Hours: Lunch: Monday-Saturday; Dinner: seven days
Sunday brunch Open Late: Friday & Saturday till 11
Jerry Kleiner (Marché, Carnivale, Room 21) attempts to lure the masses to Hyde Park with this straightforward contemporary American restaurant.
Park 52 is perfect if youre (a) a U. of C. student who needs a restaurant to take somewhat conservative visiting parents, (b) a local bloke out to wow a date, (c) someone who values a classy-looking room over anything, or (d) all of the above. A project of Jerry Kleiner (Marché, Carnivale, Club 33, etc), its heavy with his signature drapery and fin de siècle fixtures. But when it comes to the food, we found the aggressively uneventful chow just this side of fine. Service is friendly if bewildered: ordering chicken-fried pork, I got a grilled chop that the bill listed as tenderloin. Theres a comfortingly predictable lineup of strip steak and herb-roasted chicken, all capably done--just way safe. Lump crab cake was all meat, but like the halibut special, strangely flat and uninspired. This place appeals across the food chain, with red meat offerings as well as salads (baby spinach with jicama and cherries is a good open or close to dinner); as at a steak house, though, be prepared to supplement entrees with a la carte starches like succotash or "Fat Tire O Rings" (onions fried in name-brand beer batter). Swank but welcoming to both suits and sweatshirts, Park 52 is a feasible dining option for a community that still has fewer good restaurants than it should. Answer: (d).
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