First time in Chicago.. Steakhouse?
Me and my boyfriend are taking a New Years' trip to Chicago to celebrate our year. Would you recommend Gibson's, Chicago Chop House, Ruth Chris, Morton's, etc? What is the best, most romantic, and the least expensive of the higher end options? Thanks!
For a downtown venue, the Chicago Chop House is excellent. If you're headed for the suburbs, Pete Miller's (in both Evanston and Wheeling) is probably the best. When it comes to good steakhouses, though, "least expensive" is probably irrelevant -- they're all expensive. The trick is to find one that is worth the price.
Search this board. There are countless posts on this topic. Ginson's is not romantic, but has a great scene. Ruth Chris is dimly lit, if that qualifies as romantic. Saloon is a nice alternative to all the ones you list.
It really depends on what kind of steak you like (dry-aged, wet-aged, Wagyu/Kobe) and the type of atmosphere you're seeking (old-school, comtemporary, fine-dining, upscale chain, etc.) If dry-aged is your thing, then Smith & Wollensky is probably the best choice.
If you want a wide choice of different cuts and styles, the The Saloon is an excellent choice. For a steakhouse run by a acclaimed chef (ie, the non-steak sides/apps/etc. are better than most other places), then I'd suggest Keefer's. I'm not a fan of Gibson's particularly, but my reasons have less to do with the food than of the overall vibe, which I find annoying. Even though Ruth's Chris and Morton's have locations all over the place, they still deliver a solid product and have excellent service.
All are expensive, but none terribly more so than others (except for items like Wagyu beef). My personal choice would be The Saloon, because of the wide variety and the very classy (but low-key) ambience. Also, its location smack dab in the Mag Mile area make it great romantic date place--especially at holiday time. Dinner there, followed by the dessert extravaganza at Tru or the Peninsula (very closeby) would be perfect.
Gibsons or Hugo's (Hugo's is adjacent to and shares a kitchen with Gibsons...plus it's a couple dollars less expensive). I say Hugo's. The food, atmosphere, and location will surely impress. Great for people watching. It's a bit too boisterous to be romantic but well worth a visit. Forego the intimate atmosphere at Hugo's for drinks and jazz afterwards (just a couple of blocks north on State) at the very intimate Zebra Lounge. This place is no more than 600 to 800 square feet and it's definitely more low key and romantic.
Go to Mortons downtown, the best service,food, and overall experience in my humble opinion. Pass on Ruth Chris, and Gibsons.. Ive been to most of the steak houses (not the Saloon, or Chicago Chop House yet, but they are on the list to try.)
I know I go places for the food, not for people watching.