[Photos: Timothy Hiatt]
A new restaurant and lounge recently opened in River North, atypical to what you'd generally find on Hubbard Street. Red Violet, an upscale modern Chinese restaurant, opened its doors in mid-February to fill a void in the neighborhood for more refined, yet affordable Chinese food (especially after Ben Pao closed its doors this fall). The menu was created by Franky Fong (Lao Beijing, Lao Sze Chuan). The restaurant, managed by Rocky Law, is sibling to the River East Japanese restaurant, Niu Japanese Fusion.
The 7,000-square-foot space has a 250-seat dining room as well as a bar and lounge area. The dining room exhibits a color scheme of red and violet, representing the Chinese belief of universal harmony when red and blue are combined to make violet. Chinese artwork and artifacts are found throughout the dining room. The lower level of the restaurant contains a lounge and private room with seating for 12.
The menu focuses primarily on Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing cuisine, but offers many dishes that you wouldn't find at a typical Chinese restaurant. Some signature menu items include: foie gras wonton soup; kumquat wasabi prawns with toasted walnuts; fried rice with scallop, crabmeat, egg white, caviar and asparagus; and Sichuan dan dan noodles in a spicy peanut sauce. You can peruse the entire menu below.
The restaurant is currently BYOB as it awaits its liquor license, but will eventually serve wine, craft beers and signature cocktails. The restaurant will be open everyday for lunch and dinner, Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11a.m. to midnight, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10p.m. The restaurant will also begin delivery and takeout this spring.