Let’s face it, steakhouses aren’t heralded as healthy places. People tend to dine at steakhouses for indulgence, celebration, and burly slabs of well-marbled beef. But look beyond the signature entrees and you’ll discover some impressive culinary dexterity on many of Chicago’s steakhouse menus. Notably, these steakhouses serve some of Chicago’s best salads worth saving room for.
It’s interesting to note that the salad section on the menu at Chicago Chop House is practically as full-fledged as the steak section. This is for good reason, because these are salads you don’t want to sleep on. For instance, the beef steak tomato salad offers a different kind of “steak” experience that is strikingly fresh, juicy, and refreshing, with its thick slices of tomatoes served with sweet Vidalia onions and a smattering of tangy blue cheese. If you prefer your tomatoes glazed with balsamic, you can do that too and pair them with Burrata and fresh basil. The organic heirloom baby spinach salad is another standout, for the fact that Chicago Chop House manages to make spinach so delicious it tastes like comfort food. Probably because the greens are tossed in warm bacon vinaigrette, candied pecans, feta, and crumbled bits of applewood-smoked bacon.
When it comes to salads, Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf has a flair for the contemporary. These are steakhouse salads like you’ve likely never experienced before, and you’d be wise to order them as a precursor to your steaks and entrees. The arugula and beet salad is bracingly fresh, peppery, and earthy, mixed with candied almonds, citrus, and Manchego for a unique flavor profile. The classic Caesar salad gets an update (and an upgrade) thanks to the addition of smoked whitefish and crispy potatoes. And you can’t go wrong with the crab-stuffed avocado, a big ol’ plate of comfort masquerading as “salad.” Maybe it’s the dijon-sherry vinaigrette that helps it quality, but regardless, it’s mandatory eating.
Since its red-hot opening last year, much has been made of the steaks, the composed plates, and the desserts at Fulton Market’s glorious Swift & Sons. And rightfully so. But what’s equally worth noticing is Swift & Sons salad options, which range from modernized classics to pristine novelties entirely. The roasted beets salad comes with sprouted grains and goat cheese, while their version of a Caesar contains pecorino, black pepper, and creamy dressing. If you’re not concerned with eating healthy, try the butcher’s salad, a savorous amalgam of roast beef, mustard greens, and ravigote, an herbal and acidic French sauce.
At The Grill on the Alley, you can have your cake and eat it too. Or rather, you can have your salad and your steak too. On the same plate. The all-too-rare steak salad is a star starter at this Magnificent Mile staple, where beef filet gets tossed with greens, asparagus, red peppers, Gorgonzola, avocado, crostini, and balsamic vinaigrette. Other decadent salad options include the grilled lime chicken salad with citrus vinaigrette and the lobster salad made with bibb lettuce, bleu cheese, walnuts, fresh dill, tomatoes, and Akvavit dressing.
Some of the city’s most enduring, iconic dishes can be found at The Palm, and this is true of the hulking salad plates. The Louis “Gigi” Delmaestro salad is a thing of beauty, and it packs a punch with its medley of shrimp, green beans, tomato, onion, bacon, iceberg lettuce, roasted pepper, egg, and avocado in garlic vinaigrette. The Monday Night Salad is enticing any night of the week, what with its blend of chopped romaine, iceberg, tomato, onion, roasted pepper, radish, scallion, and anchovies. The Palm also serves a mean rendition of the classic iceberg wedge salad, laden with Danish blue cheese, toasted walnuts, bacon, cherry tomatoes, chives, and fried onions.
Cauliflower-flecked couscous, fresh blueberries, herbed crostini, and fried capers are a few of the atypical salad accents you can expect to find at Fleming’s. There are only four salad options here, but they’re mighty. Like the Bloomsdale spinach salad with tomato, red onion, spiced bacon, almonds, fresh blueberries, cauliflower couscous, chopped egg, Chevre fritter, and lemon-truffle dressing. The Modern Caesar is a tasty riff on that old chestnut, with hearts of romaine, Parmesan, fried capers, and crispy prosciutto chips.