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Chefjw.com :: Critic's Choice :: Chicago Style, May 2003

Chicago Magazine, May 2003
"Global Palate: Aria brings global comfort food to the Fairmont Hotel"

Chicago Style, March 2003

By J.P. Anderson

Hotel restaurants are hot. Once the domain of dull food and cring-worthy decor, Chicago's hotel dining scene now draws rising star chefs and hip foodies. Suddenly, gems like the Hotel Burnham's whimsical Atwood Cafe and the Park Hyatt's chic NoMI have become some of the hardest-to-get reservations in town.

The latest to arrive is Aria, in the elegant Fairmont Hotel. The four-star property recently pulled a fast one on its conservative clientele by opening this surprisingly sexy dining room and lounge, which belends a clubby atmostphere with a polished, multicultural menu. The result is a refreshing addition to Chicago's hotel dining scene...."

"The adventurous menu fits Aria's global-chi feel. Inspired by his experiences working in kitches in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and other far-flung locales, chef James Wierzelewski set out to create traditional dishes from those countries that appeal to Midwestern tastes. "People want comfort food," said Wierzelewski, "but they're also reaching out for what's happening in the rest of the world. What we're doing here is global comfort food...."

© James Wierzewlewski 2010