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May 24, 2010 08:43 PM

My Chicago picks for this weekend - Good choices?

Hi All,

We made reservations at Coco Pazzo, David Burke's Primehouse and Brasserie Jo.
We felt like having italian, steak & french bistro.

Good choices? I'm reading mixed reviews for Primehouse.

Thanks all :)

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

Coco Pazzo Cafe
636 N St Clair, Chicago, IL 60611

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  1. Three well-known restaurants. I'd drop David Burke's from the list, though - because the restaurant has a history of wrongly cooking the steaks.

    1. Since those are the types of food you'd like, those are three great choices. Coco Pazzo is one of our very best mid-priced Italian restaurants, David Burke's is great for steaks (I like it too because it has a lot of other options in addition to its great steaks), and Brasserie Jo is an excellent French bistro from Jean Joho, the owner of Everest.

      Don't get thrown; every restaurant seems to have at least a few negative reviews, sometimes by people who haven't even been there. Burke's does a great job, and has wonderful dry-aged meats; that's why it's is considered the best steakhouse by more Chowhounders than any other steakhouse in town. I've never had anything other than the best steaks there, cooked as specified. We do have many other excellent steakhouses in town too - Gibson's, Joe's, Morton's, Saloon, Gene and Georgetti, and others - but there is no other steakhouse as widely praised (as you've probably also found out by scanning the various discussions here).

      Enjoy your visit, and if you get a chance, please take a moment afterwards to let us know how everything went!

      11 Replies
          1. re: Staceyy

            Definitely drop David Burke's. I've been several times, and have never been truly satisfied with the meal. It's also more expensive than other well-known steakhouses in Chicago. For the money, I'd say either Kinzie Chop House or Gibson's.

            Our favourite bistro is Le Bouchon in Bucktown. Has a very authentic feel to it, and the steak is always really good. Two birds with one stone here!

            Le Bouchon
            1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

            1. re: KateHC

              David Burke's is NOT more expensive than the other well-known steakhouses. You can see for yourself by checking the menus on their websites, which show their prices. Yes, Burke's has a few super-expensive steaks on the menu based on extended aging times not offered elsewhere, but for the most popular cuts, the prices are very similar to (and in some cases less than) Gibson's and other top steakhouses. For example, a large filet mignon is $40 at Gibson's and Keefer's, $39 at Burke's, and $36 at Kinzie. If you are primarily looking for value, go to Wildfire, which is less expensive, although a true steak connoisseur may find that the quality is not comparable to Burke's or Gibson's.

              Among French bistros, I haven't been to Le Bouchon, but I like La Sardine, its sister restaurant in the West Loop, a lot. Brasserie Jo is also very good. If I were choosing only based on the restaurant, I'd probably choose La Sardine, but if I were staying in River North and had to factor in the convenient location, I would choose Brasserie Jo without any hesitation.

              1. re: KateHC

                Le Bouchon (like Le Sardine) is excellent, authentic bistro food and ambiance.. However, it is quite small and books up quickly. Not on You have to book a bit in advance. Le Sardine is a bit closer for you and not as difficult to get into.

                Le Bouchon
                1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

                1. re: chicgail

                  La Sardine accepts reservations on their website at (although not on Opentable) as well as over the phone. Le Bouchon accepts reservations only over the phone.

                  In addition to Brasserie Jo, two other good French bistros convenient to the Mag Mile and River North are Bistro 110 and Kiki's Bistro. All of these accept reservations by Opentable and phone.

                2. re: KateHC

                  David Burke's isn't a place one is likely to find people who know and appreciate good steaks ... steaks served properly or who are in search of a good environment. What good is excellent raw meat if the chef and cooks can'' prepare it properly? For what one is served, it's a very expensive restaurant ... that's been my experience there.

                  1. re: gomexico

                    I have to agree with Go... I misspoke -- er, mistyped -- in my first response. For the money, Gibson's of Kinzie are a lot better to me. Gibson's is also a Chicago institution. And for what it's worth, David Burke is a New York chef. Unless it's Mario Batali or Daniel Boulud serving me steak, I'd stick with the Chicago staples. :)

                    Also, Le Bouchon and La Sardine are affiliated. As it's closer to Downtown, it may be a metter option for you. But if you don't mind traveling out a bit, I'd still go with Bouchon. You'll get a better feel for what Chicago is really like that way, too.

                    I would also consider Avec for a more French-style restaurant, too. It's definitely a Chicago-foodie haunt, and is a lot of fun. However, they don't take reservations, but it's always fun to go and wait in the summer. Grab a bottle of wine, a table outside, and just people watch. It's not a bistro, but it's excellent French/Basque food, and it gives you a really good idea of what the Chicago food scene is like.

                    Avec Restaurant
                    615 W Randolph St Ste A, Chicago, IL 60661

                    La Sardine
                    111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

                    Le Bouchon
                    1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

                    1. re: KateHC

                      I like David Burke's a lot. And think that for me, I like the more modern setting over the other stodgier steak houses. Just throwing this out, but I actually have had a great dinner at Keefer's before, too, and I like that setting.

                    2. re: gomexico

                      Now what you all have missed on the steak house argument is what type of steak you like?

                      David Burke's (one of my favorites anywhere in the US and I travel 45 weeks a year eating at top restaurants around the world--thanks to clients paying big fees) has in-house dry-aged steaks. I find this type of steak to have much more flavor than a wet-aged steak. This also results in the steak being less moist (maybe the feeling of overcooked?).

                      I hate to think that the two other negative reviews had wrongly cooked steaks and didn't ask for it to be fixed. I have eaten at Burkes a dozen times in the last few years and have never had an overcooked steak. Granted I always order medium-rare. I've had others with me send back a steak and they were gracious and quick in fixing it. It is not cheap, but I find Burke's generally more pleasing as an entire experience than other Chicago places.

                      Gibson's is excellent, but it's a wet-aged steak, more moist than a dry-aged, but less flavorful. The scene is fun to watch but you'll be treated less than excellently unless you're well known in the city or ordering $500 bottles of wine.

                      Kinzie, in my personal opinion is in the bottom half of chicago steakhouses. It is perfect if you want old-school and a more intimate feel, but i really haven't had a steak there that I thought was great.

                      1. re: jbontario

                        I just went to Burke's last weekend. The steak was delicious (55-day ribeye, 20 oz.), the depth of flavor with the dry aging is amazing. BUT I asked for medium rare and got medium on its way to well. The service was also pretty spotty for that price point. I haven't been to any other Chicago steakhouse (just relocated from California) yet, but will be trying Gibson or Kinzie's when visitors come into town next week.

            2. I'm mostly a fan of Burke's. And if I'm looking for a steakhouse in Chicago that is where I go. I've been at least three times and have never had a poorly cooked steak or bad service. Last time our table wasn't ready and they sat us in the bar for a while which generally pisses me off but that is the worst I can say. I love their aged steaks. The last time we went the also allowed corkage at a very reasonable price.