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May 23, 2011 10:59 AM

Lawry's The Prime Rib?

My husband and I are staying overnight in Chicago for our third wedding anniversary. We live in Northwest Indiana and usually do this each year, and we take turns choosing the big anniversary dinner. My husband is a huge fan of Prime Rib, but I notice that a lot of the popular steak houses do not serve it. The only place I knew of was Lawry's. I'd like to know if anyone has enjoyed their experience there? What is the ambiance like? I know that basically there is no menu if you're eating prime rib. You just choose your cut and everyone has the same thing (not crazy about that). If I had my choice, I would have chosen David Burke's. Thanks!

Lawry's The Prime Rib
100 East Ontario Street, Chicago, IL 60611

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  1. There is a menu, which consists of different cuts of prime rib and seafood dishes. Each person picks their own cut / item off the menu and they serve to you table side. The ambiance is old-world regal / elegance. I mean it's not all that impressive because the seats are a bit close to one another, but at least it feels more like a special-occasion place than David Burke's.

    I enjoyed my experience. But again, I like prime rib.

    1. I love prime rib. I don't have it very often, but I enjoy it when I have it. And you're correct, many steakhouses don't serve it except sometimes as a daily special.

      I went to Lawry's about ten years ago on Thanksgiving. The prime rib was pretty good. They also feature their "spinning salad bowl". The atmosphere was like a traditional old-fashioned steakhouse. I haven't been back since then though (but I bet it's exactly the same as it was then).

      One place I go when I want prime rib is Carson's, which does a very nice job on it, maybe the best prime rib I've had at a restaurant in recent years. And everyone doesn't have to get the same thing. I sometimes get prime rib, sometimes their yummy barbecue back ribs, and they do a nice job on steaks for the steak-lovers.

      One other steakhouse that always has prime rib on the menu is Wildfire. I haven't had their prime rib; I usually order other things there.

      I think the biggest reason I don't get prime rib when eating out is that I can make great prime rib at home. There's a great specialty butcher in the near northern suburbs (Wilmette) called Zier's ( ), and their meats are prime grade (despite the name, not all "prime rib" is made with prime grade meats). Their prime rib is one of my "go to" items for special occasions, or when I'm yearning for a really great prime rib. It's as good as you'll find in any restaurant, anywhere. Oh, and it's not inexpensive there, even though you have to cook it yourself - around $10-11/lb if I recall correctly and the price hasn't changed.

      1. I was undecided what to order one night at Gibson's and the waiter suggested I try the prime rib. I had always gone with the steaks at Gibson's, but the waiter told me the owner was actually more fanatical about the prime rib than anything else. So, I ordered it. Excellent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JoeyH

          If you decide you want to go to Gibson's, I recommend making your reservations as far in advance as possible, either via or by phone. It's one of a handful of restaurants in Chicago whose reservations fill up far, far in advance.

        2. Lawry's is very good--we went there for my husband's birthday while we were on vacation in Chicago. We had the prime rib (of course) and it was delicious. The spinning salad's pretty cool too. I would imagine on the weekends it would be crowded, but we went on a Thursday night and it wasn't too bad. If your husband loves prime rib he'll enjoy Lawry's.

          11 Replies
          1. re: MandalayVA

            Thank you to everyone's input. We have a reservation for next Friday night at 8:30PM at Lawry's, since it truly is my husband's favorite meal.
            We've been to Gibson's before, the Rosemont location and were rushed out the door in 45 minutes. With so many restaurants to try, I would prefer to try some new things and return to places we liked, here and there. Here is our itinerary for our anniversary trip:

            Friday: lunch at Al's Beef or Mr. Beef
            (We have Italian beef where we live in NW Indiana, but we don't think it's very tasty. We haven't been to the one Portillo's we have in Merrillville, though. We want to give it one more go at trusted locations before we decide that Italian beef is not for us.)

            Mid-Lunch: Oysters at Shaw's. I really enjoyed Shaw's last year, so we HAVE to stop in for those briny oysters!

            Friday Dinner: Lawry's

            Saturday Breakfast: Heaven on Seven

            Saturday Lunch: Uno's or open, depending on how we feel.

            Then we head back to the train to NW Indiana.

            Heaven on Seven
            600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

            Al's Beef
            7132 183rd St, Tinley Park, IL 60477

            Mr. Beef
            666 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654

            1. re: Oboegal

              Have a great time, and let us know how it all worked out!

              1. re: Oboegal

                Note HoS (Garland Bldg) breakfast doesn't start till 10:00 on Saturday. (Try cheese grits--real good).

                1. re: Oboegal

                  Al's is awesome, although Portillo's is no slouch either.

                  1. re: MandalayVA

                    The Al's franchises aren't that good. Portillo's is just fine and the one on Ontario is definitely better than the Al's the next block or two over, for example.

                    1. re: huiray

                      I went to the Al's on Ontario. Good thing I apparently hit the gold standard for it. :)

                      1. re: MandalayVA

                        The folks who like Al's, (I'm not one) only rave about the Taylor Street location, not the Ontario Street. In that part of town, I'd do Mister Beef, then Portillo's before Al's on Ontario.

                        That said, I think the one thing that all Al's do well is their fries. There is an Al's by my office (Jackson and Wabash) and I grab their fries before walking a block to get a better beef at Max's on Adams.

                        1. re: MandalayVA

                          @ Mandalay: Either you jest, or you misunderstood me. As delk (above) said, the Al's on Ontario is not good. If you re-read my post above what I said was that the Portillo's on Ontario is definitely better than the Al's on Ontario.

                          1. re: huiray

                            I thought both were good. I'm not from Chicago, sue me. ;)

                            1. re: MandalayVA

                              Many (but not all) Chicagoans would agree with you. It's one of those open-for-debate things. Glad you liked the Italian Beef.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                ...but the dogs at Al's on Ontario (at least the last time I got them there) are just skinny limp dogs (on cotton wool buns), no snap, something you might get in a school cafeteria with no money in the budget for food and on a bad day. The Italian beef? Too finely shredded for me, a bit plain and with a taste that I considered below that of Portillo's.

                2. This will be a very pedestrian review, as I am not a food writer in the least. :)
                  Reporting on our 2 days of Chicago dining: My husband and I stayed at the Embassy Suites on State Street. Highly recommended, and close to every place we wanted to go. I really love the complimentary bar for two hours each night, too.
                  We began with a lunch at David Burke's Primehouse. I had called ahead and asked if the shellfish tower could be served at lunch, and they arranged that for me. I had a raspberry martini and my husband had a really great bloody mary. I love that they used cocktail sauce in his drink.
                  Popovers at the beginning with cheese cooked into them. Light and airy. Fabulous.
                  We began with the kobe beef sashimi, which I had been dying to try. I have never eaten anything like this. It comes sliced very thin on a block of Himalayan salt, with dried mushrooms and chives. It was served with 2 crostini and truffle mayonnaise. The beef really DOES melt in your mouth, and it's hardly necessary to chew. The texture was almost creamy and the taste was a great beefy flavor. I really enjoyed this dish.
                  I then had the shellfish tower. This is supposed to serve 2-3 people, and it was adequate for me and my husband to share. It contained shrimp (4), a mix of east and west oysters (4), half a lobster, and probably close to a pound of cracked king crab legs, as well as cocktail sauce, mignonette, and a creamy mustard-like sauce. I wasn't pleased with the lobster, as it was a tad overdone, but the shrimp were perfectly cooked. My favorite were the king crab legs. Very sweet and perfectly steamed. While I enjoyed this, I really don't think it is worth 55 dollars. I tried not to think of the price while eating. I have had a similar, and larger version at the Oceanaire for 20 dollars less.
                  My husband enjoyed the 40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burger. He said it was probably the best burger he had ever had. He had ordered it medium rare, but it came out more like medium well. He didn't really mind (he's not the foodie that I am). I tried a bite of it, but I didn't really taste the beef, and was disappointed. All I could taste was the bacon-mayo that was on it.
                  Next we wanted some more alcohol at a bit more of a price bargain (and I wanted some fried oysters), so we walked on over to Heaven on Seven. We both ordered a Cajun Iced Tea (limit one per customer), and had an order of fried oysters and fried green tomatoes with grilled shrimp. The drinks were great as always, and the fried oysters were crisp on the outside, and juicy inside. This was a great snack.
                  After a nap in our comfortable bed, we started getting ready for our dinner rez at Lawry's.
                  We walked inside and were instantly delighted by the ambiance inside the lobby area. There were rich warm colors everywhere, highlighted by a dazzling chandelier. We heard the din of the main dining room, and I was afraid we would be unable to hear each other, but the host wished us a Happy Anniversary and led us to a much quieter dining room. I had heard that the tables were placed close together, but this was not the case in this room. We had ample space between tables. We were greeted by our server, who was referred to by Miss (and her last name). She was not the friendliest of people, and was very "down-to-business". With our drink orders placed, she brought out the spinning salad. She spun and tossed the salad on ice while pouring the French-like dressing on top. The chilled salad forks were a nice touch. the salad was just okay, but I did like the bits of egg that was mixed in with the lettuce and red peppers. I only ate half to save room for Prime Rib.
                  The meal took quite a long time to be served. I didn't time it, but it seemed a while. My husband and I both ordered the lawry's cut. He, medium rare, and medium for myself. We also ordered a side of roasted mushrooms and creamed spinach. The prime rib was very good. I loved taking a bite of the beef with just a little bit of fat added to my fork. However, for the price (39 dollars), there was not much beef. The Yorkshire pudding that was served was kinda just okay, too. It was just a baked popover-type thing cooked with meat juices, which you couldn't taste. The popover at DB's was much better. The creamed spinach lacked serious seasoning and was only luke-warm. The mashed potatoes and brown gravy on the other hand were FANTASTIC! These were real mashed potatoes with whole milk and butter that were served piping hot! Probably the best thing on the plate. I did like that the mushrooms had many different varieties mixed in. I noticed button mushrooms with shitakes, but they were also devoid of taste. The salt and pepper shakers on the table were heavily utilized during this meal.
                  We were going to look at the dessert menu, but were instead brought out an English Trifle as an anniversary gift. This was a nice touch. It was an angel-food type cake with a strange filling with grapes, and a strawberry glaze on top. I liked the intense strawberry flavor of the glaze, but the cake was refrigerator-cold, and just very average. While I appreciate the free dessert, I would have preferred to order a dessert of our choosing and pay the price.

                  The next morning, we ate at our hotel's buffet, I ate a very small serving because we were headed to Pizzeria Uno's after checkout.
                  After a swim and checking out of our hotel, we walked to Uno's. We arrived around 12:30, and it was pretty packed. The getting a table thing is rather confusing. We asked how long the wait was and the hostess told us around 25 minutes, so we said that we'd like a table. We walked outside to wait, and were under the impression that we were on the list, but noticed that she did not take our name. We asked her if she needed our name, and she stated that we had to order the pizza first. By this point, the wait was up to 35 minutes. We both ordered individual pizzas-I had the Spinaccoli (with spinach, broccoli, tomato, and garlic), and he ordered the Numero Uno (with pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, and onion). Finally, we were led to a small two-top by the window and out of everyone's way, thank goodness. I ordered a Wildberry Lemonade, which was a blend of berry puree, lemonade, and Stoli Raspberry and Blueberry. Very strong and refreshing. My husband said it tasted like cool-aid, and I agree.
                  Our pizza came, and it was probably the BEST pizza I have ever tasted. They were not sliced at all, so cutting it into slices with a butter knife was a little cumbersome. I loved the sweet taste of the tomato, with an overtone of garlic here and there. Fresh spinach was used, and I like how to broccoli was in small dices, rather than large pieces. The crust was thin on the bottom and almost formed a bowl. I was under the impression that the crust was going to be very thick so this was a little different. I loved how crispy and buttery the crust was. This was what pizza is supposed to be! I tasted my husband's pizza, and it was good, also, but I preferred mine. The sauce on the Numero Uno seemed more acidic than the sweet tomatoes on the Spinoccoli.
                  After lunch at Uno, I had misread the train schedule, so we ended up at the station 3 hours early. We ended up just walking around Millennium Park which was full of adventure. We crossed paths with a zombie convention and a wedding party.
                  I think we'll probably go back to Primehouse for dinner, but definitely not Lawry's. Those of you who has eaten at Uno's, how different is Due? Is it the exact same menu?
                  All in all, it was a fun trip, one we look forward to every year. The first year we tried to do all the museums, but they were pricey, somewhat confusing to get to, and just were not worth it to us. The food is where it's at on these trips. Now back to Weight Watchers tomorrow.

                  Pizzeria Uno
                  29 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

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

                  Heaven on Seven
                  600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611