Epic, and admittedly, I did go in with a certain level of expectation. If a restaurant is going to call themselves epic, it should be more impressive than the restaurants with which it is competing. I will first say that it is very big. While it is only three floors, with 23 foot ceilings, it could have easily been five or six. The restaurant is divided by floor into three sections. The first floor is the lounge which has high unfinished ceilings, a long bar along one side, and some private tables. There is a lounge menu that features oysters, sliders, and tacos. The second floor is the large dining area. It has banquette seating along one wall, a large communal table, a high unfinished ceiling, and separate table seating. There is also a large raised mezzanine area that will seat about 40 people. The third floor is the rooftop lounge which also offers the lounge menu. As I came for dinner, I will focus on the happenings of the main dining area. I mentioned that the space was big. At the front, it has a large window wall. and the unfinished ceiling was more than 20 feet up. Other than the large window wall, lighting came came from hanging lighting hung at various lights. I sat at a two top on the leather covered bench seat. Epic has been open for a couple of years and if I remember correctly, when it opened, it looked like it was trying to be a steakhouse. Considering the location (River North), I can't say that I thought that it was an exceptionally good idea. There are a large number of very good steakhouses in River North and, to me, even if the steak was good, it didn't seem to have anything that differentiated it from any other steakhouse in River North. Since then, while the steaks are still on the menu, they have been deemphasized going with a seasonal American menu which earned it it's first Michelin star this year. There were several things on the menu that sounded good but I did find things that I thought that I would enjoy. For my appetizer, I ordered the Crispy Pork Belly with Golden Beets, Horseradish, and a Root Beer Reduction. It was topped with arugula and sat on some sort of soft bread. This was very good and may have, in fact, been my favorite course. The beets were sweet, a little tart, and almost reminded me of a citrus fruit. The pork belly was crispy and a little spicy and the bread was nice and soft. It was a good start, the question was whether they could sustain it.
For my dessert, I ordered Lime Pots de Creme with Blackberry Jam and topped with Fresh Blackberries and Crunchy Granola. Pots de Creme is a custard dessert and while it was good, I think I may have preferred it bruleed. I get that the granola was there to provide some crunch to the dish which it did but I do think that it still would have worked had it also been bruleed.
While I can see using the adjective epic to the space, I don't think I can apply it to the whole. While the food was good, it wasn't epic and while the service was friendly, it could have been more attentive and prompt. There were other things on the menu that did interest me although I am not sure that I will return to try them.