My wife and I spent our first night together alone since our daughter was born. We escaped to Chicago and made plans to revisit Kyoten, an absolute favorite restaurant of ours and certainly one of the most acclaimed openings in Chicago over the past year.
Kyoten is also the undisputed best sushi in the city. It’s not an inexpensive meal by any stretch ($220 per person inclusive of tax and tip but without drinks) but if you’re in Chicago and love an omakase sushi meal you must go.
This is Chef Otto Phan’s new effort. His Kyōten Sushiko was my favorite restaurant in Austin for two years. He moved to Chicago completely and upped his game to new levels. Fortunately he’s re-opening his Austin location with a new chef that his been training under him. It won’t be the same, but at a lower price point and in all likelihood still better than any other sushi we get in Austin. Austinites, he re-opens in Mueller in early May.
The restaurant in Logan Square and I decided to stay at The Robey, a Design Hotel in the Wicker Park-Bucktown area about a mile away. We didn’t have a need to be downtown in the Loop area, this is an interesting trendy neighborhood, and it would be my first Design Hotel. What’s more I could use Marriott points because of the relationship launched in 2015 with Starwood. No meaningful elite benefits to speak of, but earn and burn and elite credit.
The property is a 1929 Art Deco ‘Northwest Tower’ office building. Built in a triangular flatiron shape it’s at the intersection of Milwaukee and North Avenues. Conveniently it’s right on the Blue Line at the Damen El station, an easy shot to and from O’Hare.
Check-in is a room to the right when you walk in the front entrance. They have cookies there in the late afternoon and complimentary coffee starting at 5 a.m.
The elevator lobby retains its old school office building charm, and key fobs are necessary to reach guest floors.
Our room on the 6th floor (606) was small, but well laid out with a sitting area and long bathroom.
Toiletries are Le Labo:
The highlight was magnificent views of the Chicago skyline.
There’s an even better – panoramic – view from the hotel’s rooftop lounge.
The hotel has an $18 facilities fee. They described it as applying on award stays ‘because we’re not actually part of Marriott’ though in fact Marriott too passes along such fees on redemption nights.
Here’s what’s included — notably drinks and snacks from the minibar are complimentary.
The hotel also arranges discounts with some local establishments:
We’re right above the El, though, so you do hear the train at night. I rather enjoy city noise when I’m in New York or Chicago, but there are ear plugs in the room and there’s also a sound machine with a variety of noise options from two different white noises to the ocean, falling rain, and more. I went to sleep to the sound of falling rain.
The hotel’s neighborhood is sufficiently hipster that the Walgreens across the street carries Dom Perignon and Perrier Jouet.
There are any number of restaurants and bars nearby, although this one struck me out of place in Chicago. Mork and Mindy was a spin-off of Happy Days so maybe Milwaukee would work but the show took place in Boulder, Colorado. In any case naming a barbecue restaurant for a late 1970s sit com about a man from outer space just strikes me as odd, even if Pork and Mork do rhyme.
I did not try the barbecue though because I had much better plans – and Chef Otto Pham was absolutely at the top of his game.
I’d absolutely stay here again, as much as I hate resort fees on principle. I didn’t have breakfast at the well-regarded Cafe Robey (no elite benefits…). Right across the street from a Starbucks, though, if that’s your thing. And it offers a different taste of Chicago, that’s especially convenient as a ‘nice’ hotel near the lodging-barren Bryant Park neighborhood of my sushi destination.