Monday, May 9, 2022

Renga Tei

-Grubbing in Chicago(land)  
Japanese Comfort Food in Lincolnwood

I first visited Renga Tei almost a decade ago. The reason for my visit was it was mentioned as a viable replacement for Sunshine Cafe, formerly of Edgewater. Sunshine Cafe was a classic spot that served Japanese comfort food. The type of place that can be tough to find these days with so many of them having shuttered (Sunshine Cafe closed in 2012). Renga Tei is one of the few that remain. 

Locals Favorite in Lincolnwoood

There's not much online info on the history of this place but a description on google says its been open since 1991. It's located in Lincolnwood right off I94 so without traffic it's a quick trip from the city. It's pretty nondescript on the outside while the inside feels like an old school Japanese restaurant. It's pretty much always busy especially during peak hours for lunch and dinner. They offer a complete sushi bar but in my opinion these type of Japanese spots excel at comfort food moreso than sushi. 

Potato / Pasta Salad at Renga Tei

Japanese comfort food is considered stuff like donburi (rice bowls), tempura, and bento box which can consist of multiple comfort foods in one meal. Yoshoku is another popular form of Japanese comfort food. It's what they call the food of Japan that's cooked with western influence. Items like potato salad which the Japanese excel at. At Renga Tei they do a carb on carb recipe that mixes potatoes and macaroni and it's always on the specials board. If you look around the dining room during a lunch and or dinner rush you'll notice lots of bento boxes from table to table. I enjoy the shrimp tempura option served up for lunch with four pieces of sushi and a rotating protein which is a ginger beef pictured below. You also get miso soup and a salad but the shrimp is just ok compared to other tempura options further out in the NW suburbs. But sometimes you don't want to go that far. 

Shrimp Tempura Bento Box at Sunshine Cafe

Over time my go-to order at Renga Tei has become their yakisoba noodles. Stir fried soba noodles are a big time Japanese comfort food and Renga Tei does the best version I've found around town. Actually this is a dish I tend to make at home but Renga Tei is the one I turn to when I don't feel like rounding up all of the ingredients. Not only is it loaded with your protein of choice (I like the chicken) but it's got lots of stir fried veggies mixed in and it's always seasoned really well. If you enjoy a big plate of yakisoba from time to time you might want to check this one out. Always a satisfying stop. 

Yakisoba at Renga Tei 

Renga Tei
3956 W Touhy Ave
Lincolnwood, IL 60712
(847) 675-5177

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