China GrillThe Loop
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This is the Chicago location of the glitzy New York-based restaurant chain (it's also in Miami, Las Vegas and Mexico City), the in-house restaurant of the Hard Rock Hotel.
The Pan-Asian menu here is similar to the other outposts, with most menu items prepared on woks or grills in the open kitchen. Portions are oversized so sharing is encouraged. Look for appetizers such as coriander-dusted shrimp with Asian slaw, yuzu glaze and red pepper sauce; and crab cakes with tomatillo-pineapple three-mustard sake sauce. Entree choices include sake-marinated "drunken chicken," with ponzu sauce, sweet crispy onions and Asian slaw; and seared beef tenderloin with wasabi-panko potato cake and whole grain mustard. The splashy interior features high-drama glass wine-cellar pillars and what seems like hundreds of flickering candles. And be sure to check out the floor near the entry of the dining room--excerpts from Marco Polo's diary are inscribed in the tiles. Specialty drinks include sake-tinis and custom martinis jacked up with infused-sake choices like lemongrass and lychee.