Steak: 4.0…I have had 5.0’s from Chicago Cut, but this one landed at a solid 4. There was a lot of fat close to the bone and along the outer cut. Not always a bad thing, but the bone itself lacked strength. The flavor of the bone-in itself was delicious as one would always expect from the house’s Friday / Saturday night offerings. This may have just been Wednesday’s cut.
Sides: 4.0…The broccoli/spinach with garlic was the favorite of the table. The Lobster Mac withheld itself as the modern time favorite. The mushrooms, much like the Masters, are a tradition unlike any other. Thanks for splitting the sides for the group in advance. But we are adults, and sometimes prefer reaching across the table like unmannerly children to indulge ourselves instead.
Ambiance: 5.0…The ambiance has not appeared to change since the steakhouse first opened. No other restaurant in town aside from maybe Smith and Wollensky offers the classic steakhouse dining room setting Chicago has become known for in addition to the beautiful overview of the river, the El, and the skyline. But what gave the night the 5.0 was the tour of the dry-age room. Matt eloquently offered to show us around after dinner, which is not the expectation from the staff, let alone his savviness of each cut of meat. For a Wednesday night, business was still hot, so when the server goes above and beyond with a behind-the-scenes presentation, it goes noticed.
Drinks: 3.0…I ordered a Bookers old fashioned. Maybe you’re thinking “why Bookers?” I don’t know, felt like it I guess. But it was nothing impressive. The house version is advertised as an after-dinner old fashioned, and I believe it contained rum, so maybe the classic isn’t their strong suit. The wines were selected via a complimentary blind taste test, which was unsolicited by us (another applause for the service). The Cab-sauv selection got the job done, but was nothing overly exciting. *Interestingly enough, the consensus blind taste test of the table turned out to be the least pricey of the three by 1/3 a cost per glass.
Steak: 4.1…My previously times at Chicago Cut I have ordered the filet and they have been amazing! My medium-rare bone-in this evening was very good but I wouldn’t put it in my Top-5. It was cooked to the correct temp and had the right amount of fat to hit but the flavor just didn’t have the WOW factor.
Sides: 4.8…The spinach & broccoli, lobster-mac, and mushrooms came out already divvied up on a side plate. I actually liked that they took care of dishing them up however I barely got any broccoli and it didn’t look like Josh was going to share his over-allotment. They all hit the mark and paired well with the main course.
Ambiance: 5.0…There may not be a better view in the city than looking South over the river with the Brown Line off overhead to the West. Classic steakhouse with a modern sexy feel to it. One large dining room keeps the energy together well. Wednesday/6:30 reservations and the place was jam packed. Knives had a well-balanced heavy weight to them with a Chicago Cut logo. A personal tour of the dry aging room post-dinner solidified an amazingly night.
Drinks: 2.8…It’s my same complaint every time I go to Chicago Cut and that is that the wine/drink list on an iPad….I hate this! They have a very classy vibe throughout the restaurant including the food menu, and then they pass out 1 iPad per table. Not only is the iPad tacky, but it’s also very inefficient and takes forever for everyone to navigate in and out of the wines, drinks, beers, application. This needs to change. I am not a bourbon connoisseur but I have my opinion of a good and bad drink….this old fashioned was just OK. The orange flavor was overpowering. The wine was selected via blind taste test between Pomatto and myself. We both selected #3 which surprisingly was the least expensive. I forget the name of the wine and when you click on “wine list menu” on the website it simply states that they have the “most expansive and interesting wine lists in the entire city.” Not exactly helpful. Another thing that needs changing. Whichever glass of wine I had was good but nothing to write home about.
Steak: 4.5…Bone-In Rib Eye steak with Bearnaise was my order for the night. I’m going to jump into the future and rave about our tour of the dry-aging room after our meal. I really like to see the complete “cycle” of meat…and even though the steer wasn’t parked out back prior to our meal, that was ok because our cut of meat was nice and safe (and dry) for 35 days in the back dry aging room. Very cool of Chicago Cut to have their own dry-aging locker, and even cooler, giving us a private tour! Ok, back to the actual steak. I really loved this steak. Everything from the crust, the presentation temperature, the fat content and the flavor was spot on. Was it in my top 3 Chicago steaks? Sadly no, but that is a tough feat to tackle, but I would put it in my top 5 for sure!
Starters/Sides: 4.0…We had steak on the mind, and thus bypassed any starters and jumped right into the main entree order. For our sides we ordered the Lobster Mac & Cheese, the Broccolini & Spinach and the Mixed Mushrooms. Lobster Mac & Cheese…excellent! Not Capital Grille excellent, but up there! Mixed Mushrooms…I actually prefer that acidic/vinegary flavoring, so for me this was an excellent side dish. Broccolini & Spinach was my least favorite however. Totally missed the flavor scale for me. Also the least aesthetically appetizing side as it just looked limp and leafy. Big props to Chicago cut for their serving of the side dishes though. I actually really liked how they plated the side dishes for each of us individually on a separate plate. A true honor to the Steak On A Plate mentality where only the steak shall be on the plate!
Ambiance: 4.7…When you look outside the windows at Chicago Cut you see the most amazing views of downtown Chicago and the river. When you look back inside you see POWER. I have no clue what the other diners in the restaurant do for a living, but I just get that feeling that they do something important and powerful! And then I look at the fools I’m dining with and think where did I go wrong! ha! Love the decor, love the color palette, love the lighting, love it all. A classic Chicago steakhouse decor at its best! Minus a couple decimals due to the close quarters though. I somehow fit before my dinner but didn’t on my way out…hmmmm.
Drinks: 2.5…I love technology. I’m your typical “early adopter”. BUT, I personally believe that technology has it’s limits and specific to Chicago Cut, that limit is right at the iPad Wine, Beer & Spirts Menu. It reminded me of the table-side kiosk that Olive Garden has to quickly order a Miller Lite. When dining at a marquee Chicago steakhouse, where everything is big and over-sized, I prefer that iconic comedically large printed menu and unfortunately the iPad missed the mark as it is just distracting and unnecessary. I was handed the iPad and SCROLLED to the Bourbon section. Decent selection…kind of generic/standard, luckily the Breckenridge Bourbon saved them from falling into the all standard category. I quickly ordered a Breckenridge Old Fashioned but was bummed when it came with the bright red cherry as well as being a little too strong on the orange and/or orange bitters side. Yeah yeah, I’m an Old Fashioned snob, but I know for a fact there are others in my corner! While I did’t have any wine , I was impressed by the wait staff’s assistance in helping Adam and Andrew with their selection, including a 3-glass blind tasting to pick one out! I went for the beer and was hoping for a great craft beer selection…out of the 20 or so beers, I’d say about 70% were domestic, which left slim pickings for my craft beer desire…but alas, they had a local favorite, Two Brother’s Domaine DuPage so I was more than content for the next few rounds.