Seven Lions, the newest restaurant from master sommelier and former Check, Please host Alpana Singh (The Boarding House) and chef Chris Curren opened February 19 right across the street from the Art Institute. Since then, the restaurant has been packing in guests (locals and out-of-towners) and generating a lot of early positive comments on social media. Check out these early impressions.
The service news: Singh is going to great lengths to ensure guests have the best experience, even following up on Yelp reviews both positive and negative (she offers the following request to guests: "Before you Yelp, let us help!"). She admits in one follow-up that they "don't always get it right," but strive to do their very best. One Yelper wrote that she "had high expectations" when a large group she was with visited earlier this month, but that a "pretty terrible" waitress rained on the group's parade. They also took umbrage with the valet service, complaining that it took a long time for them to get everyone's cars. However, server Mark impressed one guest who said he "was attentive but not intrusive." A visitor from San Francisco gave big props to all of the service staff, particularly his waitress, who chatted with him and his wife after her service and their meal was over while they all waited for cabs.
The food and drink news: Curren's menu takes a few hits, with one Yelper echoing a few others' when he says that "overall the food was very bland." But then many more on the review site find the food "to be creative, interesting and out of this world delicious." Food blogger Erica Eckman praises the restaurant's burger as "one of Chicago's best." A review left on the restaurant's Facebook page says that their "excellent selection" of beers, wines and cocktails made "this long time beer lover ready to delcare allegiance to the mixed drink camp." A Yelper looking for a wider selection of non-alcoholic brews was upset that they only served Sharp's. Meanwhile, they do get praise from someone on Foursquare for making a "good basic Bloody Mary," which a Yelper also praised, citing the "added bonus" of spicy beef jerky as a garnish that impressed.
Décor and ambiance news: A Yelper visiting from Indianapolis praised the ability to "carry on a conversation without shouting" despite a "bustling" evening out where every table was occupied (something other Yelpers praise as well). A Facebook review did not like the "really loud" pop music that "absolutely doesn't fit the upscale vibe" of the restaurant. Others love the "absolutely beautiful" décor that is augmented by the view of the Art Institute and of Michigan Avenue. Another raving fan says that "from the moment you enter the restaurant, the word ‘wow,' begins repeating in your head," and they say that the décor is "intelligently designed" for its placement of plants along a wall to hide the bar TVs from diners' views. A Twitter post gives Seven Lions "10 points for a classy décor!!"