to the successful chain of Japanese restaurants created by owner Toyo San. Toyo San has been cooking authentic, Japanese for over twenty-five years. Beginning his career at Happy Sushi in Highland Park, Toyo gained experience and insight into the restaurant industry serving as a sushi chef. After some years, Toyo sought out to develop his own restaurant; his current, culinary prodigy Sushi Kushi Toyo. In a time where sushi was foreign to restaurant goers (“it’s raw fish!”), Toyo expanded palettes by introducing new textures and flavors to timid, yet curious audiences.  Twenty, years later, Toyo has consecrated Sushi Kushi as a Lake Forest hot-spot and regional gem: it is always crowded with eager patrons and buzzing with energy. Sushi Kushi has gained loyal followers as sushi-connoisseurs know they are eating the best of the best; Toyo gets his precious, catch flown in straight from the markets of Japan. On occassion, you can even taste rare-delicacies such as Abalone.
Niku = Meat in Japanese
Niku Niku literally means meat meat in Japanese. Yaki+niku means grilled meat. With the rising popularity of yakiniku, Japanese grilling has picked up heat on the dining scene. Innovative and trend savvy, Toyo San recognized the demand on the market and opened Niku Niku with the intention of serving traditional yakiniku and teppanyaki. Unlike its Americanized-counterpart Gyu-kaku, Niku Niku is turning up the heat by offering an well-conceived, well-priced menu with a diverse meat, seafood, and sushi selection. Don’t feel like grilling your own meat? The extensive teppanyaki section solves your problem. Everyone leaves happy~
A short brief on today’s tasting menu Japanese Yakiniku (焼き肉) or in Korean: Galbi Gui (갈비구이). What is Yakiniku? Yakiniku is the Japanese version of Korean barbecue developed during the Korean War.In particular, Yakiniku involves the Korean tradition of grilling meat over charcoal at a table. Food is an expression of culture and culture is derivative; everything is imagined and reimagined, created and recreated. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery~


Before eating, it is Japanese tradition to recite いただきます (Itadakimasu), which means “I receive this food” or “Let’s eat.”

1.) The chopstick case displays a graphic-portrait of Toyo San. Neat, funky-cool interpretation. Deuces. #peacesign For festive occasions, Niku Niku boasts a extensive saki and beer menu~ Kanpai, 乾杯!

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2.) Clockwise from top left: Omakase (Chef’s choice), Korean banchan, and Kimchee or in Japanese kimuchee

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3. Grilling Meats: Negi shio harame and chicken niku. Great cuts in good portions.

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4. Seafood: oyster niku, and lobster niku~


5. Upclose niku pics. Grilling, dipping, and eating!

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6. From Top to bottom: Chirashi ちらし and  Okonomiyaki お好み焼き. Chirashi is sashimi selected by the chef that is placed over sushi rice. It is mixed with red, pepper paste and sesame oil. Amazing flavor combination. The fresh fish + crisp vegetables + thick, sweet/spicy pepper paste + soy sauce + sesame sauce= SAVORY tasting experience.  Okonomiyaki is a japanese pancake. Thick, fluffly and filled with an array of meats and veggies, okonomiyaki is cooked like a pancaked then topped liked a pizza. The Niku Niku, Okonomiyaki is sprinkled with fish flakes then decorated with tonkasu sauce and mayo~
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Thank-you for tasty food Niku Niku: Gochisōsama-deshita (ごちそうさまでした). It was quite a feast~ Always stellar service and well-prepared food. Consistency is the key! I give Niku Niku a SAVORY degree of taste.


Till next tiq,

Kaikatsu wa keko ni saku hana daCheerfulness is the very flower of health


Restaurant Information 

Niku Niku Toyo on Urbanspoon

Address: 840 S Waukegan Rd #113, Lake Forest, IL
Phone:  (847) 234-8797