O'H American Grill

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One of the highlights of the $60 million transformation of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, O'H American Grill joins an ever-growing list of remarkable hotel eateries. Although situated in the atrium lobby, the restaurant features Johnson Studios' design of "pods" or havens, insuring a sense of intimacy. Some of the pervasive gray concrete that makes up most of the 1971 hotel design was chucked and replaced by warmer woods and furniture covered in eggplant and chestnut colored fabrics. Watch the hotel elevators scurry up and down as you ponder a baker's dozen of designer martinis, Manhattans, margaritas (including an especially luscious prickly pear version), cognacs, scotch, wines by the glass and more. Executive Chef Louis Pignotti's ambitious menu of contemporary American comfort food nods to Southern cuisine with an abundance of fresh local produce. The true test of a happening kitchen is when you order a starter you can get just about anywhere -- i.e. crabcakes -- and be wowed by its texture, flavor and sheer amount of crab. Barbecue baby-back ribs may rival those from your favorite city joint: They emerge from the smoker slathered in a perky sauce that'll elicit a bead or two of sweat on your brow. This is Chicago, so tourists expect steaks and chops, and the kitchen turns out excellent rosemary-marinated double pork chops, filet, T-Bone, NY and a "Tomahawk" steak on the bone that weighs in at 32 ounces. Fresh salmon, grouper, one pasta dish and slow smoked prime rib (Wednesdays only) round out the menu. Diners can lighten it up with a traditional Cobb or Caesar salad and a steamy bowl of chicken soup with kreplach and matzo balls. Calming music helps belie the fact that you're dining in the lobby of a super-busy convention hotel.