Lao 18

18 Again

Tony Hu Brings Szechuan to River North

9c19ac0acf752b07d70a70b1478c0fd91885142312 PhotosLao 18
River North. Great place. Lots of fun. Crazy nights.

But good luck finding Shanghai-style jellyfish when you really need it.

Oh, wait. Sure you can: Lao 18, a new supercharged Chinese restaurant and cocktail spot, opens Thursday. Crisis averted.

Chinatown’s royal emperor—who you simply call Tony Hu—is involved with this venture. It brings the greatest hits of his various regional Far East cuisines closer to the greatest hits of your various party spots.

In some respects, it’s very traditional. Chinese-style murals. Silk lanterns. Big gilded birdcages above the booths. Two enormous rice bowls hanging upside down from the ceiling. Okay, so not that traditional. Still, you’ve got your Chinese-restaurant favorites like twice-cooked pork belly, spring rolls, stir-fried lobster and Hu’s famous Peking duck.

But you can also find yourself here after dinner, just hanging out, grooving to a DJ and sipping a few mango-chili martinis or sake.

And heads up: there’s an off-menu Szechuan-peppercorn-infused bourbon that’s topped with Maotai, a 106-proof Chinese liquor. Yep, 106 proof. Mao served it to Nixon, and Jinping toasted Obama with it.

So it definitely passes your “Has Richard Nixon and/or Barack Obama tried this?” test.

Vitals

Lao 18
18 W Hubbard St
(between Dearborn and State)
Chicago, IL 60654
312-955-8018
website

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