Republic Restaurant and Lounge
Location – 58 W. Ontario, 312-440-1818
In one word – Sceney
Food – I went to this place during it’s opening week and was pleasantly surprised. The food is more upscale than your usual pan-Asian locale (Big Bowl) and slightly more authentic (though how authentic can you be with PAN-Asian cuisine?). We started out with a sushi roll. You know, I didn’t love it. There was something a bit mundane about it. But that’s okay, we’ll just note that Republic doesn’t excel at sushi. There are plenty of other things it does well. I stuck by my old favorite, sesame tofu. It was on par with that of Ping Pong’s in Lakeview. Friends of mine had the orange chicken (delicious but still standard), the red curry chicken (a speciality of the place, I’d order it on a future visit) and the hot pot. Metromix said that this place was a bit bland, which is true. However, isn’t pan-Asian sort of the wimps way of eating Asian food anways? My point is I don’t think that the blandness really affected the eating experience.
Drink – Despite the large amount of typos on the drink menu, there was a lot offered. I stuck with the server’s wine recommendation and was quite content. Friends of mine had mojitos. Why do you get a mojito at an Asian restaurant? Their next drinks were Sapphoras.
Service – Going opening week meant there were inevitably kinks in the system. Despite this, our server was very pleasant and honest. The place was built to be sceney, so when it takes off, I wonder if the service will be as attentive.
Occasion – Big tables, hip music. Come with friends before a night out. Or come with a date. If you really want to converse, this might not be the atmosphere. I felt like I was eating in a club. Not a criticism, just saying you have to be in the mood for that kind of environment.
Dress – I came underdressed despite my attempt to mimic the Sienna Miller slouchy boot/oversized sweater look. As we were finishing the meal, many people came in who probably started primping early that morning. Wear that hot little dress you’ve been saving for a night out to this place. Guys would fit in with the toolish blazer and jeans look.
Cost – Yeah, this was a downside. I think I shelled out $50+ for my meal, sushi portion (we split it) and two drinks. I mean I liked the place, but maybe not for $50+.
If you liked…, try – Opera, Ping Pong