Looking for decent, inexpensive steak (preferrably downtown)
As much as I enjoy a really good steakhouse, that's more of an occasional treat for me than a staple. What I'd love to find is a restaurant that serves reasonably good steaks at a lower price-point. Ditto lamb chops.
I'd really appreciate and suggestions. Thanks in advance
Places where I've had excellent non-steakhouse steaks:
Carnivale - there's two or three on menu from flank to sirloin all in really nice preparations.
Mexique - went there right after it opened and I remember my dad having some type of steak he really liked and then talked about.
Wildfire - it's a homegrown chicago chain but it's half a step below the big steakhouses in price AND you can stop in and grab a high-top at the bar.
1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661
jbontario's tips here are very good. Wildfire (several locations) is indeed a bit less expensive than the others and it's pretty good too. Same thing for Petterino's in the Loop.
I like Mexique a lot and it deserves a bit more explanation. The chef-owner is Mexican and has training in classical French cuisine, and I would describe the food there as bistro fare with a major Mexican influence and a more subtle French influence. I haven't had their steak, but when I went there I had their braised short ribs and they were outstanding. It's in West Town.
One strategy is to go to good steakhouses at lunch rather than dinner. Most restaurants are much less expensive at lunchtime, and steakhouses are no exception, with bargain prices on steaks as well as other dishes.
French bistros often serve surprisingly good but affordable steaks. One of the best steaks I've had recently was at Bistro Bordeaux in Evanston. There are some excellent French bistros in the city, such as La Sardine (although I haven't had steaks there). Plus, many French bistros have "bargain nights", such as Tuesdays at La Sardine (and Le Bouchon) when you can choose any three courses for $25, and Wednesdays at Bistro Bordeaux for $28.95 (there is a small supplement on a few dishes there). There's a fairly complete list of French bistros, with links to their websites, at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602957
I also had an excellent steak recently at Cafe des Architectes; it was part of the "neighborhood friends menu" they offer Sundays through Tuesdays, with three courses for $32.
All of these strategies apply to lamb chops/rack as well.
For more tips on finding value for your dining dollar, see:
Where are the best Chicago dinner *values* - the hidden gems? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697829