THE LOOP

Red Eye Chicago - - Around Town -

Cherry Cir­cle Room A quiet al­ter­na­tive to the Chicago Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion ho­tel’s re­lent­lessly crowded rooftop bar, Cherry Cir­cle Room is also one of the most hand­some din­ing spa­ces in the city, with leather, wood and clubby good looks. Ex­ec­u­tive chef Pe­ter Coe­nen’s menu re­calls steakhouse clas­sics in his re­fined takes on Cae­sar salad and tuna tartare, even though there’s just one steak on the menu.

Open: Break­fast, lunch and din­ner daily. Prices: En­trees $16-$38. 12 S. Michi­gan Ave., 312792-3515. — P.V.

Free Rein Free Rein is the Where’s Waldo of Chicago restau­rants, hid­ing be­hind a wall of shaded glass on Michi­gan Av­enue. The menu fea­tures a few nods to chef Aaron Lirette’s for­mer GreenRiver, in­clud­ing the fried chicken oys­ters and the spaghetti in sea-urchin sauce. Among the raw dishes, the madai carpac­cio is a stand­out. There are seafood tow­ers sized for two, four or six — pricey, nat­u­rally, but in line with what steak­houses charge. The roasted stur­geon is a star in the mak­ing; the fil­let is poached in duck fat, then seared on one side, and it’s a gor­geous piece of fish. Break­fast in­cludes grab-and-go pas­try op­tions by ex-Six­teen’s Evan Sheri­dan, who also helms the dessert menu.

Open: Break­fast, lunch, din­ner daily. Prices: En­trees $35-$38. 224 N. Michi­gan Ave., 312334-6700. P.V.

— Stead­fast The most am­bi­tious restau­rant to hit the Loop in a long time is a small-plates Amer­i­can spot. There’s a lot to love: the com­plex cook­ing of chef Chris Davies, the su­perb bread and dessert from pas­try chef Chris Teix­eira, and im­pres­sive

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