Cherry Circle Room | Loop | Classic Bar, American | Bar
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Andrea Bauer

Cocktails and food from the Land and Sea Dept. inside the Chicago Athletic Association hotel.

Our Review

The Cherry Circle Room, inside the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, is a majestic dining space where not even a soundtrack of the Stooges and Nick Cave can burn off the mist of louche exclusivity—it’s the most physically impressive project yet from Land & Sea Dept. (Longman & Eagle, Lost Lake, etc). The grandeur is further enhanced by the framed silk banners of imaginary secret societies that hang on the walls and the arcane symbols painted on the serviceware. The menu doesn't stray far from the comfortably familiar—there are steaks, a chop, chicken, duck, halibut, and of course a burger. But CCR also offers opportunities for splurging, such as caviar, a 30-day dry-aged rib eye, and tableside cocktail service. In short, there's the requisite amount of variety in both dishes and pricing to satisfy the broad demands of a range of itinerant guests. The presentation rivals that at any of the nearby expense-account steak houses, and while the char on a 48-ounce tomahawk prime rib makes the steak look like it could cleave a skull in two, its pink interior is lush, buttery, and rich. The misses—for instance, an overcooked halibut fillet—seem extra regrettable if only for the promise that they show. The service is slow, but that's a surmountable problem. And once it's surmounted, this old boys' club is going to be an excellent retreat from the Michigan Avenue madness.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$$

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