The northwest corner of Hubbard and State streets ( in Chicago's River North area ) has seen its fair share of restaurants come and go, including Bar Umbriago ( which I still miss ), Centro and Vong's Thai Kitchen.
However, one hopes the restaurant gods will smile upon Imperial Lamian ( 6 W. Hubbard St.; Imperial-Lamian.com )an Indonesian-based restaurant making its initial U.S. appearanceand allow it to stay for a long time. It's a fantastic place.
Imperial Lamian ( named after hand-pulled lamian noodles ) features Chinese cuisine with dishes prepared by three master chefs expertly trained in their individual craftsmaking for the best Chinese restaurant that's not in Chinatown.
I started things off at a recent media visit with a very tasty drink known as a Lantern Four-9ine ( with four and nine being good-luck numbers this yearthe year of the fire monkey ). Things got better from there, with favorites include the chicken wing stuffed with tiger shrimp; kicky Chinese pickles; comforting miso soup; crispy duck salad, with shallots, pomegranate and hoisin-truffle dressing; soup dumplingsincluding one with Gruyere cheese; jasmine tea-smoked ribs ( my favorite dish ); and a dramatically presented seafood fried rice.
There are two caveats. Conversation may require talking a little louder, as the restaurant's capacity can reach 200 people ( although some of those people will be in semi-private rooms ). Also, despite the presence of children on the night I visited, the menu prices might prevent a lot of families from hitting this spot, say, every week ( primarily because you'll want to try at least five or six dishes ). However, it's a very special place that deserves to be savored.
Hamburger Mary's on 'Undercover Boss'
There will be a viewing party to mark Hamburger Mary's being on the CBS show Undercover Boss.
The event will take place Sunday, May 15, at 8 p.m. at 5402 N. Clark St. Ashley and Brandon Wright, the co-owners of Hamburger Mary's, will be featured on the episode.
See "Hamburger Mary's on 'Undercover Boss' Viewing Party" on Facebook.