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Asian Outpost Eyes Late November Opening Date, Releases Sample Menu

 The couple behind Hot Woks, Cool Sushi restaurants will soon open their new concept, Asian Outpost, at 1315 S. Wabash Ave.
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SOUTH LOOP — The newest addition to the restaurant-heavy intersection of 13th Street and Wabash Avenue could open as early as late November, Asian Outpost owner Lois Lee said.

The 90-seat Asian-fusion restaurant is two- to four-weeks from opening its doors in the former Ole Hardwood Gastro-Smokehouse space, Lee said Thursday.

It's Lee and her husband David's first diversion from their Hot Woks, Cool Sushi restaurants, which have four locations citywide, including a spot in the Willis Tower.

The menu will feature modern twists on classic Chinese dishes from the famous Cantonese Chef restaurant in Chinatown, which Lee's father, Paul Fong, ran for decades.

Samples include sweet and savory Chinese barbecue baby back ribs, garlic ginger Chinese fried chicken, fried basil sushi and smoked salmon bacon maki.

The restaurant's "rustic" interior, furnished with antiques from Old Temple Chicago, includes a large bar that will stock nearly 15 imported Asian beers and have Momokawa organic sake on tap.

Mixologist Debbie Peek, who has worked with Balena and the Bristol, designed three signature cocktails inspired by Lee family members, including "The Aunt Betty" and "King Kahuna," a nod to Fong.

"We go to all these restaurants here; that's why this is gonna be kind of fun," said Lee, a South Loop resident, of opening their first restaurant in their own neighborhood. "You've got pizza, you've got a pub, you've got Hispanic, you've got Italian. I mean, you've covered the world right here on this corner. I'm looking forward to being a part of it."