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Allium restaurant
A s'mores dessert rounds out Allium's playful menu. Photo by Lara Kastner.

You've been shopping the Mag Mile for hours, you're starving and the crowd at RL is too much to bear. Sneak away to this spot for a quiet, elegant lunch or dinner: Allium at the Four Seasons hotel, a new restaurant-and-bar concept from chef Kevin Hickey.

Changes have been afoot at the Four Seasons--the hotel just hung 100 newly acquired works of contemporary art to spice up its stately lobby--and Allium ushers in a less-formal era than that of its predecessor, Seasons. (The Seasons room is now used for special events while Allium--in the Seasons lounge space--has retained the classic mahogany walls but switched to modern furniture in a warmer palette.)

Whether you go for a quick salad or settle in for all-out decadence, Allium's menu delivers: Luscious bacon-and-onion buns ($4) are a no-fail way to start a meal, along with bison tartare served with a perfectly poached egg ($16). The Wisconsin walleye is crisp and light ($25), and we hereby assert that the Chicago-style hot dog with "homemade everything" ($14) should be tried at least once in a lifetime. No one serves a dog this juicy or crisp-skinned, and the condiments in mini squeeze tubes and bowls of impeccably diced onions are a delight to behold.

A hot dog at the Four Seasons, you ask? Yes. We insist.

Allium at the Four Seasons, 120 E. Delaware Pl., 7th floor; 312-799-4900 or alliumchicago.com

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