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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!

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. My two top choices would be Chicago Chop House and the Saloon. Of the two, the Saloon is probably more romantic. But I'm quite fond of the prime rib grilled like a steak that they serve at the Chicago Chop House. As previously stated, none of these selections are inexpensive, but most of them are worth the cost.

              FWIW, I'm not a fan of Ruth Chris or Gibsons, and generally prefer to avoid the other national chain places as well.

              Hope you will enjoy your visit to Chicago!!

              1. I think the bottom line is that you can't go terribly wrong with any of these places. Personally, I think that the Saloon sounds like a good choice, as others (Gibson's -- even Hugo's) are slightly more expensive and also can be really loud and boisterous.

                1. I will never set foot in Chicago Chop House again after bringing a problem to the hostess' attention some years ago during a client lunch. I was told that she was the owner's wife and they really didn't need my business. I informed her that I entertain clients for lunch 2-3 times per week and that her attitude wasn't conducive to my ever returning there. She pointed to the door. My client was mortified and could not believe our treatment, as it had been his suggestion to have lunch there. I swore I'd never return and I'd retell the story until they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

                  1. Surprisingly, no one has mentioned David Burke's Primehouse(street level, James Hotel/Ontario & State, I believe).

                    I recently had a fantastic meal there. They are one of the few places to dry age their beef(in a basement facility lined with tiles of Himalayan Salt). All beef descends from a proprietary stud, 207L.

                    contemporary setting, convivial waitstaff

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: aelph

                      OK, I'll mention D B's Primehouse...the last time I ate there (LAST being the operative word) my medium-rare steak came out medium-well. That is an unforgivable sin for a high-end steakhouse. They make a big deal about their proprietary beef and generally lay the hype on pretty thick in other ways too (their special steak sauces, too-cutesy desserts, etc.). Three meals, each with rather serious food flaws, means that I won't be going back. There are so many places that I'm virtually guaranteed of having a great meal that I'm not willing to go back to Primehouse.

                      1. re: Pugman

                        hmm...I actually had a conversation with my waiter vis a vis ideas of doneness. My steak was a perfect medium-rare. And just to gild the lily; the truffle mousse I slathered atop it, perfection. The out-of-town friends I dined with still rave over the chocolate cake(which was comped as a *huge* "sample") when we couldn't decide which desserts to order.