v20 Commentary :: Steak 48 Chicago

Steak On A Plate Co-Founder’s Commentary

SOAP v20 @  Steak 48 Chicago (08.12.2017)

Steak: 4.5…When they tell you the steak is being served on a 500 degree plate, pay attention, as that plate was every bit of 500 degrees.  I’m sure there is some scientific name for people who have to touch the plate in order to associate what 500 degrees really feels like, but for now, i’ll just call it curious.  Now some people hate the hot plate serving of a steak, but some great steakhouses do it (Mastros, Prime & Provisions), and Steak 48 now does it too and it’s a-o-k with me.  They must have some type of space-age material plates as I didn’t feel that the steak continued to be cooked as the steak sat in front of me…if anything, I feel that it just kept the steak warm the entire meal which is perfect.  Ok, so now the steak…TWO THUMBS UP.  Juicy, perfect crust, huge flavor that increased as you reached the bone…all-in-all…fantastic!  I got a “topper” with burrata, because why not!  grilled burrata was a perfect pairing, and one that isn’t typical, but maybe it should be.  The 22 ounce bone-in ribeye is a BIG steak…you will not leave hungry!
Starters/Sides: 4.0…As usual, we loaded up on starters/sides.  Fried Deviled Eggs and Ahi Poke to start.  Chef Brian’s Au Gratin Potatoes, Sauteed Corn, Stuffed Shishito Peppers, Seasonal Mushrooms and the coup de grace = the King Crab and Shrimp Mac & Cheese.  While not a typical side, I’m adding in a quick note about Steak 48’s homemade bread…actually can be summarized in one word:  BREADTASTIC.  There’s a reason why they walk you past the bread man baking this bread in the middle of the restaurant, because the smell is hypnotizing, and the taste is even more glorious…every bread I eat now will just be second rate bread…Thanks Steak 48 😉  Ok, back to normal starters/sides.  Fried Deviled Eggs were good, the sauce that came with it was the real winner.  Ahi Poke, was very fresh and tasty, no complaints with that.  Potatoes and mushrooms were stellar…the corn was good, but not Bavette’s good…I liked the shishito peppers alot…they are not your typical steakhouse side dish, which is what drew us to them…definitely recommend.  The real winner is the King Crab mac & cheese…lobster is good, but as I’ve recently become a huge king crab fan, this dish was everything I wanted it to be and more, and you don’t even have to crack the shells.
Ambiance: 4.5…I love that new steakhouse smell!  Almost as much as I love that new steakhouse interior!  This two-story restaurant screams steak and is very steak-sexy to boot.  The wall of butcher knives as you walk in gets you right in the steak mood, and then everything between that and your table sets the bar even higher.  From the full wall height photos of Chicago-themed art, the light fixtures around the bar, the walk past the raw bar as you take the stairs upstairs, and then finally passing the bread man (more on the bread above), this place has it all.  As this is a Mastros-family steakhouse, I feel compelled to compare to Mastros, even though Mastros is no longer owned by the Mastro family.  Mastros is definitely a bit darker lighting than Steak 48, and Steak 48 incorporates the bar more into the restaurant rather than put it aside in its own room like the Chicago Mastros.  I prefer the darker lighting of Mastros, but the vibrant/incorporation of the bar of Steak 48…overall, an incredible design and a feel to go with it!  Now, there is more to ambiance then interior design and crowd feel, and a large factor in my ambiance score is the wait staff.  Now, more often then not, nobody remembers the waiter/waitress after an average dining experience, i’m sorry to say.  On the low side, everyone remembers the waiter/waitress of a bad dining experience (i’m looking at your Erie Cafe…you never apologized for hitting one of our guys in the head with a table…see Erie Cafe commentary for that story).  Conversely, everyone also remembers the waiter/waitress of an awesome dining experience, and in fact, that memory is much more epic and memorable.  We’ve had some GREAT waiters/waitresses over the last few years…the hall of fame list includes Johnny from Bavette’s, Denise from Joe’s and Jesse from Harry Caray’s…and now, welcome to the all-star list “Z” from Steak 48 (real name Zsolt…he said just call him Z)!  This guy rocked…great recommendations and all around seemed like a real fun guy.  He’s been around the steakhouse game for awhile too, so you always have to appreciate that!  Also a great touch…Steak 48 called me the NEXT day to see how our dining experience was…I liked that.
Drinks: 4.0…Walking into Steak 48, i was already 2 Old Fashioned cocktails in the book, and it’s hard to believe that I didn’t even have a cocktail off of Steak 48’s cocktail list, even though they looked fantastic…the group split three fantastic bottles of red: a Quilt Cabernet, an Emeritus Pinot Noir, and a damn good Chateau Montelena Cab Sauv (Chateau Montelena = winery from the movie Bottle Shock).  I don’t typically like drinking lots of wine while steakhousing, but everything paired great, and it gave me a new type of hangover the next day!  Next time, I’ll be getting the Walnut 46 old fashioned, so if you get it and love it, let me know.
Steak: 4.0…Hot Plate!  An excellent rare plus means it probably never even touched the grill when it is served on a dish that is 5% the surface temperature of the sun.  I didn’t find many flaws here.  It was cooked to my liking, not burnt to a crisp like Josh’s (note from Josh…I got it Medium and Andrew is a Medium-hater).  The flavor was a little underwhelming but not disappointing by any means.  A highly recommended local cut has arrived on the scene.

Starters/Sides: 4.0…The king crab and lobster mac and cheese carries the weight here.  The potato gratin was also a tasty touch.  The Mushrooms were slightly overcooked and the corn was nothing which compares with its competition.  The Shishito peppers stood out as a wild card which we are suckers for.  I’d leave them next time, nothing special.  The real winner goes to the fried deviled eggs.  Yes, that is a thing.  Don’t pass them up if you’re deciding on “something to share?” while you’re looking over the menu.

Ambiance: 4.0…My company enjoyed it more than I did.  Definitely an interesting vibe and does a good job of capturing the classic setting without ignoring contemporary demand.  To me the overall feel is slightly tighter around each corner than I envisioned.  I am sure new restaurant is accustoming itself to natural flow, but it seemed the bathroom lines, server routes, and guy at the corner bar waiting to be seated were all as one through most of the night.  Our server was excellent.  He had lots of energy and local experience, and his recommendations were above par through the night.  Why cant I seem to remember his name?  See “Drinks” below.  Also Billy Joel never stopped by to say hello upon request.  Captain Jerk!

Drinks: 4.0…I was on the light beer diet all night as my wife and I are expecting our first born any day now.  The light beer diet consists of the Old Man’s Money at Broken Shaker across the street; the strongest drink on the menu and possibly in town.  From there I dove straight into the red demands of the table which consisted of a Cab, Pinot Noir, and a delicious blend, all of which paired nicely with our choices.  It was only then I felt the need to switch to a Bell’s Oberon, the lighter of the beers in house, and hit it home with a Baileys and coffee to cap the night.
Steak: 4.5…Bone-in ribeye with scallops. One of the few brands to execute the hot dish concept. By the time sides were dished out the plate brought the meat to a perfect medium rare. A large cut of meat (22oz) and with the delicious and good portion sides I couldn’t even make it through the full cut (bad etiquette on my end). Typically if I’m not gnawing on my bone its because the meat was sub-par. This was absolutely not the case here…Loved every bite.

Starters/Sides: 4.5…Fried deviled eggs: to be honest, after the deep fried and sauce I couldn’t even remember what I was eating…HOWEVER whatever it was, it was amazing…Ahi poke was on par however a tough size to share with 5…. Shellfish was on the menu this night. After being left out of the Fleming’s lobster mac n cheese I wasn’t about to miss out on Steak 48’s Alaskan King Crab & Rock Shrimp Mac & Cheese. This would be at the top of my all-time favorite sides lists if we added this to our website…

  • Au gratin: classic home cooking
  • Mushrooms: always a nice compliment however nothing to call home about
  • Shishito peppers: points for something new and innovative however would rather have tried the brussel sprouts in retrospect
  • Sweet corn: a lot of flavor but doesn’t touch Bavette’s

Ambiance: 5.0…Butcher knives in your face right when you walk in the door. What more steakhouse than that!? The build-out of the space was impressive with high end finishes and art. It has the trendy 20s/30s feel (without coming off as douchey like STK) yet still classic for the traditionalist crowd. Waiter was very knowledgeable within the industry and made great conversation.  I will have to see what my counterparts come back with but Steak48 is definitely in my Top 5.

Drinks: 4.0…One of the guys in our group (Nick) was our tour guide through the wine selections. Came up with some solid pairings. I typically always pull the trigger on Cab Sauv so it was nice to sneak a Pinot in as well. Well done sommelier Nick!

  • Emeritus ’14 Russian River Valley, CA (Pinot Noir):
  • Napa Valley Quilt (Cab Sauv):
  • Chateau Montelena (Cab Sauv)
Combined Rating