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The TAO Group operates a global chain of high-end, restaurants and clubs. TAO is its Asian-inspired brand that’s located in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The restaurants offer a fun yet luxurious dining experience with a menu that blends traditional Asian cuisine with modern flavors and techniques. I’ve eaten in the Las Vegas and New York locations many times and had also been to the Los Angeles once before. Chicago (which opened in 2018) was the last location for me to try and it did not disappoint.
Anthony’s Take: I know that TAO is not for everyone. It’s loud, dark, and expensive. But, I am a fan of the brand. The food is consistently good and the ambiance makes for fun with friends, a date night, or even a place to wow the parents. The Miso Roasted Black Cod and Giant Fortune cookie are musts for me with other dishes rotating based on mood. I’m glad I got to try the Chicago location. It was as enjoyable as visits to the others in the past and I know I’ll find my way back.
Decor & Vibe
The restaurant’s design is dark and moody. It features impressive architectural details, intricate sculptures, and lavish Asian decor. Giant statues of Buddha, lanterns, and other decorative elements fill the cavernous space while a DJ spins. TAO becomes more of a club as the night progresses.
The art has feels somewhat authentic yet modern.
A giant mural fills the wall when you enter the historical building that houses TAO (it used to be the Chicago Historical Society Building, which was built in 1892).
As you climb the steps, bear left for the host stand. The lamp on the desk made me think of the Shanghai-based nightclub, Club Obi Wan, from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A lot of the place gives me this vibe.
Our table was not ready, so we went to the bar for a drink before being seated. It took about 20 minutes before I received a text to return to the host stand.
One of my favorite pictures is behind the desk.
The menu offers an extensive selection of Chinese, Thai, sushi, and other Asian-fusion dishes. I always order a ton here. Everything can be shared family style.
I have tried a lot of the menu and have found some favorites through the years.
We placed our order pretty quickly and our server said that she would course out the meal. She split it between dim sum and other dishes and the food came out in two big batches. I would have preferred it to come out a few plates at a time as the second group would not even fit on the table.
Pork Potstickers were one of the first four dishes. I loved the Chili Sesame Glaze.
The Chicken Satay was next. The chicken was tender and the sauce made it so you didn’t need the Peanut Dipping Sauce.
The Crispy Bao Buns came as well. This is one of my faves. I’m not sure why it’s not on the menu above. It’s a riff on traditional Bao and delicious.
Tempura Avocado was the next thing I tasted. The creamy avocado held up nicely when fried in the tempura batter.
The food runner came shortly after we finished the four plates above with the rest of our order. It would not have even fit on the table. I asked for two of the dishes and to have the other two after. The Miso Roasted Black Cod was first. I love this dish. My husband thought it was a little salty this time, but I disagree. It was delicious as always.
The Barbecue Duck Fried Rice was also served. The duck was perfectly cooked although the rice was a little al dente. This dish needs a little more flavor.
After these plates were cleared and we had some leftovers packed to go, we had two plates left. The Wagyu Rib-Eye Teppanyaki was so tender and delicious. It was up there with the best steaks I’ve eaten and is served with six fun dipping sauces. It was clear that the steak and our last selection were put back under the heat lamp after sending them back. They tasted great, but I know they were not remade.
Finally, we had the Drunken Lobster Pad Thai. There were huge chunks of lobster in here and it had great flavor. We were pretty full and took most of this home.
Even though we did not have much room, we did a good job devouring the Giant Fortune Cookie. It’s huge and filled with delicious White and Dark Chocolate Mousse.
TAO has a menu filled with wine, cocktails, sake, and more. We started at the bar with Brut Rose for me and the Bubbles & Berries cocktail for my husband. We stuck with these choices for subsequent drinks with dinner. Wines by the glass and cocktails are priced appropriately for this restaurant.
TAO offers consistently tasty Asian cuisine in a fun atmosphere. The Chicago location is on a par with its other locations and familiar favorites were just as good here. Service was somewhat attentive, but lost points for having all of our food come out at once.
Anthony’s Credit Card Pick: When I’m dining out, I want to maximize my points earned. My card of choice for restaurants and food delivery is the American Express® Gold Card. With it, I earn four Membership Rewards® Points for each dollar spent at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the US. It also includes up to $120 annual credit (up to $10 per month given in statement credits) for Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Plus, up to another $120 annually (up to $10 per month) in Uber Cash that I can use for Uber Eats. When I’m hungry, this is the card I choose. (Terms apply and enrollment required for select benefits.) Learn more.
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