You may have issues with the service, and sushi purists no doubt will haggle about the finer points of the sashimi. But even the biggest cynic will give props to Republic for one thing: With its sleek white bar, curved banquette and oversize flat-screen airing anime, Republic has succeeded in making the Four Points Sheraton—believe it or not—sexy.
And yet the decor worried me. Republic is owned by the same folks who own Shine Morida, and I suspected this place might suffer from the same problem that dogs that Lincoln Park staple: nice room, mediocre food. But as I sipped my smooth sake mojito, those worries faded. Turns out sake smooths out a lot of things; here it’s added to soy sauce to round out the salty edges. Sake–soy sauce turned out to be a perfect addition to the signature Republic maki—whose flavor started off sweet (thanks to the unagi sauce) and ended with the herbal punch of cilantro—and the yellowtail and salmon sashimi, which were flavorful but a little mushy. While the lemongrass shrimp was perfectly cooked and packed plenty of bite, and the ribs had a sweet-and-savory glaze that made the slightly tough meat worth chomping through, it was dessert that made the greatest impression. The orange-ginger crème brûlée looked unassuming and typical, and at first it tasted that way. But soon the ginger kicked in with a tickle to the back of the of the throat, keeping taste buds awake—and any preconceived notions in check.