Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel, 1 W. Wacker Dr., has always seemed to have a reputation as a more formal place with a sustained air of tradition.
Not that tradition is bad ( in most cases ), but sometimes it's also good to shake things up here and there. A recent visit to the hoteland the eatery Staytion ( renaissance-hotels.marriott.com/events/renaissance-chicago-downtown-hotel/04-09-2015-mix-bite-and-play-at-staytion ) confirmed this.
Executive Chef Daniel Perez told Savor that the name comes from the fact that Staytion is supposed to resemble a CTA station. Indeed, there are components that bring the CTA to mind, such as the murals on the north sides of some of the surrounding pillars and the window from which chefs dispense their wares.
The idea of having eateries with a Chicago theme is hardly new. However, Staytion certain brings a different ( and modern ) take on the approachfrom unique wall maps on the wall to artwork of a taxi made with pencils. There is also a game of sorts at the bar area, as patrons can match depictions of Chicago-based celebrities behind the bartender with names that are painted on the ceiling.
The decor also reflects sleekness and openness. ( I know I'm talking a lot about how Staytion's decked out, but there's a lot of innovation here. ) There are very unique chairs ( some more comfortable than others ), stadium seating in another spot and what's called the "artists' lounge."
As for the cuisine, it's impressive. ( It's being advertised as a unique take on street food. ) The burrata was among the best I've ever had and my friend really liked the large cup of potato chips ( which is a deal at 99 cents ). The mushroom sage flatbread and tuna crudo were also top-of-the line.
However, be sure to save room for dessert, as they might even be better than the appetizers and entrees. My friend and I sampled different varieties of eclair, for example, filled with chocolate goodnessbut even those are outshone by the deep-fried croissant pieces that were rolled in chocolate and topped with drizzles of chocolate.
By the way, there's also a huge June 11 event to officially open the hotel with singer Robin Thicke at 7-10 p.m. An RSVP is required at www.renaissancechicagodowntown.com .