Cozy Up to Chicago's Best Steakhouse Comfort Foods
All year round, from patio season to those warm-up-by-the-fireplace months, Chicago's steakhouses are among the best spots for comfort. But it's when the temperatures plummet that those comfort foods really soar. Sure, burly and hulking servings of steak are inherently comforting in and of themselves, but don't forget about all those decadent appetizers and side dishes that really make a wintry meal sing. From fried ravioli to baked clams, here are Chicago's best steakhouse comfort foods.
Prime & Provisions: At this slick Loop newcomer, beef isn't the only indulgent protein. In fact, the steakhouse shares the spotlight quite handily with other crowd-pleasers like fried chicken with chile-bourbon-maple drizzle, thick-cut slabs of bacon accented with dark chocolate, black pepper, and maple syrup, and steaming bowls of thick New England-style clam chowder.
Erie Cafe: This riverside oasis in River North is chock full of hearty comfort fare, starting with appetizers like piping hot fried ravioli with blue cheese to platters of Italian sausage with grilled peppers. Don't overlook the steamy mussels immersed in tangy, bubbling marinara.
Petterino's: When it comes time for that Loop power lunch, this Lettuce Entertain You stalwart can't be beat. Especially when it's corn chowder, pork and veal meatballs, and crispy chicken salad with buttermilk-dill dressing you crave.
Chicago Chop House: This venerable oldie has amassed legendary status for good reason, and it's not just because the steaks are stellar. It's also because the calamari gets the crispy tempura treatment, the baked oysters Rockefeller get a smattering of smoked bacon, and the creamy lobster bisque comes outfitted with chopped lobster morsels and an enriching drizzle of white truffle oil.
STK: One of Chicago's newest steakhouse entries is adapting to the city quite well, offering comfort food with a side of palpable class. For instance, it doesn't get any more decadent than STK's seared foie gras with huckleberry pancakes and spiced rum. There's also a killer roast chicken that comes with chorizo and roasted fingerling potatoes, plus a fork-tender glazed beef short rib with green apple confit and horseradish cream. The side dishes at STK are particularly noteworthy as well, what with corn pudding, mac & cheese, cauliflower gratin, and jalapeño-cheddar grits.
RL: For steakhouse comforts by day, RL offers some exemplary brunch items that should fit the bill. Such as toasted cheese and tomato soup, a lobster club sandwich with bacon and truffle mayonnaise, chicken hash, and a classic quiche Lorraine.
Mastro's Steakhouse: When it comes time for dessert, one of the best destinations in town is Mastro's Steakhouse. This protein palace is just as satisfying on the sweet side as it is on the savory, thanks to its lengthy list of standout desserts. These include the restaurant's signature warm butter cake ('nuff said), cheesecake, chocolate pudding cake, key lime pie, gelato, cherry crisp, profiteroles, and many more.
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab: Another apt locale for desserts is this downtown stunner. The perpetually packed restaurant is known just as much for its pie and sundaes as it is for its seafood and steaks. Case in point: the killer banana cream pie with Foster sauce, the chocolate marquis pie with mocha creme anglaise, the peanut butter pie with hot fudge, and even the all-too-rare Boston cream pie, which is technically a cake but no less wonderful.
- Matt Kirouac