David Burke's or Gibsons?
I am surprising my husband with a birthday trip to Chicago in April. I am planning to go to Alinea for dinner one night and then a steakhouse for the other. Which steakhouse is better, David Burke's or Gibsons? I've heard great things about both.
We are from New York and go to nice dinners weekly. My husband is Argentine and loves meat. He loves the standard steakhouse (like Peter Luger's) but really enjoyed N9NE when he was there last. We are staying at the James Hotel so I wasn't sure if I should save David Burke's for Sunday brunch? Any suggestions?
I think the steaks at Burke's are every bit as good as at Gibson's. In my visits they have cooked them absolutely perfectly, exactly the way I specified. The waitstaff has been consistently helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. The atmosphere is very enjoyable, too - more like a contemporary finer dining restaurant than a bustling steakhouse. This is why here on Chowhound, more foodies prefer Burke's than any other steakhouse in town.
I've had very good steaks and food at Gibson's, too. However, the noise and bustle and crampedness of Gibson's makes it overall a less pleasant experience. The waitstaff at Gibson's tries to be helpful but sometimes they get overwhelmed by the crowds. If you would like to try GIbson's steaks but in a slightly less frantic atmosphere, consider Hugo's Frog Bar next door. Hugo's, which specializes in seafood, is owned by Gibson's and the two restaurants share the same kitchen.
Gibson's is vastly overrated, though the comedic value mentioned above is for real. I have not heard too many positives about David Burke's. My vote is for neither.
Chicago has plenty of steakhouses. I would recommend one that is unique to Chicago, if nothing else. Some that come to mind are Chicago Chop House, Gene and Georgetti's, Magnum's, Rosebud's Steakhouse, Phil Stefani's 437 Rush, and Iron Mike's Grill (owned by Ditka himself). I haven't been to any of them in quite awhile. I liked them all.
>> I have not heard too many positives about David Burke's
That statement is not true at all, at least not with regard to posts here on Chowhound. Many posters (including myself) have lauded David Burke's, in this topic (as you can see) as well as in many others. In fact, I estimate that more people here on Chowhound have claimed David Burke's as the best steakhouse in Chicago than any other steakhouse over the past few years. Granted, there are also naysayers, but on the whole the prevailing opinion here is extremely positive. (And Gibson's is probably second in such "best" claims, although I suspect Gibson's has an advantage in being well known, and may also have the most naysayers.)
Granted, there are indeed other steakhouses here as well; Morton's, Saloon, and Joe's have their fans too. But David Burke's and Gibson's are two of the best and most popular as well, and the question which started this topic asked for a recommendation between those two.
Also, if you have not actually been to David Burke's Primehouse, I recommend you try it and decide for yourself.
A couple of my friends told me of their experiences, and I value their opinions on these matters. In fairness, this was when it was starting out, and it could be attributed to that. Someday, I'll get out and try it. I'm just saying this town has tons of places to try, why limit it to those two places. I ate at Gibson's once, and I did not have a positive experience. I wouldn't go back there, except to people watch. That's just me.
I want to be fair so let's review the list:
Gibson's -- it offers a terrific wet-aged steak, a very nice atmosphere, ridiculously huge (but really good) desserts, and an enjoyable bar scene, just not my personal favorite.
DB Primehouse -- a terrific dry-aged kansas city strip, sinful popovers to start the meal, modern comfortable decor, and one of my most favorites.
Chicago Chop House -- very good traditional wet-aged steak, I hate the decor and the location, it's old-school and works hard to maintain that, just not one of my favorites.
G&G -- other than the cottage fries (order them well-done) I just think the food is sub-par, steaks just never seem to be great, always good, but not great. Again very old-school but pulls is off way better than the Chop House
Magnum's -- never been (isn't it suburban only) and maybe out of business
Rosebud Steakhouse -- actually all of the steaks at any Rosebud are very good, just not big-meat-on-plate steakhouses. Rosebud Steakhouse does do the full italian styled steak house, only been once and I really enjoyed the strip. Don't remember that much other than I would for sure go back.
Ditka's -- really a great place that I forget to mention a lot. Stupendouse pot roast nachos to eat while watcing a game, all the steaks and chops are great (wet-aged chicago style), never had a bad meal.
I vote for David Burke's. As someone mentioned earlier, Gibson's is a place to see and be seen.
Are the steaks good? yes. Is it a place I would want to be? No.
Right in the heart of the "Viagra Triangle," patrons are generally middle-life crises with younger women on their arms trying to impress (who?) with how cool and monied they are. Also I find the service there to be a little brisk and patronizing.
Of the two you mention - Gibsons. At least Gibsons knows how to serve a steak cooked correctly/properly. Fans of David Burke's often rave about the quality of the meat - the uncooked meat. I don't eat uncooked meat, however. Tales of woe about David Burke's ruining a good steak are commonplace. Given the price of the steaks at the top restaurants now, why take a chance at wasting your money. Also, I've found the service at David Burke's to be at a level far below Gibson's.
David Burke's Primehouse
616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611
I think the steaks at Burke's are every bit as good as at Gibson's, they have a wide variety of choices among their dry-aged meats, and the non-steak menu items are more interesting. The atmosphere of the two is different; Burke's is more of a contemporary type restaurant, somewhat subdued, whereas Gibson's is loud, cramped, bustling, a "see and be seen" type restaurant.
Burke's at dinner is very different from Burke's at brunch; however, they recently did away with their "American dim sum brunch" in favor of a "bento box brunch" (which I have not yet tried), and their Facebook page says they are going to introduce something soon for weekends, so I don't know what will be what and how that will affect your decision.
If you decide on Gibson's, it's best to book now, as they fill up well in advance; you can always cancel if you change your mind. Both restaurants accept reservations on Opentable.com
May I suggest a slight detour. Go to David Burke's for the sunday brunch.
For a creative (non slab of meat) steak, with a nuevo latin flair, try Carnivale. A group of 6 ate there last month, two of us had steaks (there are three choices on the menu) and another a pork special that were all terrific.
You will truly enjoy Alinea, so have some fun the night after and go to carnivale.