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Jul 11, 2004 10:16 PM

New Yorker seeks Chicago Steakhouse comparable to Peter Luger?

  • r

I think that the best steak in NYC is Peter Luger. Going to Chicago for the first time, I'm sure there must be a midwestern equivilent. Is there such a place in Chicago? Thanks.

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  1. Not perhaps that is as single-mindedly focused on one cut of meat as Luger is.

    If I had to choose one "signature" cut from a Chicago steakhouse it would be the bone-in prime rib from Morton's. You might still like the PL Porterhouse more, but Morton's is great in it's own way...

    Probably Gene & Georgetti is the most comparable to PL in terms of the "old style" and "heritage" issue. But I've found dining there to be a bit cramped & surly and the neighborhood around Morton's is 100 times more vibrant.

    Another "Chicago signature" dish is Mike Ditka's pork chop which is awesome. Very nice dining room and friendly service.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chicago Mike

      Gibsons does a fantastic porterhouse for two that is remisicient of Luger though its not dry aged beef. Unfortunately, there is only one Luger in the world 9unless you count the one on Long Island). I've not seen the combination of great steak and surly waitstaff assembled in such a rare combination anywhere else as you see in Brooklyn.

      1. re: YourPalWill

        Peter Lugers is good. But the Argentinians do steak the best. The most notable steaks I have had have been: Peter Lugers, Ruths Chris (trust me), Cheesecake Factory Ribeye (trust me) and Tango Sur (Argentinian Steak House). The Argentinians know their meats, and have an Italian influenced cuisine. If you want to be in a "scene" then go to Gibson's or Keefer's... the ambience is there, but the food is just food.

        Fogo de Choa is one of the newer Brazilian Steak Houses that are sweeping the nation in all you can eat meat buffets.



        1. re: mama-marias

          I agree with regard to Ruths Chris. I've been to every notable steakhouse and still love RC the best. Alas!

      2. re: Chicago Mike

        In my opinion, for prime rib, Lawry's is great. The table side presentation, the spinning salad bowl, the baked potato as big as your head, the creamed spinach side, the yorkshire pudding, the Beefeater Martinis with anchovie stuffed olives...
        It's an experience.


        1. re: BR

          I agree about Lawry's. We went there recently and the prime rib was excellent. The creamed spinach has always seemed a bit erzatz to me - seasoned as it is with Lawry's seasoning stuff - but I love the Yorkshire Pudding. Best of all, though Chef Jackie Shen has moved on, her famous "Chocolate Bag" remains. I've never eaten so much chocolate at one time in my life - and I was sharing it with my husband!

      3. Gene & Georgetti is a place for anyone who isn't a "regular" to avoid. You'll be seated on the 2nd floor (ie: Siberia), in very crowded conditions, your waiter will be rude, and even your steak may not be that great. The only people who go there are Chicago politicians and unsuspecting tourists.

        The best places for steak in Chicago, IMHO, are Smith & Wollensky and Ruth's Chris. I like the clubby atmosphere at Ruth's Chris (dark wood panelling, lighting that is subdued but not dark), and we have always had superb steaks there. They have a particular style, however - their steaks (huge and perfectly tender) are seared at high heat and finished with butter (though you can get them without - or with more, for that matter). Smith & Wollensky has a brighter atmosphere, but they also have a varied selection of steaks and other meat (their signature dish is a crackling paork shank) and more seafood options than Ruth's Chris.

        Haven't been to Morton's in years, but people on this board like it (as did we when we went there long ago). I used to work at Arnie Morton's parents' restaurant in Hyde Park (called, appropriately, "Morton's"), so I can attest that Morton's is probably as close to a "Chicago" steakhouse as you are likely to find in this post-stockyards era.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Akatonbo

          Been to Morton's in Schaumburg ( and Rosemont ) recently and can highly recommend both of them. Another place to try is Pete Miller's in Wheeling---Had a Prime bone-in ribeye that was equal to/better than the last one that I had at Gibson's.( Potato and vegetable ARE included with the steak, something of an anomaly. )

          Regarding Ruth's Chris----I guess that the trick to ordering there is to request your steak "rare" if you want it medium-rare. Those darn sizzling platters have always re-cooked (and overcooked) any steak that I have ever ordered. The napalm butter doesn't help any,either.

          1. re: Akatonbo

            You nailed it re: Gene & Georgetti's.

            I can't recall ever eating a meal where I had it rubbed in my face that because I was not a celeb or a regular, I was therefore a jerk-off who deserved (and got) a lesser quality of service. Not food, mind you, just service. It was as though I'd stumbled into a private club that for unknown reasons allowed me to order a meal. Which was grudgingly and ungraciously served.

            1. Here's the minority report: Chicago Chop House or Gibson's. Smith & Wollensky, Morton's & Ruth's Chris can all be sampled in many cities.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Steve C

                I agree with you. Though, as I've never been to Peter Luger's, I can't offer comment on how Chop House (or any other place) compares. I guess I don't understand the desire to seek out in one city that which most closely approximates a dining experience of another city. Isn't that what McDonald's is for?

                1. re: Kman

                  I was using the Peter Luger reference as a benchmark for quality, not trying to replicate the experience. I can visit Morton's and Ruth Chris in malls all over suburbia. This is not the way I want to spend my only dining opportunity in Chicago. Just as Peter Luger denotes a quality steakhouse, it also is a very New York kind of joint. I hoping to find a similar combination, great steak and a Chicago kind of joint. Thanks for your input.

                  1. re: Robert Lord

                    Well articulated.
                    Given those parameters I would be very comfortable recommending both Gibson's or Mortons, both excellent steaks, both very Chicago. If I had to pick one it would be Gibson's.
                    Gene and Georgetti's is a very distinctive Chicago experience, but not necessarily a good one-good meat, everything else is questionable.
                    Another choice that might be interesting for you is Smith & Wollensky. I think the food at Chicago S&W is better than at the original in NYC, but the bartenders are better in NY, especially at the S&W Grill(downstairs in the back).

                    1. re: MLS

                      Re Gene & Georgetti: very true that it is a certain kind of Chicago experience - circa 1930s. If you want to be treated like a bagman who's suspected of holding out on the bosses, by all means go there.

                2. re: Steve C

                  I've had 2 lousy experiences at the Chicago Chop House - the first time, I thought it might have just been an off night/inexperienced waiter/huge crowd convergence of issues, but when we returned a few months later with another set of out of town guests, I was sad to see the same performance.

                  1. re: anne

                    Amen! I went to the Chicago Chop House last year to entertain business associates. The service was indifferent, and the steak a disappointing combination of expensive and mediocre. On top of that, the "atmosphere" is pathetic. Why does anyone eat there?

                    1. re: gimpeaux

                      Gotta disagree on the Chop House. I've been to all the usual places, but I put the Chop House on top with a nod to Gibson's as an equal in both service and food. I happen to prefer the atmosphere at Chop House just a half-a-notch. But different people like different things. That's the point of this board. It's silly to question why anyone would ever go anywhere...ummm, because they like it?! Taste is as subjective as it gets in the human experience.

                      1. re: Steve C

                        I've always enjoyed the Chop House but can't stand Gibson's. So . . . to each his/her own.

                    2. re: anne

                      I have to agree that in 25 years of dining in Chicago restaurants, my singular worst experience was at the Chicago Chop House. I would never return. Long story short, while dining out with a client, I asked for the manager to deal with an issue. The hostess told me that she was the owner's wife as well as the manager and that "they did not need my business." My client had chosen the place, and was extremely apologetic. We both swore never to return. There are far too many places in this town that do NEED and WANT my business.

                  2. I had one of the best steaks I've ever eaten - and I've been to Peter Luger - at Keefer's last week. It was a bone-in ribeye and it was a beauty.