TAO Restaurant Review:
About the restaurant & décor: There’s nothing understated about TAO. Set foot into the former Chicago Historical Society building and be greeted immediately by drama: murals created by British graffiti artist Hush, custom-made furniture and opulent Asian antiques. Peek around and you might see a celebrity in your midst, yet everyone feels the star power upon descending into the subterranean dining room flanked by a 40-foot staircase on one end and a Quan Yin statue on the other.
Likes: Breathtaking murals, furniture and eye candy.
Dislikes: Stick to cocktails and sushi.
Food & Drinks: The sensory overload that is TAO builds hype that the food will be on the same level. Some dishes work, some didn’t. The bright spots? Appetizers such as the spicy tuna tartare on crispy rice and the tangy tuna poke with pickled ginger guacamole with wasabi. Sushi was a strong suit; if money is no object, splurge on the omakase. Thanks to Chicago’s beef heritage, meat plays a huge role, with Korean steak ssam, a bone-in rib-eye and a Wagyu beef rib-eye teppanyaki sating carnivore cravings. Pair these dishes with several options of reds and whites, including large format, special occasion bottles such as a 2013 Silver Oak Cab. Skip dessert for a specialty cocktail (the photo-ready Ruby Red Dragon) or saké by the glass or bottle.