Sullivan’s Steakhouse, which closed last year in River North, will be replaced by a restaurant that’s ideal for the Instagram generation. Barton G. purports itself to be a happy place, with dishes that sit up on props like the “Lawn MOO-er”: a 48-ounce beef porterhouse that’s presented on the hood of a push lawn mower. If the steak isn’t enough, there’s the sadly named “Thai Sexual Surf N Turf” — crispy chicken wings and baked grouper served with an assemblage of artifacts — like an elephant head — that look like they’ve been ripped from the Thailand stage in the Street Fighter video games.
The elephant head is manufactured in Miami — where the first Barton G. opened — along with the rest of Barton G.’s props. The “multi-sensory experience” feels like a dash of Willy Wonka mixed with the Rainforest Cafe. A rep said they’re still finalizing the Chicago menu and hope to open in November at 415 N. Dearborn Street. Chef Erwin Mallett — who as the Tribune pointed out worked for Webster’s Wine Bar and Chicago Firehouse — will handle kitchen duties in River North. Barton G. also opened an LA location in 2013.
The cocktails get the same treatment as the entrees. There seems to be an obsession with Buddha idols: “Buddhalicious” features a setting with a smiling Buddha and a trail of fortune cookies. The martini-style drink consists of Absolut pear vodka, lychee puree, cranberry, club soda with a nitrogenized “pop” of pear vodka.
A gold-colored dessert, “Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all!!!!,” features a giant fake $100 bill, a bundle of fake dynamite, and fake coins. If customers care by the time they’re finding the right light for their smartphone cameras, they can eat the chocolate ganache and dulce de leche tart, insde a gold brick shell. Servers strap on a welder’s mask and use a blowtorch to melt the bar and toast the meringue table side.
It’s a drastic change for the space, as for 20 years, Sullivan’s was a popular happy hour hang that attracted athletes like members of the White Sox during baseball season. Barton G. should be a popular spot for birthdays and parties, purporting to bring a tinge of dinnertime theater to Chicago. A rep said more details will be released in the coming weeks.