At long last, Lent is over and it’s time to indulge. After 40 days abstaining from whatever it is that gives you pleasure. More often than not, this means comfort food. Since you’re going to want to celebrate in style, here are some decadent dining and drinking options in Chicago sure to help you break the Lenten fast the best way possible.
Garbage salad at Gene & Georgetti: Don’t let the name fool you. This is hardly a salad by any stretch of the imagination. It’s more excessive than most pizzas, actually, and a great way to start a meal at this legendary steakhouse if you really don’t care about saving room for your entree. The enormous salad is portioned enough to feed a family fresh off a hunger strike, brimming with julienned salami, mozzarella, onion, garlic, roasted red peppers, celery, tomato, radish, and huge pieces of shrimp. Oh yeah, there’s also iceberg lettuce, but that’s practically an afterthought.
Garlic bread at Michael Jordan’s Steak House: Garlic bread in and of itself is pretty indulgent, let alone when it’s doused on melted cheese fondue. One of the most famous dishes at Michael Jordan’s Steak House, with enough fandom to rival the mightiest of steaks, the garlic bread appetizer is the gourmet equivalent of a Bloomin’ Onion. The dish is actually a Jenga-sized stack of buttery, doughy garlic bread, which gets poured with a rich and pungent blue cheese fondue.
Steak enhancements at Benny’s Chop House: In case the dry-aged tomahawk rib-eye or Wagyu skirt steak isn’t decadent enough for you, Benny’s supplements with numerous opulent options. This includes traditional accoutrements like red wine demi-glace and mushroom-truffle duxelle, along with seared foie gras, bone marrow butter and Maine sea scallops.
Narwhal sundae at Cold Storage: When it comes to ice cream sundaes, you may as well go big. Especially if this is your re-entry into the post-Lenten world of excess. Cold Storage has a mammoth of a sundae called The Narwhal, which contains everything but the kitchen sink. It’s one of those things. Come hungry (or bring all your friends), because this thing packs eight scoops of ice cream (chocolate, fresh mint, white chocolate, lemon sorbet, butterscotch, coffee, popcorn, triple vanilla bean), three sauces (hot fudge, salted caramel, white chocolate), two kinds of cake (fudge and peanut butter blondie), and toppings like a waffle cone, whipped cream, cherries, chocolate cookie streusel, and a whole banana.
Biscuit sandwich at Bang Bang Pie Shop: If you haven't yet tasted the sour cream-based biscuits at Bang Bang Pie Shop, you truly haven't lived. These ever-so-fluffy clouds of deliciousness are dense in just the right spots, with a touch of creaminess throughout, a thin crackle around the well-browned exterior, and marshmallow-soft innards. They're obsession-worthy enough on their own, let alone when they're sliced in half and heaped with maple-glazed ham, Dijon butter, caramelized onion relish, and pickle.
Cake at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse: The steaks are great at this Gold Coast legend, but the cakes and pies are legendary in their own right. The dessert menu at Gibsons is unapologetically indulgent and insane, with slices of dessert so big they could outweigh a child. Some of the most famous options are the macadamia turtle pie, the carrot cake, the black forest cake, and the lemon meringue pie piled a mile high with meringue.
Bone marrow cocktail at GT Prime: If you gave up drinking bone marrow fat for Lent, there's a cocktail at GT Prime that should fit the bill perfectly. OK really this thing is just ridiculously rich and indulgent, seeing as it's a marrow-infused Old Forester bourbon drink, but it’s also one of the most unique and interesting cocktails in town. Outfitted with charcoal-infused Capeletti and Punt e Mes, it’s at once hearty, buttery, smoky and deeply boozy.
Truffle-poached lobster at Fleming’s: The name of the dish alone does a pretty great job at summing this one up. It’s basically one of the most lavish ingredients poached in another lavish ingredient, and then served with bearnaise sauce and caviar. It doesn’t get ritzier or more opulent than this.
Anything at Kaiser Tiger: A restaurant that bills itself on beer, bacon, and sausage is the right place to be once Lent runs its course. You really can't go wrong on the diet-devastating menu at the West Loop's comfort food mother ship, where "bacon grenades" (beef and pork meatballs wrapped in bacon and deep-fried) share menu real estate with bacon-wrapped shrimp, a Lagunitas IPA-infused bacon sausage, chorizo topped with guacamole and tequila sour cream, and something called the "Whole Bomb," a colossus of beef and pork sausage stuffed with pepper bacon, wrapped in brown sugar bacon, and served with fries, buns, cheese, and barbecue sauce.