A boisterous Gold Coast space, popular with locals and the occasional celebrity, last week debuted a new restaurant with luxurious options like champagne, caviar, and American wagyu. Mansion on Rush touts itself as a fusion restaurant with Japanese-meets-Latin fare. It’s located in a second-floor notable space that previously housed upscale lounge Stockton and trendy pan Asian restaurant Jellyfish.
Managing partner Rodrigio Ferrari Millicardi is son of the late restaurateur Luigi Millicardi (Signature Room at the 95th, Ovie Bar and Grill, Le Ciel Bleu). This is his first first solo project and he says he’s wanted to open a Japanese-Latin restaurant for years. The Stockton had high hopes when it opened in the summer of 2019, but wasn’t able to survive the pandemic. The previous tenant, Jellyfish, was popular with celebs including former Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler.
The vacancy at 1009 N. Rush Street provided Millicardi an opportunity, and he wants to open locations in Mexico and Dubai. His team has spent nearly every moment since preparing for the fast-approaching launch. Now that the doors are open, he’s all smiles. “I’m so lucky, I must have a rabbit’s foot up my ass,” he jokes.
Millicardi has brought on two chefs: Alberto Padilla (La Scarola) and Chris Traynor (Pl8 Simply Asian). The pair work in separate kitchens. Padilla handles hot options including octopus (red pepper coulis, roasted tomatillos) and American wagyu filets. Traynor is in charge of the raw bar with caviar, sushi, and sashimi. Cold options include the maki like “Diamondback” (kanpachi, blue fin tuna, cilantro mojo sauce, serrano chili, avocado cream, ponzu pearls). The chefs plan to introduce brunch next month, along with an atypical afternoon tea featuring sushi spears on a tiered silver tray and tea selections from Rare Tea Cellars.
In keeping with Mansion’s luxury theme, the drink menu feature 20 varieties of champagnes. Customers will also find wine, beer, an espresso bar, and cocktails such as the Kaiyo Old Fashioned (Kaiyo Cask, maple syrup, orange bitters).
Diners and drinkers entering from Rush Street take a short elevator ride to the second floor and emerge in front of a welcome desk at the juncture of the restaurant’s three discrete spaces: the salon, the veranda, and the Champagne lounge. All are outfitted in a monochromatic color palette with metallic and marble accents, in a stark departure from the Stockton’s vivid red walls and decorative green plants.
The salon, a long and narrow space on the left side of the restaurant, houses a row of two-top tables on one side and a heavy black marble bar with eight seats on the other. The space is flanked by a round VIP table featuring black-and-white striped wingback chairs. Past that table, diners will find the veranda, a glassed-in atrium with 45 seats across two- and four-top tables, and a plush black banquette along a back wall. Operators also plan to install a $580,000 retractable glass roof in late July, bringing fresh air into the dining room.
The Champagne lounge, located on the right-hand side of the front desk, features a pair of enormous French doors will eventually secure the reservation-only room from peering eyes, (but for now they’re held up in customs, according to staff). Inside, a white marble floor contrasts with jet-black walls and furniture. Three marble lounge tables seat six each, and a second bar has space for six more.
There’s also a special inset spot with a Mansion logo and flattering lighting for promotional selfies, an elevated VIP table, a built-in DJ booth with a camera that will stream sets online. Performers will turn up the music starting at 10 p.m. on weekends, but there’s no dancing, according to GM Ryan Johnson. The celebrity clientele Mansion hopes to attract can even enter up a back stairwell that’s painted with red and gold murals by local artist John Vergara.
As the restaurant team in Chicago catches its breath from the race to launch, Millicardi is already planning to take the brand on the road. He aims over the next few years to open Mansion locations in Dubai, Tulum, and South Beach, Florida.
Mansion on Rush, 1009 N. Rush Street, 2nd Floor, Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday.