Republic, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge that opened a few weeks ago in River North, has had something of a rough start. It has a good pedigree - it’s helmed by Chef Evan Packer of Narcisse, and is owned by the Zhang family who also run Rise and Shine…wait, we have to take a moment to laugh at “rise and shine;” in our heads, we had always said “ree-zay” and “shee-nay.” Did the Zhangs make a funny? We hope so.
Right, onto the critical reaction. Chris LaMorte, trying it only a fortnight into its existence, excoriated the cooking, declaring that the dishes “were terribly bland in a way that suggested the kitchen had test marketed away any trace of personality, as if the chef didn’t want to offend anyone.” A damn shame, that. And looking over the menu, it doesn’t seem like they’re trying anything that hasn’t been done before at a zillion restaurants in the city. There is, however, some hope: Stephanie Berger, the GM, assures that Republic is still refining its flavor profiles, and promises that they are “going to take it to the next level.” And for the sake of the brand, they had better.
[Photo: The Statue of the Republic, chicagokristi/flickr]