To say that we were saddened by the loss of Dan Ryan's in Pacific Place would be an understatement. A widely recognised landmark of the shopping mall since its opening in 1989, many a childhood memory was cemented at its paper-covered tables, armed with crayons in one hand and that iconic DR key chain in the other.
But wait! There's good news to be had. Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill is back on the island, with a brand-new outlet in Tai Koo Shing's Cityplaza and a green revamp on their minds. If you're going, 'Tai Koo where?', heads up, people, because Tai Koo Shing is the newest foodie hub, with neighbours such as Passion by Gérard Dubois, CIAK – All Day Italian, The Butchers Club Burger and Mr & Mrs Fox, so Dan Ryan's is in good company.
To give thanks to their growing local audience and welcome old-timers as well as newcomers to the restaurant, Dan Ryan's is focusing on bringing back their signature dishes and adding a collection of healthier eats to mark the next generation of its restaurant expansion. We were delighted at the sight of the modernised, open dining area, with café-style seating in the front, booth-style tables in the back and an expanded 16-seat bar area for casual drinks and quick bites. The classic decor elements are there too, like the iconic buffalo head and the famous toy train busily choo-choo-ing above our heads.
Baby-back BBQ ribs
Executive Chef Frank Luong is determined to revitalise the spirit of Dan Ryan's by revisiting signature, classic dishes and improving them with better execution and higher-quality ingredients, with a bigger focus on house-made, as-fresh-as-can-be preparation. Don't worry, you'll still get your moreish baked potato skins (S: $128; L: $188), your onion rings ($98) and your beloved Chi-Town combo ($298). And who can forget the mesmerising baby-back BBQ ribs ($378)?
Super green salad
Seared Hokkaido scallops
But don't underestimate the new super green salad ($188), chock-full of your favourite superfoods, such as baby spinach, quinoa and avocado, with a sweet blueberry dressing drizzled on top. As much as we don't associate Dan Ryan's with green eats, this ambitious little dish was a massive hit with its varied textures, crunchy pine nuts and juicy, tangy pears. We also loved the seared Hokkaido scallops ($338), served atop mashed potato, grilled asparagus and maitake mushrooms, with a savoury miso glaze to pull it all together.
Deluxe chilli burger
No Dan Ryan's meal is complete without some meat. The deluxe chilli burger ($188) features homemade chilli, aged Cheddar, sliced jalapeños for those who like it hot and a juicy beef patty that's freshly ground in house. With such heavy, rich toppings, we were quite glad for the light, airy and wonderfully buttery brioche-style bun.
Dessert menus can be tricky. How do you choose the perfect ending to your meal when there's so much you still want to taste? Dan Ryan's new dessert sampler ($188) alleviates the headache and serves up four all-American signature treats (take a back seat, The Cheesecake Factory), as well as matcha truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries. There's homemade carrot cake, apple pie, cheesecake and double fudge brownie to be had on this decadent sharing platter. We thought the carrot cake was an especially delicious bite (and such a lovely surprise too, what with carrot cake being so hard to find in Hong Kong).
Now before you run off and make your booking, we'll let you in on a little secret: keep your eyes and ears peeled for Dan Ryan's next trick up their sleeves – we've been told they're working on a collaboration with a local brewery to create their own unique, exclusive beer...
Shop 311, 3/F, Phase 1, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Tai Koo, 2845 4600