An independent restaurant worthy of your tastebuds, El Che Steakhouse & Bar is inspired by Chef John Manion's love affair with South America and specifically Argentina's renowned Asado-style eateries. Executive Chef and Owner, John Manion, cooks 90 percent of the menu on the open fire, (a 12-foot custom-built wood burning hearth) furnishing that undeniable smoky flavor to Hangar steaks, beef short ribs, NY Strips, bone-in Ribeyes, and head-on shrimp, among others. El Che's Parrillada, meant to be shared, features a variety of traditional meats, including morcilla, chorizo, tira de asado and sweetbreads. "It's a representation of a Sunday afternoon in Argentina," says Manion. Non-steak possibilities include Pork Milanesa and Spaghetti Rosso, a staple across Argentina. For starters, don't miss award-winning empanadas; grilled Delaware oysters with smoked onion aioli and bacon; or Provoleta cheese to jacket fry bread. Happy Hour takes place from 5 pm - 6 pm and Wednesdays it's half-off all bottles of wine.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: For flame-licked steaks and South American dishes from a Midwest perspective, El Che will make you say, "ole."
Jacky's expert tip: The wine list is 95% South American (the other 5% is Champagne) so do peruse the exciting roster of grapes.
A steakhouse with plenty of buzz, this stylish restaurant serves dry-aged steaks prepared over a wood fire and served with "arm candy" like roasted bone marrow or blue paradise cheese. The seafood is equally outstanding, some of which is served in roasted towers and finished with garlic butter and chili oil. If someone in the party is not feeling steak, there's also fire-roasted chicken, pork Milanese and short rib beef Stroganoff. Finish up with coconut cream pie. A 5,000 bottle wine program makes complementing every dish rather easy. You'll need to make advance reservations - this place is in a trendy neighborhood and fills up fast. If you're stuck waiting for a table, enjoy a pre- or post-dinner drink at the adjacent Eight Bar and Patio, which sells fun drinks. If you can't decide, they'll give you a Magic 8 ball with the drink listings that will pop up.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Maple & Ash is a lighthearted addition to Chicago's serious steakhouse scene.
Jacky's expert tip: Undecided and monied? Order the popular $155 menu item, "I Don't Give a F*@K", and let the chef decide.
Gene & Georgetti's, serving steaks and Italian specialties in the shadow of Chicago's El tracks since 1941, is still lovingly owned and operated by the original family. Imagine nearly eight decades of tradition and you'll appreciate the clubby atmosphere steeped in history, plus weathered photos on the walls illustrating the biz's Chicago story. The T-Bone Steak is a G & G classic, but plenty of other beefy options are served nicely crusted with little seasoning allowing the meat's flavor to star. You can't go wrong with broiled lamb chops, 11-ingredient garbage salad, spicy Chicken alla Joe or any old-timey Italian-American dish like Chicken Vesuvio or Eggplant Parmigiana. Portions are unsurprisingly large and there's enough variety to please pasta, seafood, steak and even liver lovers. In addition to the expected steakhouse veg and sides, G & G offers mounds of Vesuvio potatoes, meatballs and even thick-cut bacon.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Waitstaff hearken back to the days when servicing guests was a profession as opposed to a necessary gig between semesters or auditions.
Jacky's expert tip: Unlike many other steakhouses, the River North eatery is open for lunch, too. Stop in weekends for homemade lasagna and roast Prime rib.
GT Prime feels like a film set with details like a crystal chandelier and soft faux fur upholstered chairs. You wouldn't be surprised if Allie and Noah from The Notebook were seated next to you. Giuseppe Tentori refashions traditional steakhouse fare by offering a variety of cuts of the finest Filet, Rib Eye, Wagyu, Skirt Steak, Venison, and Bison sliced for guests making steak easy to share without mangling it yourself. The culinarily curious can launch with bone marrow to slather onto sourdough and top with red wine onions and radishes then continue with nettle risotto or seven-day aged Rohan duck breast. There's a robust offering of sides (how about shishito and corn with Parmesan sauce). Consider starters from the ultralight to old-timey (chicken liver mousse). There's a small but impressive dessert and cheese menu plus rare teas, La Colombe coffee and an extensive roster of grapes.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: It's the refined and sexy steakhouse of the 21st century.
Jacky's expert tip: GT Prime's only commandment is "Indulge. Imbibe. Explore." so try the Carnivore Plate or the popular mushroom and Brie side dish.
Deviating just enough from the usual steakhouse selections makes Steak 48 a joy for fans of the cuisine. Just consider the starters: Chef's "PB&J" paté, fig jam, and Woodford reserve bourbon; crispy shrimp deviled eggs; and a cool King Crab & Avocado Stack. Not only is there a"Super Colossal Shrimp Cocktail" but a Maine lobster rendition, too. Offset the cholesterol with a Superfood Salad chock full of seeds, berries and kale (natch). Prime steaks and chops are responsibly farmed and wet-aged 28 days then hand-cut in house by a master butcher. You'll say, "You're the master" after your first bite of domestic Wagyu NY strip or filet (limited availability) or a bone-in ribeye topped with black truffle sautéed Maine lobster. There's also fresh seafood and non-steak choices such as meatloaf made with rib eye, filet mignon, pork and black truffle green peppercorn that will make your mama's eyes cross.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Sturdy martinis, efficient teamwork ensuring streamlined service and spot-on steakhouse fare equal a win for date night, special occasion or sudden steak craving.
Jacky's expert tip: The bi-level dining space offers nooks for lovers, seating for larger parties, and an outdoor patio with fireplaces and a view of the busy life below.
The building in which Swift & Sons calls home was once a cold storage facility in the heart of the meatpacking center of Chicago. It's in the DNA. You can go the light or hearty route with apps: hamachi crudo; decadent Wagyu carpaccio; rabbit ravioli; roasted octopus; potato pierogi. Or launch with shellfish: crispy Rock shrimp; briny oysters; a luscious crab cake; or the interesting Carpetbagger Oysters sharing their shell with beef tartare and pickled mustard seeds. If you want room for your steak, start with a peppery but oh-so-light arugula salad festooned with button mushrooms, fennel and Parmesan sure to pique the palate. There are fabulous non-steak entrees from poached halibut to a titanic one-pound Niman Ranch pork chop. But, if you're here for a steak, go for any of the dry-aged bone-in options or try something new - Japanese A5 Wagyu Strip Loin - or old-school like Beef Wellington.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Swift & Sons lives up to the meatpacking DNA of Fulton Market with exemplary turns on steakhouse classics, entrees, sides and desserts.
Jacky's expert tip: Anyone, but especially vegetarians, can make a grand meal of apps (Himalayan Morel Tart), flavorful sides like roasted carrots with hazelnut bread crumbs or Chinese broccoli and onto heavenly desserts like Rhubarb Pavlova.
The beef program stars 100% All Natural Linz Heritage U.S.D.A Prime Black Angus Beef (humanely raised, with no hormones or antibiotics). That robust flavor you're sensing is due to dry-aging in-house in a Himalayan rock salt lined room. Beef is seared in a 1,200 degree broiler, presented on a sizzling plate and simply capped with sea salt and Wisconsin grassfed butter. Try some of the most interesting steakhouse starters in the city: Fried Chicken for the Table (with bits of orange peel in the breading); thick-cut bacon with maple syrup and dark chocolate; Lump Blue crab and lobster cake; and what may be the best clam chowder in Chicago. The Kansas City Strip with a side of Asparagus Milanese and Properly Whipped Mashed Potatoes makes a smashing steakhouse meal. Options for non-meat eaters include Yellowfin Tuna Au Poivre, daily seasonal Provisional Fish and vegan friendly Blackened Cauliflower "Steak."
Recommended for Steakhouses because: The provisions maybe just a little better, service just a little crisper and the surroundings just a smidge comfier than other city steakhouses.
Jacky's expert tip: Travel up the staircase to the second floor and you'll spy a two-story wine tower cascading through the bar.
Housed in a century-old barn with soaring ceilings and an outdoor garden, The Barn Steakhouse makes a visit to the North Shore a delcious investment in the valuable real estate in your belly. Proprietor Amy Morton knows steak - she worked alongside her dad, Arnold "Arnie" Morton, founder of Morton's of Chicago Steakhouse. Take a drive or the train to Evanston's leafy streets and the rustic Barn Steakhouse housed in a former stable, circa 1883. Start with an Evanston beer, glass of wine from a global list or an Hemingway Daiquiri or Black Manhattan. Then consider appetizers (classic Steak Tartare with capers, cornichon, pickled onion, and egg yolk, served with house made potato chips for crunch or the Grand Central Caviar Sandwich stuns with wild American bowfin caviar, farm egg and creme fraiche. Expect 100% Midwestern Heritage Angus Beef like a dry aged Ribeye and a center strip Manhattan cut. Chose a topper to enhance the dance in your mouth - truffle butter or lump crab, perhaps? Za'atar Roasted Half Chicken; Shrimp Spaghetti; and Pan-Seared Halibut with sugar snap peas, charred radicchio, balsamic, and heirloom tomatoes are winning non-beef options. Wrap it up with a dessert cocktail, a cordial, Arnie's Chocolate Velvet Cake or a selection of artisanal cheese.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: The independent,female-owned steakhouse is known for luscious Heritage Angus beef and a tempting menu which righteously represents the whole barnyard and some of the sea.
Jacky's expert tip: Read about the historic building on the meat-centric hide-a-way's web page to further fascinate.
A classic Chicago restaurant, open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Gibson's shines with its convivial bar, bustling patio, clubby dining room and its own USDA prime label. Portions are generous and staff expects sharing so there aren't any unfriendly extra plate charges. Unlike other steakhouses that charge for a "bread program," warm-from-the-oven crusty bread arrives shortly after you're seated. The signature steak is W.R's Chicago Cut, a 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye named for Bill Rice, former food and wine columnist for the Chicago Tribune and there are plenty of takers for Gibsons Grassfed Australian steaks (sourced from the top 5% of all grass-fed cattle produced in Australia). There's a different house-made soup every day and the menu lists plenty of seafood and sandwich options - you'll "OMG" the Prime Rib French Dip and award-winning burger. Dessert? The Carrot Cake is a gargantuan favorite.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Gibsons was the first restaurant group in the country to have its own USDA Certified Angus Beef Program. It's definitely your happy place for steak.
Jacky's expert tip: Share! The portions are generously sized so diners can try a number of items.
Your senses will, indeed, be spinning when dining at RPM Steak - an understated, elegant dining space with butter-soft leather seating, dim lighting and heavenly scents. RPM features nearly two dozen different cuts of beef including exclusive Japanese wagyu –" Hokkaido Snow Beef and Kobe among the lot, plus American bison, prime dry-aged and natural steaks. Seriously consider experiencing melt-in-your-mouth Hokkaido Snow Beef - it's unlike anything you've ever tasted. Elevate with a special sauce or butter (but honestly, the meat here stars and doesn't need any back-up dancers). Start with icy oysters, nuclear-sized prawns or Coal-Roasted King Crab - a perfect, warm bite for two but you'll want it all to yourself. Pescatarians will for broiled Black Cod, spicy lobster or Ora King salmon. Among sides, the Millionaire's Potato, twice-baked, cheese- and truffle-infused, is bliss in every bite. The dessert list seduces with Baked Alaska and 14K Chocolate Cake.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: This carnivore's carnival features an excellent wine roster, crisp service, memorable meat and top-notch chilled shellfish.
Jacky's expert tip: The highest-quality beef is prepared on specialized equipment like a Jade high-speed broiler, Josper Charcoal Oven, Staub Cast-Iron and a J&R custom wood fire grill.