Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wicker Park's Late-Night Hang Rodan Goes Legit With New Chefs, Menus & Cocktails

Rodan's new Korean BBQ of marinated beef kalbi, hot rock, steamed rice and house-made kimchee. (Photos: Rodan)

It's been a few weeks now since Wicker Park's Rodan had a dramatic makeover under new owner, Eric Chaleff. The self-proclaimed heavy metal guitarist also curated the Asian-inspired beverage program and recruited a talented team to help him fulfill his dream of making the late-night hang a legit dining destination.

Corey Gillom (NoMI, Japonais, Longman & Eagle, The Slurping Turtle) and Michael Torto (Lockdown Bar & Grill) are behind the new menu with dishes that are contemporary and focused, yet remain neighborhood friendly. There's nothing above $15, with highlights ranging from the curry croquettes that come with a dill yogurt sauce to bao steamed buns filled with tofu, pulled pork or beer-battered fish.

What's certain to be a scene stealer will be the burgers—which have the influence from Torto's stellar days over at popular burger destination Lockdown. This time, they're dripping with Asian flavor, from the black bean burger with wasabi mayo to the Korean kimchee burger with pulled pork, chili aioli and a fried egg. He's also created a banh mi that comes with fried chicken, lemongrass tofu or pulled pork and topped with mushroom pate, pickled carrot, daikon and jalapeno.

Bao steamed buns filled with tofu, pulled pork or beer-battered fish.

Chaleff's drink menu looks fun too, as he's also playing with Asian influences and has added a number of by-the-glass sake selections.

Here's his cocktail menu for fall:

Marichelda (Togarashi spice, tomato juice, PBR)

Ginger Hibiscus Margarita (El Jimador, hum, fresh lime, ginger, grapefruit bitters)

Lychee Martini (vodka, lychee juice, pineapple juice, lychee fruit)

Lychee Royale (cava, lychee juice, lychee fruit)

China Rose (rye whiskey, lime, Muscato–Brachetto)

Falling Tears (served hot; rum, Jobs Tears tea, pear honey, Chinese five spice)

Momiji (rye, Antica Carpano, wild cherry bark bitters, jujube honey)

Tottori (bourbon, pineapple, cherry heering, coconut, mint)

White Cloud (Aquavit, lemon, white shochu, maraschino liqueur)

Dark Blossom (Suntory whisky, spiced orange tea, wild cherry bark bitters)

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