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Nov 8, 2008 08:35 AM

Best Short Ribs in the City?

It's a cold and crappy day ... short ribs are on our minds for dinner tonight. Besides Alinea and Graham Elliot (its not that kind of evening out tonight) ... any reco's? Thanks!

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  1. What a great question! I LOVE short ribs, and I often order them when I see them on a menu. They seem to have greatly increased in popularity over the past year or two. Ideally, I think they should be extremely (amazingly) tender and not overly fatty, and very tasty. They are usually braised, a slow-cooking method that (hopefully) renders the fat and tenderizes the meat. Sometimes they are served bone-in (on the bone), other times without the bone.

    Here is where I can recall having short ribs around Chicago and elsewhere...

    I had them on the tasting menu at Avenues when Chef Bowles was in charge, so I assume the ones at Graham Elliot are the same or similar. They were excellent.

    I had them recently at Custom House. They were served bone-in (in a little pot, with a mini horseradish cream puff!) and theirs were excellent also. They're on the regular menu and this is my top recommendation for you to try next. If you like sweetbreads, they have those as an appetizer and they were also excellent.

    I had them as a special (over polenta) at Vivere and theirs were excellent, too.

    I had them earlier this year at Sweets and Savories and they were very good, although not quite up there with the previous choices, as they were not quite as tender as the very best. But still very good.

    I had them not too long ago at Avec. They were overly fatty and bland in taste. I was disappointed.

    I had them last year (bone-in) at Cafe Matou and they were very chewy, not that good.

    One of the very best I've had was this past summer at Margaux, a wonderful restaurant in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I was discussing them with Rob Hurrie, the owner there who came by my table, and he remarked that it's one of the easiest dishes for them to prepare.

    I'd love to hear about other places that serve short ribs!

    6 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Oops - I forgot to post my most recent short ribs experience! Earlier this week I had the bone-in "7 Spices & Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Carrots Batônnets & Garlic Mashed Potatoes" at Jacky's Bistro in Evanston, available on both their lunch and dinner menus. They were very good.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        Since this topic got me craving short ribs, I had dinner tonight at Jilly's Cafe in Evanston, where I had their "Barbecue Glazed Braised Beef Short Ribs". I would rate them very good - a bit chewier than some (which is not so good), but without any fat (which is very good). They were very tasty and the barbecue sauce glaze on top added to the excellent flavor (and the horseradish whipped potatoes underneath were excellent too). The portion size was also quite generous. This is one of their menu specials but they said that they usually have them, especially this time of year. Those who are fans of foie gras should also know that Jilly's version is outstanding, and also a generous portion size.

        In looking around for where to eat, I've noticed a couple more places showing them on their website menus, but where I haven't tried them yet. These include Le Lan's "'sizzling' short ribs" and Deleece's "Braised short ribs glazed with sweet chipotle
        barbeque sauce".

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Osteria Via Stato has short ribs seasonally as one of their entrees. I think its on a parsnip or celery root puree.

          1. re: chicagowinediva

            Osteria's are the best I have had in a long time. That was a little over a month ago.

          2. re: nsxtasy

            I also forgot to mention Michael, in Winnetka, which has some of the very best short ribs around! I ate there for lunch in late August, and at that time they had a "trio entree" that included wonderful short ribs. I see that their current website menus don't show this on the lunch menu (BTW they are open ONLY on Fridays for lunch), but they do on the dinner menu, as "Trio of Slowly Braised Beef Short Rib, Filet Mignon and Wild Mushroom Ravioli sauce Chasseur". Also, if you're a fan of foie gras, don't miss their sauteed foie gras over foie gras strudel. I have been to Michael numerous times now, and I consider it the very best mid-priced restaurant in the entire Chicago area.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              >> They seem to have greatly increased in popularity over the past year or two.

              I wrote the above because they've been popping up on restaurant menus in the past couple of years, especially during the colder months. There's now evidence that a lot of people are making them at home, too. We ordered some for tonight's big NYE bash from Zier's, our go-to place for the finest quality meats. They mentioned that a lot of people have ordered short ribs for NYE this year.

            2. I had some excellent braised short ribs at Franconello at University Village, they were juicy, tender and served over Polenta much like the other poster mentioned at Vivere.
              Speaking of ribs, I always enjoy the beef ribs at Fogo De Chao, not so fatty (although I prefer fatty ribs) and served sliced thin.

              My MK

              1. I love short ribs, too and I'm so glad we're in braising season again (as distinct from grilling season)! Of course there's my own (small, gracious bow), but that's not what you asked.

                I just had wonderful short ribs at Mercat a la Planxca last night. They appeared to have been braised and then browned so that they were tender, but at the same time had a crust. It's a small plate and was served with scallops so it was really just a taste, but sooo good.

                Let us know if you found short ribs, and where and how they were.

                1. The short ribs I had at Keefer's was to die for. Don't remember if short ribs was a special or on the permanent menu, but worth checking out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sis2catbat

                    They're not shown on the menu on their website at

                    I think a lot of places have them as a seasonal special during the colder weather months (as I was told explicitly at Jilly's).

                  2. I remember having some wonderful short ribs at Red Light, but again, I'm sure it was a seasonal specialty.