Residents of Des Plaines have been waiting for the last grain of sand to drop in the hourglass that was, well, Hourglass, the former Koreatown restaurant/lounge and recent transplant to the 'burbs. The establishment carries over the same menu folks on Lawrence Avenue, near the Kimball
Brown Line stop, grew fondness for. Woodsy accents also made the move.
A Presbyterian Korean church down the road, numerous Korean-owned businesses and a sizable Korean community makes for an already full house most days. Several strip malls and the fact that Hourglass sits on the fault lines of Des Plaines, Glenview and Niles makes for many new faces. Old faces from the previous standby continue making the trek as well.
The old faces take note on the similarities, like stacks of wood enveloping groups eating at onyx-top tables. Left behind was the gloomy, cave-like appeal, making for a modern setting of a black-shale ceiling, sleek bar (where cocktails average $7) and an outdoor patio fit for 50.
Come for karaoke and utilize a private room for six ($20 per hour). A bible-thick book of American and Korean titles entertains between drinks in this room of even tones and when it's time for another round, press the buzzer that alerts your server of any requests (notice this technology at every table in the main dining room as well).
Owner Suk Do Im welcomes each guest and works with those unfamiliar with Korean fare. Korean food, he explains, differs from Chinese food in that most meals are slow-cooked and non-greasy. This makes for a healthy choice for carb-concious gym rats just leaving the XSport Fitness nearby. Finicky eaters forgo the fishy, yet authentic, taste of pan-fried sauteed squid ($15.95). A more neutral recommendation resides with the bi bim bob choices ($9.95). Still popular, however, is the deep-fried chicken bits soaked in spicy sauce ($12.95) that made a hit out of the former residence.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez