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Ben Pao: Oh, That Barbeque Pork

By L. Stolpman in Food on Jun 19, 2008 7:20PM


We recently dined at Lettuce Entertain You's flagship Chinese restaurant Ben Pao after hearing that Bruce Cost (whose former restaurant once employed Ming Tsai as chef) had been engaged to revamp the menu to add his Asian culinary expertise. While the result was a change to 75% of the menu, do not fear, loyal Ben Pao diners. The ever popular sesame chicken is still on the menu, unchanged. Changes to the menu concentrated on achieving more authentic flavors and incorporating fresh ingredients, including local vegetables and even noodles from Chicago's own Chinatown.

We take a slightly cynical eye and palate to any Chinese restaurant outside Chinatown that serves more than 25 guests at a time claiming to serve authentic Chinese flavors, but Cost and Ben Pao management have placed some thought behind the revamping. Take the newly added barbequed pork shoulder. The pork is tender and full of flavor, served atop spring pea tendrils.

Ben Pao is located at 52 W. Illinois St.