TAO Chicago

Special dessert stout cake with chocolate soft serve

$99 omakase

Eight 8 Greens Fried Rice

Interior

Interior

Interior

Exterior

Satay of Chilean Sea Bass with miso

**** (4 stars)

Obviously, TAO is stunning. It’s probably the most impressive dining room I’ve been in, and that is steep competition. Of course, that makes one all the more suspicious that the food and service don’t need to live up to the decor. I’m pleased to say that was not the case, and I came away from TAO a fan.

I went at opening on a Sunday because I wanted a quieter environment and to avoid the club scene that develops next door later in the evening. And indeed, it was a reasonable noise level until near the end of my meal.

The compact wine list has some nice choices, including a stellar Gruner Veltliner that was wonderful with my first course, a miso crusted satay of Chilean Sea Bass (okay, Patagonian Toothfish if you want to be pedantic). It was probably my favorite item of the whole meal.

The other dish I really loved was the 8 greens fried rice, a succulent blend of veggies that I had to push away from myself to keep from finishing the whole bowl!

Tao is kind of expensive, so I ordered the largest omakase figuring it wouldn’t be all that big. I should have known I was in trouble when my waiter suggested I change tables so he’d have room to put it down! I ended up at the under-used sushi bar on a corner for four people. Holy cow that was a lot of fish for $99! Two people would have been pressed to finish it.

The various sashimi slices were good, but the highlight was the nigiri assortment, each topped with a different relish or pepper. I was less enthusiastic about the specialty rolls, which both had an almost pureed inside consistency. The “tacos” also seemed superfluous. But I would definitely get nigiri sushi here again.

Service was friendly and attentive.

I highly recommend TAO if you’re looking for wow factor, and the food is almost as good as the decor.

TAO Chicago
632 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL
60654
(224) 888-0388
https://www.yelp.com/biz/tao-chicago-chicago-2

48 Lounge

*** (3 stars)

I’m an old fuddy duddy, but this place was close to the theatre, the hotel, and was open late. Lounge seating is–let’s face it–uncomfortable, and the soundtrack makes it almost impossible to converse, so going in I knew it would have two strikes against it from my point of view. But the drink list and wines were interesting, and the food was okay. Pork sliders were the best, followed by the kobe hot dogs. Tater tots, spinach artichoke dip and hummus were okay but nothing special. If you like lounge ambiance and are in the area, it’s worth a shot (pun intended).

48 Lounge
1221 Ave Of The Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 554-4848
http://www.yelp.com/biz/48-lounge-new-york

Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant

**** (4 stars)

I’m not a big fan of bustling restaurants, but I really enjoy the ambiance at Ceviche. There are literally hundreds of things to try, including–yes–excellent ceviche. I like the cold assortments of meats and cheeses, and the sangria is very tasty. Waiters are good at getting you in and out, so it’s a great place to go before a concert at the Amway.

Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant
125 W Church St
Orlando, FL 32801
(321) 281-8140
http://www.yelp.com/biz/ceviche-tapas-bar-and-restaurant-orlando-2