Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Aug 24, 2009 10:59 AM

Chicago Steakhouse

Where can I get an amazing steak and dining experience.

My girlfriend and I are traveling to Chicago this weekend and I'm doing my best to find the consensus as to which steakhouse reins supreme. I've received endorsements for Morton's, Chop House, Capital Grille, Joe's, Gibson's, and Sullivan's. However, the reviews that I've found on CH are mixed. I'm currently leaning towards Morton's, but would also be happy to go to a restaurant that I can't find in South Florida.

I'll be staying at the Conrad and would like the restaurant to be close. All feedback will be appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I recommend Keefer's or Smith and Wollinsky. Capital Grille was pretty good when we were there about four months ago. I'd skip Gibson's and Morton's. Both Keefer's and S and W are fairly close to your hotel.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hoppy2468

      I second the recommendation for Keefer's and have heard good things about David Burke. Had an interesting - but not traditional - steak meal at AjaSteak in a new hotel (can't recall the name now). Also, Joe's Stone Crab is good.

      Having said all this, based on my last experience there, I would absolutely stay away from S&W. It's probably among the most expensive of the lot and completely inferior - completely unacceptable for the price, and unacceptable at any price.

      We went to S&W back in December. Haven't been since, and no need to go here. My review from back then (apologies for the repost):

      First, I should say that the service was quite pleasant, and the sommelier was very helpful, recommending a very good SuperTuscan over a more expensive wine we had our eye on. That, in my opinion, is the hallmark of good wine service - you see it all over wine regions in France, and in Napa - a sommelier recommending better value over simply price. So that was appreciated.

      But the food was quite blah, and a poor performance for what is probably the most expensive of the steakhouses. My "Iceberg Wedge" was pretty pathetic - about half the normal size. I know this because another in our group got one that was slightly bigger, and I noticed some much larger ones going by. My medium-rare 18 oz NY Strip could not have possibly ever been 18 ounces, was pretty fatty, and was overcooked - essentially, a brownish-gray lump. My wife who is pregnant typically prefers medium rare, but asked for medium and told the waitress about her pregnancy - so the waitress said "we typically err on the side of undercooking [IMHO a good thing, by the way] so I better say Medium Well." We thanked her . . . but the steak came and was absolutely a wreck - totally gray. Perhaps the chef decided to teach her a lesson for not ordering it rare? The hash browns were good, but the creamed spinach was pretty gummy, more like a spinach paste that resembled the topping on the Oysters Rockefeller I once got in a family steakhouse in Texarkana (yes, my fault for ordering Oysters there, and I deserved what I got).

      Is it possible that the recession is hitting restaurants like this, such that quality has to suffer in order to keep prices the same? Or maybe the holiday season, with the proliferation of parties, etc., makes quality suffer? If so, then we're all in it together. But to spend $198 per couple for good wine, good hash browns, a weak salad and weak steak and poor creamed spinach stings a bit. I should also say that I am not a complainer - perhaps I should be. I don't know, but I do know that we'll probably have to take S&W off our list. Too many other good steaks here . . .

      1. re: RVA Transplant

        I'll throw in my .02. S&W was the worst restaurant experience that I've ever had. I've posted it before, but two things stood out:

        A super loud table next to us with six 'gentlemen' tossing off f-bombs at a rate of 15-20 per minute. We were not re-seated (despite a half-empty rest.).

        My steak was 'black and blue' not was terrible...maybe that's how they do it in NY.

        Zero help from the staff/management.

        There are so many better places to patronize...

    2. Given that both Morton's and Capital Grille have locations in Miami why do they appear on your list?

      1. David Burke's Primehouse is one of the best steakhouses in the city (maybe the best), and you definitely can't find that in South Florida.

        2 Replies
        1. re: aburkavage

          I second Primehouse - I had an excellent experience there. Dishes were typical steakhouse ones, but with some flares that made it standout, not too funky. Steaks were cooked perfectly. Service was very attentive and friendly.

          1. re: Wrigley12

            No doubt David Burke's Primehouse probably has the best "before cooked" meat in the city. However, I don't eat raw meat. Where the restaurant seems to fail - and where it failed me - is that the kitchen has, since it opened, been inconsistent and wrong-cooked steaks are about as common as ones done right. Service can be sloppy, and there's been a disjointed service regimine - and it can be very noisy . . . with young people in t-shirts and jeans hopping about the place amongst the adults. ;-)

        2. my favorite american steakhouse in chicago is the Rosebud by the Drake Hotel. they know how to do medium rare meat and season it well.

          i also really enjoy steaks in tango sur and carnivale - both seemingly unlikely places for steaks but are surprisingly good!

          i personally don't like gibson's and david burke's. gibson's often doesn't rest their steaks enough, and david burke's overcooked my steaks both times when i visited.

          1. Morton's. Most consistent of any of them, IMO.