Critic’s Notebook: Ria at The Elysian, Chicago


Octopus and scallops at Ria, Chicago (Brad A. Johnson)

Chef Danny Grant deserves a James Beard nomination this year, and if he doesn’t get it, dammit, I’m gonna cry foul. His cooking at Ria in Chicago (11 East Walton, 312-880-4400) is as polished and refined as I’ve ever come across from a 29-year-old chef. Hell, maybe even from anyone twice his age.  Continue reading

Quick Review: Public Hotel Chicago


Public Hotel, Chicago (Brad A. Johnson)

Legendary hotelier Ian Schrager (formerly of The Mondrian, The Royalton, Gramercy Park Hotel, etc.) recently took control of Chicago’s aging Ambassador East and transformed it into a budget-conscious hipster hotel called Public. And yes, the Ambassador East has been home to the famed Pump Room restaurant since 1938—and, like it or not, Schrager has completely revamped that, too. Continue reading

Quick Review: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago


Radisson Blu Aqua, Chicago (Brad A. Johnson)

Radisson Blu isn’t your typical Radisson. In Europe, the Blu brand is well known and respected, and the outposts in Rome and Berlin are pretty damn cool. The first American location, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, opened in Chicago last month inside the truly spectacular Aqua Tower designed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects. At 82 stories, it’s the tallest building in America designed by a woman (and it’s expecting to receive LEED certification).

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Photo of the Week: Chicago


Chicago (Brad A. Johnson)

Here’s a shot of the famous jelly bean sculpture in Millenium Park reflecting Chicago’s beautiful South Michigan Avenue–home to some of the greatest high-rise architecture of the 20th century. I’ll be posting more stories about Chicago soon. But for now, just a few images (more after the jump).

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