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The much-hyped barstaurant from R.J. and Jerrod Melman, the sons of Lettuce Entertain You mogul Rich Melman, offers a contemporary menu ranging from sushi to burgers to tacos to something called "crispy baked potato debris."

Our Review

As we dithered over half-finished plates in the packed dining room of Hub 51, the restaurant debut of Rich Melman spawn R.J. and Jerrod, my pal and I challenged ourselves to think of one nice thing we could say about it before we'd allow ourselves to escape. And we continued to sit, until our server blinked past the headlights in her eyes and began to twitch. Maybe I shouldn't blame her. It's not a place to puzzle over the unimaginative menu, or even expect a serious recommendation for what's particularly tasty (hummus? really?), but rather a place to direct your eyes around the room and try to spot a celebrity among the conventioneers. But should you actually be here to eat you might have trouble zeroing in on the tiresome and dissipated selection of sushi rolls, soft tacos, burgers, salads, and platters. There's a lot of fish on the menu, and if the serviceable ahi tuna poke--the only plate we had the strength to finish--is any indication, that might be the way to go. Otherwise you're taking your chances with bulked-up bar food like a heaping plate of pulled chicken nachos smothered in cold roasted-tomato salsa and half-melted, half-congealed cheese or an open-faced BLT, an overdressed disaster salad of frisee, bacon cut two ways, tomatoes, and blue cheese atop a thick piece of toast. Meatier plates feature usual suspects like braised short ribs, Chilean sea bass, and pork tenderloin, but grasping for something special, we were defeated by "The Dude," a $35 18-ounce model of stringy, supermarket-quality rib eye. The ramekin of Parmesan-crusted mashed potatoes it arrived with was . . . ummm . . . nice. Check, please.

Mike Sula

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