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The new spot from the Bar Louie folks offers lighter fare in the downstairs bar and a more ambitious menu in an upstairs dining room.

Our Review

The former Monday's site has been given a hefty makeover; now it's a sharp yet mellow after-work destination for Loop office workers, complete with circular booths upholstered in suede and a candle-filled sandstone "fireplace." There are the usual flat-screen TVs above the bar, but it's still possible to have a quiet conversation. An ambitious (and assertively priced) menu of new American cuisine will have those with expense accounts reaching for their wallets; others may want to think twice, although there's also more casual fare like sliders and sandwiches. Starters include shrimp tacos, barbecue chicken-stacked polenta cakes, and a satisfying goat cheese gratin accompanied by tapenade and pesto crostini. Entrees run the gamut from fish to fowl and two kinds of steak, but if you're vegetarian then you're out of luck (though there are a half-dozen salads to choose from). The pork chop Milanese was tender and well prepared if unexceptional--even the side of arugula and peppers was like something I could make at home if I wanted to. However, the chipotle chicken breast with candied pecans was exceptional: seriously spicy and sweet with crispy skin and a puree of arugula off to the side to cool things down when necessary. To finish things off we tried the mini dessert tray: three stubby tumblers of chocolate mousse, key lime pie, and apple bread pudding--perfect for sharing. Midtown also serves lunch and has a "grab-and-go" carryout menu.

Rob Christopher

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Price: $$$
Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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