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Red Violet (CLOSED)

Restaurants, Chinese River North
Photograph: Martha Williams Red Violet Cafe

This sprawling split-level space decked out with Chinese curios appears to have the trappings to entice a River North crowd. But on this increasingly competitive stretch of Hubbard, it’s going to take more than kumquat cocktails to lure the masses. Chef Franky Fong is a veteran of Tony Hu’s Chinatown empire, and he executes standards with ease: Crispy salt-and-pepper calamari is a greaseless tangle; tender beef hunks bob in a Szechuan-style hot chili broth; and baby Chinese cabbages soak up the juices of Cantonese-style sautéed shrimp and scallops. But these are Chinatown standards, not exactly the “Modern Chinese” advertised with the moniker and, unfortunately, not likely to entice the scene seekers nearby.


Venue name: Red Violet (CLOSED)
Address: 121 W Hubbard St

Cross street: at LaSalle Dr
Opening hours: Lunch, dinner
Transport: El stop: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Merchandise Mart; Red to Grand.
Price: Average main course: $17
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