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Mar 20, 2010 06:11 AM

best steak in chicago

What is the absolute best steak in chicago. Money is no object.


(Sorry posting from phone, hard to search)

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  1. There are a lot of great steak restaurants here, and a lot of opinions. There is no consensus (not like in New York for Peter Luger's); for every restaurant with lots of proponents, there are at least a few detractors. However, to answer your question, the restaurant most frequently cited here in the past couple of years for the best steaks in town is David Burke's Primehouse, which dry ages its beef and offers steaks with different aging durations. Other local favorites whose names pop up frequently include Gibson's, Morton's, Pete Miller's, and Gene and Georgetti. There are still more; you can find one or two folks here who prefer yet another of our many steakhouses.

    You can find more of those opinions, along with links to the websites of the various steakhouses, in the Chowhound discussion at

    David Burke's Primehouse
    616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

    1. The most tender steak steak I have had in Chicago is the Wagyu (Omigyu) from Avenues. Really cuts like butter, unbelievably tender and juicy. Day and night experience comparing to any other beef I have ever had.

      For a traditional steakhouse, my favorites are Rosebud's, Tango Sur, and Wildfire. I am not a fan of institutions like David Burke or Gibosn's.

      Tango Sur
      3763 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

      8 Replies
      1. re: mountsac

        The high-end chef-driven restaurants like Avenues (and Alinea, which served a similar tidbit of wagyu beef the last time I was there) do indeed serve some excellent cuts of beef as part of their repertoire. However, they may not be the best places for someone just looking for the best steak in town, due to differences in price, formality, creativity, versatility, and focus.

        If any steakhouse is an "institution", it's one of the big chains, such as Rosebud (10 locations) and Wildfire (8 locations). In my experience, both these chains succeed primarily by being a bit less expensive than the best steakhouses around town, and their steaks are just not as good. For those who have a significant concern for value rather than solely quality, they may be the perfect choice. But for my taste, they are far from the "best steak in Chicago", the subject of this discussion.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          When I used the word "institution," I meant a place that people usually rave about; a place often considered as a "must go" in the area - like Alinea / Charlie Trotters in Chicago, Peter Lugers in New York, and French Laundry in SF. I think for steakhouses in Chicago, Gibson's and David Burke definitely qualify as institutions because they are praised by many, including some serious foodies. I used the word just in that context, not as "institutions" or whatever connotations you think it carries.

          I based my review on the quality of the meat and whether they cooked it to order correctly. Cost was not really in my calculus when I recommended them. Different people have different tastes or have varied experiences, and all should be respected. It is important to discuss those different tastes and experiences so as to help other readers make their own informed decision. It is simply not conducive to say that people think differently because they have a significant concern for value rather than solely quality.

          That said, even for chef-driven restaurants, I think Avenues' wagyu is much more tender than that of Alinea and TRU (I have not tried the version at L2O). The wagyu in Avenues is also served in traditional steak form (not slices or cased-in medallions) and can be ordered a la carte. And the Rosebud I would recommend is the one near the Drake Hotel - not the one in the loop, and certainly not the Italian restaurants throughout the Chicago metro area.

          1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

          Charlie Trotter's
          816 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

          2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

          1. re: mountsac

            " I think for steakhouses in Chicago, Gibson's and David Burke definitely qualify as institutions because they are praised by many, including some serious foodies."

            I think it's rather insulting to good steak houses to mention David Burke's in the same sentence, or same conversation. Good "raw" beef, without a doubt. But what the restaurant has consistently failed to do is to learn to cook the meat properly, day in and day out . . . which, at a minimum, is a hallmark of a steak house "institution." I think serious "foodies" understand the important differences. ;-)

            1. re: gomexico

              I agree that one of the hallmarks of a top steakhouse is its ability to cook the meat properly, i.e. as specified when ordering. Where we apparently disagree is in our experience; whenever I have ordered steak at David Burke's as well as Gibson's, it has arrived cooked exactly as I have requested.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                Did a search and didn't want to start a new thread but we went to Primehouse for the 4th time in the last 18 months or so and met with a huge disappointment. The last three times we went we were asked to "sit in the bar and have a drink". I generally think that this is a restaurant's way of selling more booze but, whatever.

                Each visit the length of time got longer. This time we were seated over an hour after our reservation. There were others that were in the same situation. In the end, I can't recommend the place even though the food was very good.

                The front of the house seemed to be completely over-whelmed. Their reasoning was "people were taking longer to eat than we thought". But they appeared to have just over-booked. They did waive our corkage (my idea) and gave our party of four a free appetizer. Nice gesture but it does not come remotely close to making up for a one hour+ wait-with a reservation!

                1. re: HoosierFoodie

                  My vote is for David Burke's. I guess we eat there roughly once a year (steakhouses aren't really our cup of tea) and I think the preparations, sides, sauces et. al. are more sophistictaed than the rest of the steakhouses. They also take there meat pretty seriously, sourcing it from their own farm and aging it in their own salt caves (I believe the only salt caved steak in Chicago). Never had a service issue there.

                  I must admit to being shocked with how good my steak was at Joe's Stone Crab earlier this year. I guess i didn't have high expectations, but the steak was great.

                  Per the discussion above, I believe i've had Wagyu on the tasting menus at Alinea, Tru, Avenues and L2O - all excellent, but none of them a steak dinner.

                  1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

                  2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

                  Joe's Stone Crab
                  60 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

                  1. re: bobdobilina

                    Over an hour late for a reservation is unforgivable. And given the fact that its gotten progressively worse over the course of three visits. That is a disturbing trend.

                  2. re: HoosierFoodie

                    Yes, if wait times are that screwed up, your taste buds after a few cocktails are shot as well. It defeats the purpose of spending that kind of dough on a meal you really will not fully "get". Time to move on when that happens.

        2. I eat steaks at least once a week in cities all over the country for client, money is no object, meals even though i live in chicago.

          Now that I have read all the others, and since it is stonecrab season again, I would suggets the Surf and Turf at Joe's. Their Kansas City Stip and the medium claws are my favorite in the city.

          I too also really used to like Burke's Primehouse, but I have not been there in over one year so I reserve judgment.

          I also really like Keefer's which seems to have fallen off the radar.