v15 Commentary :: STK Chicago

Steak On A Plate Co-Founder’s Commentary
SOAP v15 @  STK Chicago (04.29.2016)

Steak: 3.0…You can’t spell Steak without STK. But you can’t spell it without an E and an A either. This one had 3 out of 5. It was an average bone-in, nothing great in terms of quality of cut and flavor. Not bad, but there isn’t too much more to say.

Sides: 5.0…You can’t spell Sides without SDE. The S is for Sweet Corn Pudding, the D is for Delicious, and the E is for Everybody thought it was the most delicious sweet corn pudding, and possibly best side of all steakhouses. I Put this #1 over the corn casserole at Bavettes (Wow factor).

Ambiance: 4.0…You can’t spell Ambiance without MBC, the fun museum upstairs in the same building. The ambiance at STK is obviously more vibrant. While I felt it represented the coastal club scenes versus the traditional Chicago Steakhouse, the staff and service were excellent and kept us having fun the entire night. We also did not have the opportunity to tour the adjacent bar space which seemed like a good time. The setting which we were seated combined with the overall experience will bring me back, but I will be exploring other menu options.

Drinks: 3.5…As Vito Corleone once said, “A man who never spends time with his family can never be a real man”. Later that day, he put an orange peel in his mouth and died of a heart attack. I attempted the same with the orange peel from the Old Fashioned. Now by the end of the night I was still alive and hadn’t spent much time with family… but had things gone south, I wouldn’t be telling any dead relatives about the Old Fashions. They were ok, but the wine pairings were superior to the cocktails. Unless there were others on the list we looked over that night, I’d suggest going straight to the wine.


Steak: 4.0…I admit it…I went into this meal with a HUGE preconceived notion…that being that this is a club, disguised as a restaurant, so how can they make a good steak?  I will be the first to admit it, that I really liked my steak.  I had the 20 oz bone-in “rib steak”…in real steakhouse words, a “rib steak” with a bone is a bone-in ribeye.  Semantics aside, I honestly really liked my steak.  It’s not going to make my top 5, hence the 4.0 rating, but I left that table with satisfaction of just having ate a really good cut of meat.  I also got a side of the bearnaise sauce and the STK sauce (i’m a sauce freak)…bearnaise was too whipped like…STK sauce was a good sweet steak sauce, not too tart.  In summary, i’m sorry about my preconceived notion, but I admitted my true reaction and will tell anyone/everyone that STK makes a damn good steak.  Will I have preconceived notions again on other places?  Of course…I’ll pre-judge the crap out of you!

Sides: 4.0…We started off with a tartare battle…Beef vs. Tuna.  Tuna won this battle, but will get eliminated in the next round, that being against any other tuna tartare in the city.  However, the appetizer of the grilled octopus was fantastic!  Not too chewy…just the right amount of oil…8 thumbs up (octopus joke).  We had a lot of sides, as there were 8 of us: creamy yukon potatoes, sweet corn pudding, cauliflower gratin, brussels sprouts, mac & cheese and the wild mushrooms.  Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Corn pudding were amazing.  Should have just gotten multiples of those!  Cauliflower gratin and wild mushrooms were semi-amazing.  The yukon potatoes and wild mushrooms…meh.  My advice…octopus appetizer, sweet corn pudding and the sprouts…you’ll thank me later.  

Ambiance: 2.0…Dark wood interiors, the background sounds of speakeasy style music that doesn’t hinder table conversation, and the feeling of power just looking around at the dining room guests…these are 3 aspects of a classic steakhouse that STK does not portray.  Let’s just say what we are all thinking…STK is a club that serves steak.  Instead of dark interiors, the finishes are bright with clean modern/euro lines…instead of background music that just blends in during conversation, the thump of the latest in electronic dance/pop necessitates that you yell to the guy across the table.  Something tells me that if I were to put in a request to the DJ to play some Miles Davis that they would play the dj deadmouse version.  And while there could have been other diners who exuded the feeling of power dining at STK that night, I honestly couldn’t see them as I was blinded by sparklers all night or possibly they were being blocked by the amateur go-go dancers who danced on their table after they finished eating their steak.  Now, props to STK for embracing the Apple motto of “Think Different” when it came to designing a steakhouse…if it wasn’t for Apple thinking different we would all be listening to our music on a Microsoft Zune right now and calling our friends on the latest Nokia flip-phone…but something tells me this steakhouse mentality won’t catch on and the classic dark finishes, dimly lit dining rooms, save the sparklers for 4th of July design of the majority of steakhouses in Chicago, is here to stay!

Drinks: 3.5…We started off with a round of Old Fashioneds, appropriately called “Not So Old Fashion”…yeah, we get it…you can stay out past 10pm, you don’t know what Friendster was and your hangovers don’t last 4 days…you’re young…stop rubbing it in.  Good Old Fashioneds, but not great, especially in comparison to the ones we had at Untitled just a half hour before that.  With dinner we had 4 bottles of Domaine Skouras wine, a greek red.  Despite not having a sommelier to nudge us in the right direction, it ended up being a decent wine.  Cocktails and wine were done…that is when Restaurant STK quickly became Club STK.  “Who wants a round of shots?!” our waitress exclaimed.  “We’re training new hostesses tonight and they need the practice”…yada yada yada…round of shots, with sparklers shooting out of them of course…something orange and tasted like an alcoholic capri sun.  I guess that was the “dinner” shot because now we were being sold on some “dessert” shots…yada yada yada…round of shots, with more sparklers…these were called Sparkplugs and I believe she said it was espresso and vodka.  Note: I tried ordering this at Starbucks the next day…no luck.  While a really tasty shot, I was more put off by the hard sale and the “I’ll have one with you” said by the waitress [translation: i’m going to charge you for 1 extra shot…thanks!].  


Disclaimer: 4 drinks prior to even sitting down to dinner, bottles of wine, post-dinner drinks, leads to a very foggy evaluation….but here we go….

Steak: 3.0…I seem to remember the steak being just OK…I seemed to remember to take a few pictures of the steak, and again, just looks OK….apologies to the chef if it was actually a masterpiece…The steak knives were absolutely miserable….they were shiny and sleek however unusable…there was no center balance and it kept falling into the plate…I’m pretty sure I had to clean off the handle to use 3-4 times….call it user error, I’ll call it poor design.

Starters/Sides: 3.5…I remember sweet corn being great and the brussel sprouts being right around par but nothing to write home about….again, apologies to the chef if the sides were better than I recall….

Ambiance: 3.0…RPM Steak meets Underground Nightclub…..I love RPM Steak and I hate Underground…the blend of the two was a recipe for disaster!

Drinks: 3.5…I recall MANY and frequent drinks throughout the night. A round of Old Fashioned drinks was a nice way for the group to get started upon being seated. I remember the wine being red, Greek, and a significant factor in how horrible I felt the next day. Unless it was a dream, there were also shots with sparklers and cleavage….Were we at a douchey nightclub or steakhouse? I’ll need to check my credit card statement for verification…

PS: I woke up with another smashed iPhone screen….I hold Sienna Tavern, Untitled, STK, and Public House accountable. You will each be receiving an invoice for 1/4 of the cost of a replacement phone.

Combined Rating