Subway: Red to Chicago (Red)(312) 573-628841.899027 -87.625725 105 E Delaware Pl (between Ernst Ct and Michigan Ave) Gold Coast, Chicago
Lunch, dinnerAverage main course: $15
In the Gold Coast, where Chinese gets inflated to triple-digit meals at Shanghai Terrace or somehow gets twisted up with Italian at Fornetto Mei, it’s almost impossible to find soulful renditions of Chinatown favorites. This holds true at the Whitehall Hotel’s new casual spot, where everything tastes as if the kitchen is held back with reins, a harness and maybe even a ball gag. Dumplings, potstickers, bao…all are snooze-inducing versions. Similarly, dishes where punchy heat and complex earthiness are a must (e.g., ma po tofu) arrive flat, zapped of any zing. To make it out vaguely satisfied, stick with the simple stuff—seafood-topped crunchy noodles; steamed buns filled with sticky pork belly—and check your expectations at the door.